California governor hints he will tighten virus restrictions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is hinting that he’ll tighten coronavirus restrictions for California’s 40 million residents.

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 9:16 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is hinting that he will tighten coronavirus restrictions for California’s nearly 40 million residents as a COVID-19 surge has counties rushing to close down bars and beaches ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

Newsom planned Wednesday to announce he will “tighten things up” only weeks after loosening his March 19 stay-at-home order and reopening most businesses.

The state requires people to wear masks when they can’t maintain physical distance but public health officials have said lack of social distancing during Memorial Day get-togethers in May may have contributed to the surge.

California has confirmed close to 223,000 infections, a nearly 50% increase over two weeks ago that has been driven in part by the state’s ability to now test more than 100,000 people per day. But more concerning to officials is the steady growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations — a 43% increase in the past two weeks.

Newsom said the state will be more aggressive in enforcing public health orders.

“If you’re not going to stay home and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce — and we will,” Newsom said Tuesday.

“You’ve got to keep people from congregating,” agreed Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. But he said it’s up to the public to heed social distancing.

“Just because it’s summer and they feel like having a barbecue with all their friends, it can’t be that way,” Rutherford said. “I don’t know how one legislates that.”

Newsom’s cryptic warning had merchants worried that they will once again have to stop in-person shopping that barely resumed.

“For some of our more independent retailers, if they have to shut down, many of them probably won’t open,” said Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Association. “They barely made it through what was it, 10 weeks that we were closed? That was hard ... I don’t know that they will make it.”

Across the state, many local governments are already tightening restrictions. Counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay have delayed some reopenings as new cases increase. In Los Angeles, officials say they will close beaches and ban fireworks displays in the nation’s most populous county this weekend as it hit a one-day record of 2,903 more confirmed cases and more than 100,000 cases overall. Ventura County, L.A.’s northern neighbor, also planned to shut down beaches beginning July 3.

Half Moon Bay, a scenic stretch of beaches about a half-hour’s drive from San Francisco, said people “inundated” the city over Memorial Day weekend and urged them to stay away.

“Under normal circumstances, Half Moon Bay heartily welcomes visitors — tourism is part of our identity and an important economic driver,” Mayor Adam Eisen said in a statement. ”But coming here this weekend would be reckless and unsafe for the public health. Do the right thing. Stay close to home.”

In the Central Valley, officials in Fresno ordered all bars to close as some hospitals invoked emergency protocols because they were nearing capacity.

“Our cases are not currently under control,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for Fresno County. “We’re quite worried that we don’t have room to expand.”

And in Riverside County, public health officials are seeing an increase in cases among younger people, many of them without symptoms of the virus even though they test positive.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Last week, Newsom asked Imperial County to impose more restrictions after hospitals in the county near the U.S.-Mexico border had so many patients they had to transfer some to nearby facilities. On Monday, the county Board of Supervisors approved a plan that would close parks and force some businesses to shut down in-person shopping.

Altogether, California public health officials are closely monitoring 19 counties for outbreaks. Newsom said four more counties could be added to the list by Wednesday.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 526685

Reported Deaths: 9684
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
Alameda11909192
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare9990193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8176131
Ventura787777
San Francisco698961
Santa Barbara652663
San Mateo5744120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma311339
Madera211432
Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
Mendocino3419
Glenn3321
Nevada3161
Tehama2461
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1451
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo641
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Oroville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Paradise
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Chester
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Red Bluff
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Willows
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
It was a slightly cooler day for northern California today, but a more significant cooling is arriving tomorrow, along with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms over the mountains of northwest California.
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