SEAL BEACH (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday sounded the alarm that the spread of the novel coronavirus was increasing across the state and announced that the state would withhold $2.8 billion in pandemic relief funding from counties that fail to enforce face covering and social distancing mandates.
And in Seal Beach, where Orange County officials rescinded a local order mandating face coverings, people were out in groups Wednesday evening — some wearing face coverings, others without.
“The mask you’re wearing does protect other people,” OC Supervisor Don Wagner said. “It’s an important step, but it’s not the only one, and for the governor to threaten, ‘I’m going to take your funding,’ if you don’t do what he thinks is best flies in the face of local control.”
Last week, Newsom ordered a statewide face covering mandate.
Orange County health officials Wednesday announced their highest one-day total of coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
And across the state, Newsom said the rate at which people have tested positive for COVID-19 was at 5.1% — a 10% increase from two weeks ago — and the state reported 7,139 new cases, an increase of 69% since Monday.
Newsom also said 4,095 people were being treated in area hospitals, a jump of 29% in just two weeks.
“The reality is, I’m not naive, people are mixing, and that is increasing the spread of this virus,” he said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone.”
Newsom made an impassioned plea for people to recommit to social distancing and covering their faces, warning that if the numbers continue to increase, the state might have to shut down again.
“Wear a mask, please,” he said. “Do so not only for yourself, but for others. Be responsible.”