Study predicts California could relax social distancing rules mid-May

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – It’s been nearly a month since California residents were urged to shelter at home to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – and the end could be next month, according to a new model.

New Projections from the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics shows, for the state as a whole, some of the worst may be behind us.

It predicted California reached the peak in deaths per-day on Thursday with 96 – and forecasted the state may be able to relax social distancing rules after May 18th.

Doctor Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s Interim Health Officer, said there’s still work to do.

“I don’t think we’re there yet. We’re going to need more testing done. Like I said I’d like to see a rapidly available test available in every neighborhood in our county before I would feel comfortable that we are where we need to be with the aggressive testing program.”

Vohra said another focus needs to be on creating the strongest contact tracing team.

“I’ve called them disease detectives and just like other detectives they really do the hard work of figuring out and piecing together somebody’s trajectory while they were symptomatic,” said Vohra.

The study does not say life will return to a pre-pandemic normal, instead suggesting that after May 18 rules could be relaxed but containment strategies would need to be in place. That includes virus testing and limiting the size of gatherings.

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