California loosens requirements for reopening after hospitalizations continue to dip

Kathryn Krawczyk

Things are looking up in California, and it's prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to make it easier for the state's businesses to open again.

On Monday, Newsom announced a change in the requirements a county must meet before its businesses can enter California's second reopening phase. They'll no longer have to report no COVID-19 deaths for 14 days, leaving all but five California counties eligible for the next phase.

Under the new requirements, counties must prove they have stable hospitalization rates and that their number of coronavirus patients haven't grown by more than five percent over a seven-day period. For smaller counties, they'll have to prove they've had no more than 20 new cases per day over a 14-day period. In addition, counties will have to fulfill one of two other requirements: They'll either have to report fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 residents for at least 14 days, or their rate of positive coronavirus tests will need to drop below 8 percent.

Like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) did earlier Monday, Newsom also suggested California could allow professional sports to continue without fans as early as June. Hair salons and churches can likely reopen within weeks as well.

The rule change comes after California released positive statistics in its coronavirus fight. The state has conducted 57,000 COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours, or 1.3 million total. California had also seen a 7.5 percent decrease in hospitalizations statewide over the last two weeks, and an 8.7 percent decrease in ICU patients over the same time.

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