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Newsom Outlines Framework For Lifting of COVID-19 Orders; But It Won't Be Soon

Reporter Roundup is a collaboration between PBS SoCal/KCET and KPCC/LAist to bring you the biggest headlines M-F about COVID-19. Watch the April 14 episode here.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Shedding some light on when Southland and California residents might see relief from coronavirus stay-at-home orders, Gov. Gavin Newsom today outlined indicators that will need to be met before such a move is considered -- such as increasing testing capacity and ensuring protection for at-risk people.

Newsom unveiled six such indicators that the state will strive to meet before it will even think about rolling back the strict social-distancing, business-closure and stay-at-home mandates. With so many goals in mind, Newsom offered no specifics on when any of the mandates will be lifted or softened, only saying the indicators provide a framework for how the decision will be made.

"I know you want a timeline but we can't get ahead of ourselves," Newsom said. "... Let's not make a mistake by pulling the plug too early."\

But in the face of President Donald Trump's insistence that the White House will determine when many such orders will be lifted, Newsom said it will be science, not politics, that dictate the decision-making. He declined to comment on Trump's assertion that the president has total authority to make such decisions.

The six goals Newsom cited were:

  • the ability to adequately expand testing and contact tracing to support people who have contracted the virus and people who have been exposed;
  • a stepped-up process for preventing infections among higher-risk residents, such as the elderly or people with underlying health conditions;
  • assurance that hospitals are prepared to handle surges in patients;
  • partnerships with academics to develop therapeutics or treatments;
  • assurance that businesses, schools and child care facilities can safely reopen while maintaining social-distancing needs; and
  • development of a plan to quickly re-institute some measures, such as stay-at-home orders, if needed after restrictions are softened.

Newsom has said he is working with his counterparts in other western states to develop the framework for a possible relieving of restrictions that require people to remain home as much as possible and keep non-essential businesses shuttered. He said he recognizes the economic impact on business that cannot open and residents who cannot work, but he insisted it is too early to develop a timeline of when conditions will ease.

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