State officials pull the “emergency brake” on reopenings with a curfew under consideration.
On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom sounded the alarms as the state saw the fastest rate of increase in coronavirus case numbers since the start of the pandemic. Just in the last 10 days, COVID-19 cases have doubled with a 51.3% increase between November 1 and November 7. The highest rate previously seen was in June where a 39.2% increase was seen in a single week.
Based on the figures, California will be reverting back to the most restrictive tier (the purple tier) within the reopening Blueprint For A Safer Economy and a curfew is currently being considered. While there were only 13 counties previously in the purple tier, 41 out of the 58 in the state have been moved to the tier—although San Diego County was already in the category as of last week. Additionally, there will be a tighter approach to monitoring the data. If a county does not meet state requirements over a week it will move back a tier whereas previously, the tier was determined over a two-week period.
The new changes will go into effect as soon as Tuesday, with the majority of businesses in the state having to halt or significantly limit all indoor operations. Counties can also move back multiple tiers now and changes will need to be implemented within a 24-hour timeframe as opposed to the initial 3-day period. Newsom also announced that a statewide curfew is under consideration with strategies from various countries, states, and cities currently being studied.
Counties that have moved back to the purple tier include Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern and San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa and Solano. All San Joaquin Valley counties are now in the purple tier too.
More announcements on the status will be made on a more regular basis to be closer to real-time updates and will no longer just on Mondays.
Newsom also addressed the readiness for the next wave of the pandemic, noting that California has been working with both Pfizer and Moderna ahead of the release of vaccines. Masks and PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies are significantly higher, with the ability to set up a substantial amount of beds within 24-96 hours if necessary.
State officials are also urging all those that travel outside of the state to self-isolate for 14 days and to avoid trips that are over a 3-hour drive away wherever possible.