California Coronavirus Update: Governor Gavin Newsom Says L.A. County Could Close Back Down Soon: “We Will Be Stepping Up Our Enforcement”

“Transmission is increasing in the state,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom said plainly at his Monday coronavirus press briefing. Accordingly, Newsom said he would likely be using the “dimmer switch” to toggle back reopening measures in more hard-hit counties. He said there were seven counties, including Los Angeles, that likely would need to step back their reopenings. If counties are not effective in remediation measures, “I am committed to intervening,” he said.

Newsom indicated that he would leave it to county officials to determine the appropriate measures but, if they did not find the right measures, “I am committed to intervening.”

“We are considering a number of other things to advance and we will make those announcements as appropriate,” said Newsom, “augmenting the orders and advancing even more restrictive ones.”

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Remediation also includes enforcement, said the governor. Thus, “We will be stepping up our enforcement,” Newsom said. He indicated that the state had earmarked $2.2 million dollars in COVID funds and those would be predicated upon the proven success of counties’ enforcement measures. “If people are flaunting those rules and regulations,” said Newsom, “[then] we’ve got to do more.”

The governor also said that, while he is concerned about small businesses’ success, OSHA will be stepping up measures to increase enforcement of anti-COVID measures in the state.

Newsom said he was working with institutions and victims’ advocates to identify 3,500 inmates to be released early, if they can prove they have a place to go. These would be what the governor referred to as non-violent, non-sex offenders.

After rolling back coronavirus reopening measures twice in three days, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the positivity rate in the state has, in seven days, risen from 4.4 percent to 5.5 percent, even as the state upped its testing to over 100,000 a day. Newsom revealed that, in the past seven days, positivity looks even worse at 5.9 percent.

On Friday, Newsom had Imperial County roll back its lifting of the stay-at-home order. On Monday he hinted a that that measure might be in the future for more counties in the state.

Newsom ordered that bars in seven California counties close bars and nightspots on Sunday. Those counties include Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Tulare, Kings, Ventura and Imperial. He said the counties have been on a watch list from between 3 and 13 days due to increasing COVID numbers. At 14 days, the governor said the state will enforce remediation measures.

On Monday, Newsom added Solano, Merced, Orange and Glen Counties to that watch list. The counties of concern to state officials now account for 72 percent of the state’s population, he said.

“We start with bars,” said Newsom. “In the last seven days we’ve seen a 45 percent increase [in cases] in the State of California.” The governor said that, in addition to those venues, small gatherings of friends and family were likely contributing factors.

As of Monday, 14 percent of the ICU beds in the state allocated to COVID-19 patients had grown to 14 percent.

Los Angeles County issued an order closing bars shortly after Newsom’s announcement on Sunday. Bars that offer sit down dining are exempt.

From the L.A. County Health Department:

There has been a sharp increase in new cases and hospitalizations. The timing of these increases is in line with the reopening of key sectors, including bars, which are places where people remove their face covering to drink while they may be socializing with people not in their households.

The county saw a near-record number of new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, reporting 2,519.

Newsom also recommended that eight other counties in California to take action on their own to close bars. These counties include Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus.

“COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger,” Newsom said in a statement given to media. “That’s why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases.” Newsom also tweeted out the news on Sunday.

California passed the grim milestone of 200,461 coronavirus cases on Friday morning amid more worrying reports about the rising number of new infections. The state saw a 2.5 percent rise in new cases over the previous day’s total.

Amid those concerns, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that, after weeks of engagement with the state’s hardest-hit county, he was asking officials in Imperial County, near San Diego, to increase COVID-preventative restrictions.

“They never moved as far forward as other parts of the state,” he said, “but it’s time to pull back further.”

The area’s test positivity rate over 14 days is approaching 23 percent. As a result, they “need to decompress their hospital system,” said Newsom.

Imperial County’s case rate per 100,000 over the past 14 days is more than 630. That’s well above the 100 cases per 100,000 threshold required by the state before reopening can be considered.

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