Sweeping Orders Shut Down Most of California in Response to COVID-19 Spike
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a sweeping order Wednesday that immediately shuts down most business and recreational activity in 19 of the state’s 58 counties. Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Solano counties are the only three from the Bay Area region that made Wednesday’s list. Others could be added to the list as necessary.
The 19 counties, which collectively represent approximately 70 percent of the state’s total population, were targeted for the shutdown orders due to their presence on the County Monitoring List for three consecutive days. A number of health indicator factors can land counties on the watchlist, but spikes in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are largely to blame.
Contra Costa Health Services reported an additional 442 confirmed cases since Sunday and 77 deaths as of Wednesday morning. Richmond has been hit especially hard with 757 cases reported — that’s about 681 infected people per 100,000.
Santa Clara County health officials seemed hopeful just recently as it appeared the area was gaining control over what was once the Bay Area’s pandemic epicenter. However, a surge in confirmed cases, now cumulatively up to 4,572, and hospitalizations have brought the county back under scrutiny.
The numbers are relatively low in Solano County but the upward trend, especially in Vallejo, is concerning. Of the 1,288 total cases reported Tuesday afternoon, nearly 40 percent of them originate from Vallejo.
Direction handed down by the state Wednesday is fairly extreme, but the current COVID-19 situation in California is dire. Los Angeles County alone has surpassed 100,000 cases and hospitals up and down the coast, especially in more rural communities, like Kern County, are quickly becoming overwhelmed with new patients.
As of Wednesday afternoon, John Hopkins University reports that 232,468 Californians have so far been infected with the virus, putting the Golden State second behind New York.
In an attempt to slow spread and give hospitals a chance to properly treat ill patients, Newsom’s order basically shuts down most non-essential indoor businesses and activity for a three-week period effective immediately.
According to the state’s website dedicated to COVID-19 data and communication, the order mandates that all bars — indoor and outdoor — in those 19 counties shut down entirely. Further, only outdoor operations are permitted for restaurants, wineries/tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos/museums and cardrooms.
The counties impacted by Wednesday’s order are as follows:
- Contra Costa
- Los Angeles
- San Bernardino
- San Joaquin
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
Correction: The state site updated information later Wednesday afternoon to clarify that hair salons and barbershops, casinos, gyms/fitness centers, hotels, campgrounds and personal care services are currently allowed in the 19 counties listed above.