California to allow counties to reopen faster under new criteria

Virus Outbreak California Restaurants
Posted at 1:04 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 21:16:11-04


SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Citing a statewide decrease in hospitalizations and ICU cases over the last 14 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that counties would be allowed to reopen faster under new criteria.

Newsom said the criteria would apply to counties that want to reopen faster and gain state approval to do so.

“Bottom line is: People can go at their own pace, and we are empowering our local health directors and county officials that understand their local communities and conditions,” Newsom said.

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California's changes eliminate requirements that a county must have zero deaths and no more than one case per 10,000 residents over 14 days. Counties cannot have more than 25 cases per 100,000 residents or no higher than an 8% positive rate among people tested for COVID-19.

Hospitalizations cannot see a more than 5% increase over seven days on average or must have fewer than 20 hospitalizations over 14 days.

Newsom says 53 of 58 counties would be able to meet the new guidelines, but cautioned that not every county would still be ready starting Monday.

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"Just because we're creating the capacity and availability to move into phase 2 doesn't mean every county is ready," Newsom said.

The amended criteria comes as the state announced a 7.5% decrease in hospitalizations and 8.7% decrease in ICU cases statewide over the last two weeks.

While the loosened restrictions could allow counties to reopen more retail sooner, statewide, dining in at restaurants and other services are still restricted. Any retail offered would still need to be as curbside pickup.

Newsom added that the state was only a few weeks away from seeing restrictions lifted that could allow shopping in stores, churches and hair salons to reopen, and possibly professional sports without fans starting in June.