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States Are Cutting Back on Reopening Amid Growing Crisis

 States Are Cutting Back on Reopening Amid Growing Crisis

California is now in the midst of trying to “toggle back” on plans to reopen after case numbers and hospitalizations flare up in sections of the state, said California governor Gavin Newsom today.

Redflags have been raised on a number of metrics, including “disturbing trendlines” in positivity rates, hospitalizations and ICU admissions attributed to Covid-19.

Over the weekend, Newsom ordered closed bars and nightclubs in nine counties, including Los Angeles, which has nearly 100,000 cases — the most of any region of the state.

Particularly hard hit is Southern California’s Imperial County, where an outbreak is taxing the region’s hospital system. In recent weeks, health officials have had to move roughly 500 patients into neighboring regions, taxing their hospital systems, too.

Newsom today urged Imperial County to reissue a stay-at-home order that had been previously lifted, and leveled the threat of a heavier hand if they chose not to take the advice.

“If they are unsuccessful in building consensus around going back into the stay-at-home order frame, the state of California will assert itself and make sure that happens,” Newsom said.

Imperial County wasn’t the only area singled out. In Sacramento County, health officials are attributing a sudden spike to an increase in family gatherings. In San Bernardino, officials say an uptick is related to outbreaks in jails, combined with community spread.

Of particular concern within the state’s correctional system is San Quentin prison, where positive cases have topped 1,000. More than 40% of the prison’s population is deemed “medically vulnerable” and particularly susceptible to health complications from Covid-19.

Already the state has released roughly 3,500 inmates early, prioritizing release for medically vulnerable inmates, those with little time remaining on sentences and inmates convicted of non-violent crimes. Newsom said today another 3,500 have been identified as potentially eligible for early release, too.

A key question facing both state officials and inmates is securing housing for those in consideration for early release, and not making “a bad situation worse by releasing someone who’s not ready to be released.

Jim Prues