Governor Newsom Eases Reopening Requirements
Governor Gavin Newsom at a previous press conference (Photo: Office of Governor)
By edhat staff
Governor Gavin Newsom announced new criteria to reopen local economies, essentially easing the requirements for California counties who want to open faster than the state.
During a press conference Monday, Newsom stated all but five of the state's 58 counties would be eligible to move deeper into Phase 2 lessening some of the stay-at-home restrictions, though not all counties may choose to do so. Although he would not identify the five counties that don't qualify, he stressed this is a rough estimate and the number may change due to the dynamic nature of the virus.
“The bottom line is people can go at their own pace, and we are empowering our local health directors and county officials who understand their local communities and conditions better than anyone,” Newsom said.
The updated criteria states counties must show their hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) rates remain stable and the number of COVID-19 patients has not increased by more than 5% over the past seven days on average. Smaller counties must not have had more than 20 patients on any given day for at least two weeks.
Counties must also meet one of two other requirements: fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 residents for at least 14 days, or the rate of positive tests has dropped below 8%.
The rest of the requirements are the same as what was announced on May 7. Counties must be able to meet contact tracing requirements, testing capacity, hospitalization surge capacity, and follow new guidance on how to connect with skilled nursing facilities to protect patients and employees. Additionally, if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases the county must have a plan to reinstate part of the stay-at-home orders and be prepared to meet the clinical needs of residents.
If approved, counties would be allowed to move ahead of the state within Phase 2 by permitting in-store shopping, dining in restaurants, and reopening schools, as long as modifications and guidelines are met. Last week 24 counties were granted permission to move forward, the majority located in less populated northern sections of the state.
Over the last two weeks, the state has seen a 7.5% decline in hospitalizations and an 8.7% decline in the number of ICU patients statewide.
If California holds the rate of transmissions and continues to see a steady decline in hospitalizations, haircuts, faith-based services, and sporting events without spectators could be just a few weeks away, with modifications of course.
"The only thing that will set us back is moving too quickly and no longer practicing social distancing," said Newsom.