Newsom asks Imperial county to reimpose stay-at-home orders

California

A coronavirus test kit is handed to a driver in vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site in Los Angeles, California on June 24, 2020. – California reported more than 7,000 cases overnight making it the biggest daily jump so far as the California Department of Public Health reported a second straight record jump in coronavirus cases now totalling over 190,000. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — 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.

Imperial 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.”

The increase in disease transmission 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.

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.

San Francisco 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.

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