Newsom Warns of New Coronavirus Restrictions Before July 4

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Governor Gavin Newsom said he plans to announce new restrictions Wednesday before the July 4 holiday weekend, continuing to reverse the reopening of California as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations increase.”Tomorrow we will make additional announcements on efforts to use this dimmer we talked about and start to reverse our home stay order and tighten things up,” said Newsom. “The framework for us is as follows: if you are not staying at home and you are not wearing masks in public, we must apply and we will. ”

The governor, who often foreshadows his actions before unveiling them, warned that the changes would also include restrictions on indoor gatherings but did not provide details. Newsom said family reunions were one of the “areas of greatest concern” as immediate and extended family members mixed.

The average rate of positive cases in the state has risen to 5.6% in the past two weeks, with a sharper jump of 5.9% over seven days, Newsom said. The state is monitoring 19 counties that have not followed guidelines for at least three days due to an increase in the spread of the virus, increasing hospitalizations or a lack of hospital capacity. Newsom said it expected four more countries to be added to the list on Wednesday.

California has 226,850 confirmed cases and more than 6,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Los Angeles Times epidemic tracker.

“We bent the curve in the state of California once. We’re going to bend the curve again, mark my word, “said Newsom. “We are going to crush this pandemic. We will destroy it. We’re going to go beyond that, but we’re going to have to be tougher, and we’re going to have to be smarter in terms of our approaches. ”

The governor provided an update on the virus Tuesday at a press conference outside a motel 6 in the Bay Area city of Pittsburg, where he called attention to efforts to house the homeless population of the state.

The state launched a project called Project Roomkey in April to secure 15,000 hotel and motel rooms to provide short-term shelter for vulnerable homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a month after the program began, a review of state files revealed that only about half of the rooms were occupied. The Newsom administration claims that the state has worked to house around 13,000 people in 10,600 rooms. Newsom said on Tuesday that 14,200 people have been accommodated to date, and it has announced an 85% occupancy rate for rooms under the program.

The Newsom administration expects the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ultimately reimburse state and local governments for up to 75% of the cost of rooms, meals, security, and services. keep.

The 2020-2021 state budget that Newsom signed on Monday included $ 300 million for local governments to help protect homeless Californians and $ 50 million for the Department of Social Services to secure hotel rooms and motel and trailers to house the homeless.

Today, the state is trying to turn the temporary program into more permanent housing as part of a new effort, Newsom dubbed Project Homekey, with $ 550 million from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to acquire rooms for long-term shelter. The funding, which will be provided to local governments through the Ministry of Housing and Community Development, is due to be spent by December 30. The budget also includes another $ 50 million in state money to help residents manage the program.

“We are providing unprecedented support to cities and counties to support a program for our most vulnerable residents,” said Newsom. “We have a real impact. ”

Los Angeles officials had separately set their own target of placing 15,000 homeless people who were either medically vulnerable or over the age of 65 in motels and hotels they had rented. City and county officials have prioritized the segment of the population that they believe is most likely to die on the streets, with or without a pandemic.

After reviewing their own data, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency estimated that about 15,000 homeless people met the criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the most susceptible to the virus. They are 65 years of age or older and suffer from multiple health problems, including respiratory problems or diabetes.

As of Monday, 3,781 people have been accommodated and the pace of hotel and motel rooms added to the county program has stopped. Homeless people and community workers have complained about long waits as demand for rooms far exceeds supply.

Sacramento office manager John Myers contributed to this report.

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