LOS ANGELES – One day after Los Angeles County announced a Fourth of July weekend beach closure and cancellation of all fireworks shows, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Tuesday that additional statewide coronavirus restrictions could be coming ahead of the holiday.
“Tomorrow we’ll be making some additional announcements on efforts to use that ‘dimmer switch’ that I’ve referred to and begin to toggle back on our stay at home order and tighten things up,” Newsom said. “The framework for us is this — if you’re not gonna stay home and you’re not gonna wear masks in public, we have to enforce, and we will and we’ll be making announcements on enforcement tomorrow.”
Newsom didn’t indicate what types of changes might be in store ahead of the holiday weekend, but said additional restrictions are being pondered in response to continued rises in coronavirus case numbers, hospitalizations and positivity rates.
According to Newsom, the number of people hospitalized across California due to the virus has risen 43% in the past two weeks, and the number of people in intensive care units jumped by 37%.
Perhaps more concerning is a continuing rise in positivity rates, or the percentage of people who are tested for the virus and turn out to be positive. Two weeks ago, the statewide average daily positivity rate over a 14- day period was 4.4%. That figure was 5.6% as of Tuesday. The current daily positivity rate over the past seven days is 5.9%, Newsom said.
“That’s a point of caution, a point of consideration and obviously a point of concern,” he said. “And it led to the decisions we made over the weekend as it relates to shutting down bars in those areas of the state where we’ve seen an increase in the total spread of the virus, particularly the community spread.”
Newsom ordered the closure of bars in Los Angeles County on Sunday.
But the governor said Tuesday the bigger concern over the upcoming holiday weekend is family gatherings.
“Not just bars, not just (people) out in the streets, where people are protesting and the like,” Newsom said. “It’s specifically family gatherings, where family members or rather households … begin to mix and take down their guard. They walk into that barbecue with masks on and they put the cooler down and the mask comes off. You have a glass of water, and all of a sudden nieces and nephews start congregating around, jumping on top of Uncle Joe.”
Newsom said family gatherings are consistently a top concern of health officials across the state, and California is “moving into a weekend when family gatherings are part of the tradition.” As a result, he said the state will be “a little more aggressive” over the holiday to ensure health measures are followed.