COVID-19 cases continue rise; 1 county advised to bring back stay-at-home orders

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that COVID-19 cases continue to rise in California, with more than 4,800 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours, which has urged the state to toggle back in easing restrictions and has advised one county to reinstitute stay-at-home orders. 

California saw 4,890 new positive cases and 79 new deaths in the past day, as well as increases in both hospitalizations (up by 3.3%) and ICU admissions (4.4%) over the last two weeks, said the governor. 

He noted that while the tally of cases is expected to increase with more testing — the state conducted more than 77,000 in the last 24 hours — the positivity rate is a figure to closely focus on. California’s positivity rate is at 5.3% over the last two weeks, while Imperial County’s is approaching 23% in the past 14 days. 

With that, the state has advised Imperial County to bring back its stay-at-home orders as the area has already transferred more than 500 individuals out of its hospital system. 

“We are advising and counseling them to move forward and reinstitute the stay-at-home order but they will move at their discretion,” said Newsom. “If they are not able to come to some consensus, I am committed to intervening as is my role and responsibility as governor in the state of California, but I am confident in their capacity to make that determination for themselves, based upon, again, the criteria of conditions that continue to persist in the county.”

Imperial County is one of 15 on the state’s coronavirus watch list, which includes Los Angeles County. The three factors counties are tracked on are elevated disease transmission, increasing hospitalization and limited hospital capacity. 

Over the past seven days, Imperial County’s case rate reached 680 per 100,000 people, vastly above the threshold of 100 set by the state, which is an indicator “that makes us particularly concerned,” said Sonia Angell, the state health director. Los Angeles County’s case rate was the third-highest at 196. 

Newsom said Friday the state has already paused issuing new reopening guidelines and will make a determination “in real time” about pulling back on statewide orders. 

“We are acknowledging as a state well over a week ago that we’re not moving forward, that we’d already paused the reopening certain sectors of our economy with guidelines that were coming out now,” he said. 

The governor added that counties can make the determination for themselves about pausing or toggling back on restrictions. 

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