LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom says health officials will be taking a closer look at tougher social distancing measures for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
According to Newsom, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations statewide is up 43% in the past two weeks, while ICU admissions also jumped 37%.
While the governor wouldn’t preview what potential changes he might make Wednesday, his announcement comes on the heels of Los Angeles County closing its beaches for the Fourth of July weekend and cancelling all fireworks shows.
“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.”
He said despite ordering the closure of bars across Los Angeles and other counties, officials were more concerned about family gatherings over the holiday weekend.
“One of the areas of biggest concern as it relates to the spread of COVID-19 in this state remains family gatherings, not just bars, not just out in the streets. It’s specifically family gatherings, where family members or rather households … begin to mix and take down their guard,” said Newsom.
Acknowledging family gatherings as being part of the tradition of Fourth of July, Newsom said the state would be “a little more aggressive” over the holiday to ensure health measures are followed.
But Adrian Cotton, chief of medical operations at Loma Linda University Health, said there were ways for people to safely celebrate the holiday.
“Being outdoors is much safer than being indoors,” he said. “And washing your hands and not touching your face is critically important.”
Along with that, Cotton said people needed to keep gatherings small and short and keep their distance. They also need to wear face coverings and ask those who are not feeling well to stay home.”
Though not every health official feels the same.
“I strongly advise against it,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County public health director, said.
She said even a small family gathering was a bad idea this weekend because the number of new coronavirus infections have continued to increase.
Newsom ordered the closure of bars in Los Angeles and several other counties on Sunday, and recommended such closures in other areas. Riverside and San Diego counties have both ordered bars closed.