Gov. Newsom to Imperial County: ‘I'm Committed to Intervening'

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Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday urged Imperial 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.

Newsom 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.

Newsom also said that statewide there were small increases in the percentages of people hospitalized and in ICUs, he said.


Taxin reported from Orange County.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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