State puts County on reclosing watch list as COVID cases, hospitalizations rise

Rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and an increase in local hospitalizations could dash local reopening plans.

On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of bars in seven California counties. The state also put eight counties on a watch list, with the governor calling for compliance. Santa Clara and Contra Costa were among those warned.

“Californians must remain vigilant against this virus,” Newsom said.

Newsom’s actions came just days after local health officials expressed optimism about potential changes to stay-at-home orders this week.

While testing has significantly increased in recent weeks in the area, case counts have risen at a concerning clip. According to the county’s data dashboard, as of Sunday, 82 patients were hospitalized with the virus. As of Friday, 26 of those were in ICU beds, a decrease of five from Thursday.

Newsom’s order was aimed at bars, given the high potential for transmission in crowded, loud indoor spaces. It remains to be seen what other actions the state or county might take in coming days.

“Closing bars in these counties is one of a number of targeted actions counties are implementing across our state to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk,” said state health official Dr. Sonia Angell.

San Francisco had been scheduled to reopen hair and nail salons today, but delayed that plan late Friday.