Four of the first Southern California counties to reopen for dine-in restaurants and bars now lead the state in overall coronavirus hospitalization rates, reports the LA Times. The paper says the numbers coming out of Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties show a “dangerous rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations,” and that those areas are “primarily responsible” for a surge in overall cases statewide. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is now the leading center of the coronavirus outbreak in all of America.
Ventura County was among the first to reopen more broadly as part of California governor Gavin Newsom’s phased-in approach, starting back on May 21. Orange County moved in a week later, opening in time for the long Memorial Day weekend after facing stiff constituent pressure to allow businesses (such as restaurant dining rooms) to reopen, and people to more widely leave their homes. Orange County officials bowed to further pressure just weeks later, rescinding a mandate for people to wear masks when in public, though Gov. Newsom has since mandated masks statewide.
“We’re showing the first signs of starting to lose this battle against COVID-19 in our county,” Ventura County health officer Dr. Robert Levin previously told the county Board of Supervisors, per the Times. In LA, county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has noted the uptick comes partially from increased social interactions at places like bars, restaurants, and private parties.
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