While all Californians are currently living under a statewide stay-at-home order implemented in response to the coronavirus outbreak, some counties have also crafted additional or more-targeted local regulations aimed at stemming the disease's spread. The county-level orders vary, as do their expiration dates. Some of the measures are in place until a specified date, others until further notice. Generally, local health officials can issue guidance that's stricter, but not more lenient, than the state's. As COVID-19 continues to spread in California, some communities are itching to open things back up and allow residents to resume some semblance of pre-pandemic activity.
At least 35 people have died in Northern California fires that continue to ravage multiple counties, displacing 100,000 people. Fire officials reported 35 fire-related deaths as of Saturday. Local hospitals are treating others for injuries. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has suspended enforcement in areas affected by the fires, including evacuation zones, fire shelters and food banks. More than 5,700 of structures have been destroyed in 15 Northern California fires, covering collectively more than 220,000 acres.
Orange County officials said Wednesday they are continuing to monitor increases in hospitalization levels due to the coronavirus but that the trends don't necessarily mean the county needs to slow its reopening of the economy. Coronavirus-related ICU hospitalizations have jumped 76% in the last six weeks in Orange County. During the week of May 4, the county reported a seven-day average of 94 people with confirmed or suspected coronavirus infections in its ICU beds. Last week, that number rose to an average of 165 hospitalized. In early May, the number of people hospitalized for the virus in Orange County was in the low 200s.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to approve a Readiness and Reopening Framework that outlines alternative benchmarks toward reopening the local economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The document addresses the criteria that Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out last week in his reopening plan but proposes alternatives to the metrics, which local officials called unrealistic for an urban county as large as Riverside County. The county has about 2.5 million residents. Rather than waiting until the county has fewer than one new COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents and zero deaths for 14 days, the locally approved framework offers a less rigid plan. Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said the new plan is an effort to establish balance between the county and the state, rather than reopening against Newsom's wishes like Yuba County.
ATLANTA – A predominantly black county in rural Georgia is facing a nationwide backlash over plans to close about 75 percent of its voting locations ahead of the November election. County officials say the locations are inaccessible to those with disabilities; critics say the closures will disenfranchise black voters ahead of an election in which a black candidate is running for governor for the first time. The Randolph County elections board is considering a proposal to eliminate seven of nine polling places in the county. The seven precincts in question don't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, county officials and an independent consultant say. Longtime Randolph County attorney Tommy Coleman acknowledged in a phone interview with The Associated Press that the timing of the move could appear strange.