FRESNO, California (KSEE) Another Fresno City Councilmember asked for changes to the city’s current Shelter in Place emergency order – but this time it was for an extension.
Councilmember Nelson Esparza said Wednesday that the order, which expires on May 6th, should be extended until the 31st. Esparza said the extension makes sense when considering the continual increase in local cases and a lack of local testing.
“In terms of opening Fresno,” said Esparza. “It is not safe.”
Fresno residents have been told by numerous city and state leaders to Shelter in Place for over 40 days.
“I know there is a lot of anxiety, a lot of frustration,” said Esparza.
Earlier in the week, Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld demanded businesses deemed non-essential to be able to get back to work. Esparza said the city isn’t ready for that, referencing Governor Gavin Newsom’s 6 point criteria for reopening.
“As of this week, County Health Officials stated that we have not met any of those metrics yet,” said Esparza.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 trends have differed at the state and local levels.
This chart shows that the state saw significantly more cases per capita than Fresno County during the months of March and April.
“Looking at the data and information, clearly Fresno County is behind other regions across the United States,” said Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.
Magsig said a big reason for the county reporting cases later is the lack of testing. He said there need to be at least 600-1500 tests per day within Fresno County, which is double the current amount.
The county plans to open its second testing lab, using federal funds, in the coming days.
“So I believe in the next week or so we will be at that threshold,” said Magsig.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand will have to make a decision soon because the current emergency order expires on May 6.
“We are going to come up with solutions,” said Brand. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the blue light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, we are within days or weeks. Nobody knows, but the sooner the better as far as I am concerned.
No matter Brand’s decision, citizens are still required to follow the state’s stay at home order. That order does not have an expiration date.