SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday outlined some of California’s efforts at COVID-19 enforcement over the holiday weekend as new coronavirus cases continued to skyrocket with 23 counties being monitored by health officials.
Despite the fact that Californians by and large heeded warnings to stay away from beaches and other public spaces during the holiday weekend, numbers indicated that coronavirus infections and hospitalizations were still climbing at an alarming rate.
Gov. Newsom opened his Monday update by noting that 23 counties across the state were now on the monitor watch list. New additions to the list included Colusa, Madera, Marin, Merced, Monterey and San Diego counties.
The governor noted that Contra Costa County had managed to drop off the monitor list during the weekend, but has since been re-added. Solano County remains on the list, while Santa Clara County has dropped off.
Newsom also addressed what the state has done in terms of prioritizing targeted enforcement to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“One of the most important things we can do, in addition to technical assistance on that monitoring list, is to do more to focus on enforcement,” Newsom said. “I want to remind you that our enforcement has been prioritized on parts of the state where we have known violators, where we have high-risk workplaces or industries that should be operating at a scale — thinking restaurants and bars — in an appropriate and safe manner.”
Newsom said that the state sent out teams in six key regions to make sure businesses are following guidelines in terms of practices — staff and patrons wearing masks and abiding by social distancing requirements and occupancy limits — and signage outlining those requirements.
The governor said the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted nearly 6,000 in-person visits to bars and restaurants across the state. Additionally, the Department of Industrial Relations and Cal/OSHA contacted over 441,000 businesses with in-person visits, emails or phone calls regarding deficiencies.
One of those in-person visits happened on Friday when two armed officers from the ABC abruptly entered Ladera Grill and ordered them to close all operations. They also threatened to cite owners, managers, and customers for dining outside.
There were 5,699 new COVID-19 case numbers reported for July 5 with the state’s 7-day average number of cases climbing to 7,876 for the past week. While testing numbers continue to go up with over 100,000 tests administered on Saturday alone, Newsom also noted the growing concern over the state’s positivity rate.
“The positivity rate over a 14-day period is now at 6.8 percent,” said Newsom. “We were at 4.9 percent positivity rate just 14 days ago. The 7-day positivity rate is now over 7 percent at 7.2 percent.”
The hospitalization rate has also risen 50 percent over the past 14-day period and the ICU rate over the same period was at 39 percent, though the state still has ample hospital bed capacity.
Newsom reiterated some of the measures that were taken over the holiday weekend, including the closure of indoor operations for multiple economic sectors for all counties being monitored for three consecutive days, the closure of all bars in those counties and the closures of many state and local beaches as well as the associated parking for all state beaches.
The governor offered thanks for the cooperation and responsibility taken by Californians during the holiday weekend.
Newsom said that 24 people lost their lives to COVID-19 over the weekend.