STOCKTON — The top health official in the county told the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday she is prepared to send an attestation to Gov. Gavin Newsom later this week and move closer to Stage 3 of his Roadmap to Recovery.
“I still have some work to do while we get the final numbers in,” said Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer. “But in the next couple days I will draft the attestation, have the chair sign off on it and submit it to the governor.”
Park’s announcement comes a day after Newsom loosened restrictions for counties to move through the second stage of his recovery plan for reopening the economy.
Newsom said that counties can now move toward a more expansive reopening if they can show no more than 25 COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents in the last 14 days, and that they can show they have not had more than 20 hospitalizations on any single day over a seven-day period.
With a population of about 762,000, Park said the county would need to have a maximum of 190 positive cases of COVID-19 over 14 days. She said the county has met that criteria, recording just 120 confirmed cases during that period.
In addition, the county had just 18 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 on Tuesday and 19 on Monday, she said.
If Park is able to submit an attestation to the governor this week, it will be posted on his website, effectively giving the county the green light to open more aspects of its economy.
According to his Roadmap to Recovery, the final businesses allowed to open under Stage 2 will be restaurants for dine-in services — both indoor and outdoor — and shopping malls.
Park is encouraging both restaurants and malls to look at the guidance for those industries posted on the governor’s website before opening their doors.
Those guidelines, which were posted a couple weeks ago when other counties began attesting, include ensuring patrons and employees maintain six feet of distance between one anotheer at all times, and that surfaces are cleaned and sanitized as often as possible. Employees must also be checked for COVID-19 symptoms each day before they enter the business, among other guidelines.
“Once we submit our variance for attestation and it’s posted online, that will give us the go-ahead to move us through Stage 2,” Park said. “If we’re able to get it signed off and submitted, restaurants and malls should be able to open by the weekend. My plan is to have them both opened immediately if our attestation is accepted.”
Park’s decision to submit an attestation to the governor comes as San Joaquin County reported 709 total cases of COVID-19 and 33 total deaths Tuesday morning. There have been 161 people hospitalized from the virus, and 67 admitted to intensive care units.
In addition, 548 people have recovered, according to Public Health Services data.
Park is not ready to rescind her stay-at-home order, she said, and if the county sees a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases or hospitalization over the next two weeks, she will most likely call for those businesses to close again.
“Many people think we’re moving too fast, and many people are still recovering in hospitals,” she said. “I do have to weigh those factors with the risk of reopening the economy. I may have to rescind this decision in a couple weeks if things get worse again.”
Newsom’s industry guidelines can be found online at covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance.
“This is a big step for these businesses, and hopefully we can move more quickly through the governor’s additional reopening phases,” Supervisor Chuck Winn said via email after Tuesday’s meeting.