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Governor Asks California County To Reimpose Stay-At-Home

Gage Skidmore
Flickr Creative Commons
Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday urged an agricultural Southern California county to reimpose stay-home orders amid a surge in positive coronavirus tests there as officials in several counties also expressed concern over rising positive test rates and hospitalizations.

He said Imperial County leaders would be permitted to decide on how to proceed, but if they don’t agree to act “I am committed to intervening.”

The county, with a population of 175,000 people on the Mexican border, has been the slowest in the state to reopen amid continued high positive rates, which the state health director said have averaged 23% in the last week, compared with 5.7% statewide.

Officials in two San Francisco Bay Area counties also expressed alarm over the data. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she was “temporarily delaying” plans to reopen barber shops, tattoo parlors, outdoor bars and nail salons on Monday.

Contra Costa County, a sprawling East San Francisco Bay Area county, said it would decide Monday whether to halt its reopening as the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals has increased 42% in the last week and younger people are increasingly testing positive.

“There is concern that these increases may lead to a surge in very ill people that could overwhelm the local healthcare system,” county officials said in a statement.

Breed noted the city reported 103 additional positive cases overnight.

“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.

The Imperial Valley, which provides many of the vegetables in U.S. supermarkets in the winter, lies across the border from Mexicali, a sprawling industrial city of 1 million people that has enormous influence on its economy and culture.