California targets teasing of coronavirus, delays reopening

With the coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in California, officials are cracking down on mocking businesses and holding back the reopening in hopes of curbing the spread.

The worsening pandemic has prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to pause the issuance of regulations that allow counties to reopen other industries, such as amusement parks. As a result, Walt Disney Co. said this week that Disneyland in Anaheim wouldn’t open as previously planned July 17.

Based on the increasing numbers, there is nothing to suggest that California may allow counties to open more in the short term, Newsom said.

Newsom warned that the number of new daily deaths will likely increase in a few weeks. It can take three to four weeks after exposure to the virus for infected people to get sick enough to be hospitalized, and four to five weeks after exposure for some of the most vulnerable patients to die from the virus. disease.

Imperial Rural County, one of the nation’s top agricultural areas, now has the highest test positivity rate of any county in the state, averaging seven days at 23%, well above the rate of the 8% viewed as a warning sign by state officials The outbreak there has overwhelmed local hospitals, forcing more than 500 patients to be sent to other counties for care.

With 5,744 cases and 73 deaths, Imperial County has the highest rate of coronavirus cases per capita in California, according to The Times pandemic tracker. In response, Newsom said Friday that the state was recommending that the county re-impose strict stay-at-home requirements, the first time officials have taken such a drastic move.

“We are advising and advising them to move forward and reinstate an order to stay home, but they will move at their discretion,” Newsom said. “If they cannot reach a consensus, I am committed to intervening, as is my role and responsibility as governor in the state of California.”

In San Diego County, the health department on Friday ordered an Escondido restaurant to close immediately, saying its owner refused to follow public health directives imposed to prevent coronavirus outbreaks.

The document signed by Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer,
declares that the Hernandez Hideaway restaurant on the shores of Lake Hodges cannot be reopened until it can demonstrate “that the rules for social distancing and sanitation will be followed.”

According to the order, county health officials issued a warning after an inspection conducted on May 29 discovered the lack of social distancing and that employees were not wearing face shields. A subsequent visit on June 12 by deputy sheriffs found that the staff was not wearing masks, and the county reported that it received a complaint about the lack of facial covers on Tuesday.

According to the county, owner Rick Stevens was contacted, who “admitted he did not comply and stated that he will continue to operate without these COVID preventive measures and will not require staff to wear face covers.”

Stevens could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

Hernández Hideaway is not the only business closed since the county issued an order on May 21 authorizing the dinner in person. El Prez, a popular bar and restaurant in Pacific Beach, closed on May 22 after video of a noisy crowd shouldering shoulder to shoulder, largely wearing no masks, appeared on social media.

And Belmont Park, an amusement park in Mission Bay, was closed Friday afternoon by officials who said it was operating attractions in violation of state guidelines.

“There is nothing confusing about the state orientation. Amusement park rides are not allowed at this time, ”said San Diego County spokesman Mike Workman. “I would remind people that food and retail areas may be open. But each one must comply with state guidelines, mainly social distancing and face coverage.

The shutdown occurred the same day that county officials announced the increased number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in a single day.

San Francisco is also experiencing an increase in its COVID-19 infection rate and will have to pause its reopening, the city’s health director said Friday.

Businesses that were slated to reopen Monday will now remain closed, said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

They include hair salons, hair salons, tattoo parlors, zoos, open-air bars, and outdoor pools. On June 14, 2.7 people per 100,000 tested positive for the virus, Colfax said in a virtual press conference. By Thursday, that rate had risen to 5.1 per 100,000.

“We went from yellow to high orange, and if that continues for the next few days, we could be in our red zone,” which could trigger further restrictions, Colfax said. He said the hospital’s capacity remained “relatively good”.

In Marin County, officials decided to pause the reopening of gyms, tattoo parlors, and nail salons that were planned for Monday, although they will allow indoor meals and haircuts to resume that day.

The third most populous county in the Bay Area, Contra Costa, has seen its number of COVID-19 hospitalizations increase by 42% in the past seven days, and authorities raised the possibility that it would delay the reopening of businesses that They are scheduled to reopen. Wednesdays, including indoor dinners, bars, gyms, hotels, nail salons, and tattoo parlors.

Sisson and Weisberg write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Times staff writer Phil Willon in Sacramento contributed to this report.