Story at a glance

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced this week several coronavirus restrictions would be rolled back.
  • Newsom announced Monday churches will be allowed to reopen with approval from county public health officials.
  • Health official Sara Cody led six Bay Area counties in imposing the nation’s first shelter-in-place order.

As California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and state officials move forward with rolling back coronavirus restrictions in the state, a local public health officer who led the country’s first regional shelter-in-place order is sounding the alarm over reopening too fast, according to the Los Angeles Times.

During the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the county’s health officer Sara Cody said she was concerned about the rate at which the state was easing restrictions. 


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“The state modifications are being made without a real understanding of the consequences of what the last move has been and with the possibly serious effects for health and the possibly serious risk of an exponential growth in cases and therefore a risk to social and economic well being,” Cody told the board Tuesday. Cody noted that at least a full incubation period of 14 days is needed to gauge the impact of each step of the reopening process. 


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“This announcement to authorize country health officers to allow religious, cultural, and political gatherings of 100 people poses a very serious risk of the spread of COVID-19 based on probability alone,” Cody said.

Her comments come after Newsom announced Monday that churches and some retailers will be allowed to reopen with approval from county public health officials. Gatherings will be required to keep attendance to either 25 percent capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees. On Tuesday, Newsom announced barbershops and salons in qualifying counties will be allowed to reopen with safety precautions, including requiring protective gear and face coverings. 

Cody has been credited with leading several Bay Area counties in imposing the nation’s first shelter-in-place order on March 16. San Francisco Bay Area’s regional order affected approximately 7 million people across six counties. 

California has seen an uptick in cases as the state has moved forward with reopening. In the past week the state has averaged 2,109 new cases and 68.6 new cases per day. 

“We’re making progress, we’re moving forward. We’re not looking back, but we are walking into the unknown, the untested...and we have to be guided by the data that brought us back to this place,” Newsom said during a Tuesday briefing.


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Published on May 28, 2020