California doesn't plan to stop testing asymptomatic people any time soon, despite the Centers for Disease Control's latest guidelines. Plus: No NBA games this week and the good, bad and ugly when it comes to California's ongoing wildfires.
This is Maria Sestito, reporting from Palm Springs for the rest of the week.
In California brings you top Golden State stories and commentary from across the USA TODAY Network and beyond. Get it free, straight to your inbox.
Newsom announces COVID-19 testing contract, some new guidelines
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday a new $1.4 billion COVID-19 testing contract to address the significant test result delays and supply chain shortages in California. The state is currently testing about 100,000 people a day on average, with results taking about a week. This new contract promises to increase the number of tests to 250,000 per day. Results will only take one to two days, he said.
The governor also outlined the rules for schools to reopen to its highest-need students, including those with disabilities, according to EdSource.
And while we're still waiting on the updated reopening guidelines promised by Newsom this week, Disneyland announced it is ready to welcome guests — as soon as state officials give theme parks the OK.
State officials have not allowed theme parks to reopen because of a spike in coronavirus cases. However, Orange County, where Disneyland resides, was removed Sunday from a list of counties on California's monitoring list for coronavirus.
On to my least favorite topic, sports:
The NBA canceled three days of playoff games this week after the Milwaukee Bucks — followed by other teams — boycotted games in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake was shot in the back seven times by police in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday.
Teams in the WNBA and MLB also called off or postponed games on Wednesday. That is, except for the Oakland A's and Texas Rangers. Both teams pivoted Thursday after receiving criticism.
Demonstrators marched in Oakland on Wednesday night in solidarity with protesters in Kenosha and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, police said they were responding to a courthouse fire, broken store windows and small fires in the streets.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, a sheriff’s deputy suspected of looting and stealing from a business he was sent to protect has been arrested, according to the San Bernardino Sun. Erdem Gorgulu, 46, of Redlands faces felony and misdemeanor charges and has been fired from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office.
Scoot, scoot, zooooom!
Apparently I was part of a spike in San Diego's electric scooter use last week. Usage of the electric scooters and bicycles — owned by companies like Lyft and Bird — in the city had basically flat-lined since late April, according to the San Diegio Union-Tribune.
The number of daily rides on such "mini-mobility" devices in the city rose from an average of 231 at the lowest point in April to 6,969 daily rides last week.
"The recovery shows a willingness of residents and tourists to get out and about, perhaps commuting to work once more," the Tribune reports. I don't know about the other tourists, but I sanitized my hands afterwards.
Good news and bad news when it comes to the state's wildfires
One Carmel Valley resident who stayed behind in his neighborhood is spared his life and his home. "I got really lucky," he said.
Evacuations were lifted for the Carmel and River fires this afternoon. The River Fire expanded across 48,424 acres and is 58% contained. The Carmel Fire scorched 6,695 acres and is 55% contained.
Fire officials are optimistic that "cooperating" weather and reinforcement will help with containment. The SCU Lightning Complex, which stretches across six Northern California counties, has burned 368,671 acres and is at 35% containment. The LNU Lightning Complex has burned 368,868 acres across Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo, and Solano counties and is 33% contained.
Sheep, donkeys, ducks, goats, pigs and a bunch of chickens were saved from the fires in Santa Cruz County and taken in by community members, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Elsewhere in the county, animal rescue operations are nearly bursting at the seams.
A total of seven people, including three members of one family, have been confirmed dead from the wildfires and, as neighborhoods open up, more could be found.
While one of the firefighters worked to save homes in the River Fire, his wife back in Santa Cruz County was evacuating. She escaped safely with their terrier mix Benson and black cat Rio, but their home was destroyed. The CZU Lightning Complex, which encompasses areas in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, has burned 81,333 acres and is 21% contained, according to Cal Fire.
For a detailed map of the fires, check out this fire tracker map.
And, briefly, what else you might want to know:
California's senators were back at work Thursday following the decontamination of the Senate chamber, according to KRCA. News broke Wednesday that Sen. Brian Jones tested positive for coronavirus.
Two people died in a plane crash in west Redding this morning. Another two people were injured. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed into a ravine around 6:45 a.m. after taking off from the airport.
An adult bobcat and a young mountain lion that were part of a study of big cats in the wilderness west of Los Angeles both died after ingesting rat poisons, according to AP News.
Enjoy the rest of your evening — let's do this again tomorrow night!
In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Associated Press, San Diego Union-Tribune, Santa Cruz Sentinel, San Bernardino Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, KRCA and EdSource.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California's new COVID-19 test contract could address delays, shortages