Governor plans stricter COVID-19 response*

Illustration of California flag and the pandemic. (Image: bekulnis)

Gov. Gavin Newsom is considering a tougher response to a surge in coronavirus infections that includes at least a three-week cutback on nonessential services and businesses and renewed stay-at-home restrictions affecting most Californians.

Sources familiar with the discussions said late Tuesday that the plan — reminiscent of an earlier crackdown during the spring — evolved amid reports of a dramatic increase in infections and a spike in overcrowding at hospitals’ intensive care units.

The administration believes a “blanket order” may be forthcoming and likely would affect areas of the state representing most of California’s population. Sources said the announcement was expected Wednesday, but this morning administration sources said that no announcement was likely today.

Through Tuesday evening, California reported 1, 246,276 COVID-19 cases and 19,319 deaths, according to data collected by the Los Angeles Times. The state is now averaging more than 14,000 new cases a day, a 61.3 percent increase over two weeks ago. There are 8,240 patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases, double the number of two weeks ago.

During the past week, about 62 people have died each day from the coronavirus, and all but six of California’s 58 counties, already under restrictions, are deemed too risky to reopen. About three out of four deaths were people 65 years of age or older.

The administration’s tougher position was not unexpected: On Monday, the governor said “drastic action” might be necessary to cope with the surge in cases, “including a potential stay-at-home order for regions with concerning hospitalizations and ICU capacity.”

*Editor’s Note: Corrects by deleting reference to Wednesday, and edits throughout  to conform.

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