Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that he wants Imperial County to reimpose stay-home orders amid a surge in positive coronavirus tests there and through much of the state.
The county, with a population of 175,000 people on California’s border with Mexico, has been the slowest in the state to reopen amid continued high positivity rates, which have averaged 23% in the last week, compared with 5.7% statewide.
“We are advising and counseling them to move forward and reinstitute the stay-at- home order, but they will move at their discretion,” Newsom said during a news conference Friday. “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 and conditions that continue to persist in the county.”
He continued to stress that he reserves the right to ask counties to pause reopening efforts if transmission and hospitalization rates continue to increase.
Imperial County officials transferred 500 people out of their hospital system and those patients were received in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The increase in disease transmission in the border area could be attributed to U.S. citizens seeking healthcare in Mexico and a continuing need for more staffing at local hospitals, state health officials said.
Fifteen counties in the state are being monitored closely to ensure that their needs are being met amid the pandemic.
Newsom also said that statewide there were small increases in the percentages of people hospitalized and in ICUs.
About 4,890 new coronavirus cases were reported in California Friday, with 79 deaths, the governor said. In total, there are 201,289 coronavirus cases statewide, with 5,807 deaths, according to a Los Angeles Times tracker.
San Francisco also announced it was “temporarily delaying” plans to reopen barber shops, tattoo parlors, outdoor bars and nail salons on Monday.
Mayor London Breed noted the city reported 103 additional cases overnight, unusual for San Francisco, and she said public health experts will evaluate data to determine if it’s safe to move ahead.
“I know people are anxious to reopen — I am too. But we can’t jeopardize the progress we’ve made,” she wrote on social media.
Also on Friday, Newsom announced a partnership with the California Manufacturers and Technology Association to offer free personal protective equipment and other items for manufacturers in the state so they can safely reopen and help others do the same. Manufactures can visit safelymakingCA.org to see if they qualify.