On Monday, lawmakers and local officials of six Northern counties sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking to be let out of of the state lockdown order in favor of regional COVID-19 coronavirus plans.
The officials from the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama, and Yuba have brought the demands because of the toll the economic and social effects have taken citizens in the Northern part of the state. The State legislators, Mayors, and County Supervisor Chairpersons also pointed out that because of the lower populations of the counties, which is just over 500,000 combined, that there is substantially less risk of infection and spread of the virus there. The letter also noted that only 69 individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 in the six counties, with only 1 patient being taken to an ICU as a result.
Many leaders gave similar statements encouraging the Governor for the counties to follow local coronavirus orders and regulations while also stressing the need to reopen the economy.
“California is weathering this pandemic well,” noted Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) in a statement.”In the North State, we have even fewer infections than those in other regions of the state. We must reopen our economy so Californians can get back to work. Families need to put food on the table and pay their rent and mortgage. Put simply, Californians need to continue living their best lives.”
Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) is also concurred.
“We all appreciate the quick action taken to flatten the curve of this virus,” noted Assemblyman Gallagher in another statement. “That effort has been successfully implemented, but it has not been without great cost to our people and our future ability to provide for the health and prosperity of our communities. It is time to begin a reopening. Our cases are low, our healthcare capabilities have been beefed up, and we are ready to get our economy moving again.”
While the Governor’s office did not comment on the letter as of Monday afternoon, many local health workers raised concerns about the six county proposal despite the low coronavirus infection numbers in the counties.
“This can be potentially dangerous,” said nurse Katherine Hagen. “A lot of places are connected to areas with higher rates. Interstate 5, for example, cuts right up, and that can mean people traveling from bigger cities where COVID-19 was more widespread. And it only takes a few more to hit smaller cities, and then it may overload the systems.”
“The Northern part of the state has been lucky so far. But we can’t give it up for the entire state yet, even just a few counties. People will travel out and about more, and if it’s still spreading somewhere around California or Nevada or Oregon, we get a potential number of new cases.”
“We all have to be in this together.”
However, many North State leaders rebutted with statistics and how the different counties are like compared to the rest of California. Butte County Superintendent Steve Lambert told the Globe that the counties are ready to not be under the California lockdown any more.
“You know we have around 500,000 people. That’s not nearly the same density as the Bay Area. And we’ve only had 69 cases, 50 of which have recovered. It’s not the same.”
“It’s common sense. If you’re at risk, stay in. If you’re healthy and not exposed, then you can get back to work. To me, government isn’t the solution here. Common sense will prevail. And we’ve shown that so far.”
While there is no current word from the Governor on the request, a statewide reopening has not been given a date yet, although a decision on that is expected soon from Governor Newsom.