Newsom: State ‘Pulling Emergency Brake' on Virus Reopenings

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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said the state is "pulling an emergency brake" on its response to the coronavirus pandemic, including new restrictions necessary to help contain a recent spike.

During a news conference Monday, Newsom said California has been moving backwards and thus needs to put a halt on reopening the economy. In some cases, it will be more than a pause, with several counties moving back a tier and some moving back two tiers.

Among Bay Area counties back in the purple tier as of Monday were: Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Santa Clara and Solano. Sonoma County already was in the purple.

Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties were in the red tier as of Monday's announcement.

"We are sounding the alarm," Newsom said in a statement. "California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. That is why we are pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Now is the time to do all we can – government at all levels and Californians across the state – to flatten the curve again as we have done before."

Overall, 41 counties have moved back to the most restrictive purple tier. Last week, 13 counties were in the purple.

Newsom also said people in the state are now required to wear a mask when in public spaces.

On Saturday, the state had 10,968 reported coronavirus cases, a 1.1% increase from the previous day, and 35 deaths from the disease, according to state data.

California's coronavirus death toll from the virus stood at 18,253 as of Sunday.

The state's positivity rate, which has been on a gradual rise since it bottomed out at 2.5% on Oct. 18, stood at 4.6% on Monday morning, a 1.4% increase over the past 14 days, state data shows.

"The data we are seeing is very concerning. We are in the midst of a surge, and time is of the essence. Every day matters and every decision matters," California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. "Personal decisions are critical, and I am I imploring every Californian to stay home if they can, wear a mask whenever they leave their homes, limit mixing, practice physical distancing and wash their hands."

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