California’s 6 tests for gradually easing virus limits

California Connection
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials will look to six sets of indicators as they try to decide when it will be safe to gradually allow residents to return to work and school.

But Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that large gatherings like sporting events and concerts — even school assemblies or physical education classes — are out for the foreseeable future, and businesses will have to enforce social distancing and other safeguards. And he warned that intermittent stay-at-home orders could be the new normal as the coronavirus flares up in certain parts of the state once restrictions are eventually eased.

Before that happens, officials must be sure:

— They have enough routine and widespread testing to monitor the population at large for coronavirus infections, and have the ability to trace patients’ recent contacts and isolate or quarantine those who test positive or may have been exposed to someone who has the virus.

— They can protect the most vulnerable populations: those who are older, have underlying health issues, or are in crowded settings like nursing homes, prisons or jails.

— That the state’s health care system can handle surges, with enough ventilators, staff and personal protective equipment ready to go.

— That it has the best known treatment options identified and in proper supply to meet demand, and is working with academia, technology companies and medical researchers to develop more and better options.

— That businesses, schools, and child care facilities can function while keeping people at least six feet apart to limit coronavirus spread.

— Finally, that they can quickly reimpose restrictions like stay-at-home orders if the virus flares again.

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