UPDATED: California Governor Gavin Newsom warned on Monday that he may halt reopenings in Los Angeles County and six other counties due to high transmission rates of COVID-19. Later on Monday, Los Angeles County officials ordered beaches and bike paths closed for the Fourth of July weekend.
Later on Monday, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said he is putting a “hard pause” on reopening movie theaters, concert venues and other gathering places.
Newsom issued the warning Monday at his news conference in Sacramento. He asserted the state will intervene and close them down again if counties are not effective in their remediation efforts.
“We are considering a number of other things to advance and we will make those announcements as appropriate, augmenting the orders and advancing even more restrictive ones,” he added. “We have applied this dimmer switch to certain sectors. If we don’t see mitigation of this spread we will do more.”
The warning came a day after Newsom ordered bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties and recommended bar closures in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura. Bars were allowed to reopen in Los Angeles County on June 19.
Newsom also issued the warning on his Twitter account on Monday:
CA’s response to #COVID19 is based on science.
That’s why we asked counties that are experiencing high transmission and positivity rates to close down bars & toggle back re-openings.
We will continue to monitor counties across the state & take appropriate action when necessary.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 29, 2020
Newsom said Monday that the state’s positivity rate — the number of people who have tested positive among the total number of tests administered — has gone up from 4.4% two weeks ago to 5.5% on Monday. Hospitalizations have surged 43% in the past two weeks, but the governor said the state’s hospital capacity can handle the increase.
Los Angeles County health officials also warned Monday that the outbreak is worsening with more than 100,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,300 deaths. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for the county, said new data show “alarming increases” in cases, positivity rates and hospitalization. The country’s positivity rate has jumped to 9%.
“There’s so much at stake, since these continued increases will result in many more people becoming seriously ill, and many more deaths of COVID-19,” she said.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced 2,903 new cases Monday, the single largest one-day case count since the pandemic began. The department also announced that there were 1,710 people currently hospitalized, higher than the 1,350 to 1,450 daily hospitalizations seen in recent weeks.