Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom photo by Wikipedia user Mike D.

published on May 18, 2020 - 2:34 PM
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Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday changed the criteria required for counties to move further into the second phase of his reopening plan, meaning that Fresno County is that much closer in allowing more businesses to open up — including dining rooms for restaurants. Though Kings and Tulare counties may have to wait for numbers to decline.

“With these new guidelines that the Governor has released, it puts Fresno County in a much stronger position to argue to allow us to move further into Phase Two,” said Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.

Effective immediately, Newsom said that 51 of California’s 58 counties will have the opportunity to move beyond where the state is in terms of reopening business.

“I say effective immediately meaning the guidelines are out there and the processes are in place, but they can go at their own pace,” said Newsom in the conference.

County officials will need to demonstrate COVID-19 spread has quelled and that hospitals have the capacity to treat any new cases. Counties can now use hospitalization rates as data points in requesting to open up more businesses. Previously, the requirement had been no new deaths and only one new case per 10,000 residents in a two-week period.

Now, the  Governor said he wanted no more than a 7% increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 over a seven-day period. For counties with fewer hospitalizations, they can have no more than 20 people hospitalized for COVID over a 14-day period.

The other qualifying metric is having no more than 25 individuals positive for the disease per 100,000 residents in the county.

While Newsom did not say specifically which counties were not eligible to move beyond the state’s guidelines, he did mention Kings and Tulare counties specifically, naming meat packing plants in Kings County and skilled nursing facilities in Tulare County.

Hospitalization numbers change daily,  but at one point in time last week, there were 18 beds in intensive care units occupied by people with coronavirus in Fresno County hospitals, according to Magsig.

Fresno County officials will have a conference call later today concerning the next steps to allowing more businesses to open. The hope is that the next industry to open up will be restaurant dining rooms.

“The restaurant industry creates tens of thousands of jobs in Fresno County alone,” said Magsig.

The change comes after Fresno County supervisors sent a letter Tuesday to the Governor requesting the change be made.

Magsig had felt that the 100-case requirement was “arbitrary” and impossible to meet because of the state’s demand to also increase testing.

Magsig feels the announcement by the Governor and the letter sent by the supervisors, as well as efforts by Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, were “absolutely” related.

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