Northern California legislators request the state use ZIP codes rather than county lines for reopening decisions

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FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) – Local officials are making the case that California’s reopening guidelines should be based on ZIP codes rather than county lines.

“If we could look at it a little differently by ZIP code, we could get more businesses back to work,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost.

Frost joined Folsom Mayor Sarah Aquino, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and State Sen. Brian Dahle in sending a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly to make that case.

As of Wednesday, the state tiers of reopening are based on a county’s COVID-19 case and positivity rates.

The letter points to Folsom as a community that would benefit from a ZIP code-based approach instead of one that is county-based.

“There are people in Folsom who are driving over the hill to dinner at restaurants that are fully open in El Dorado Hills and coming back to Folsom,” Frost said. “And so, those political lines don’t stop at Sacramento County. And so, why do we have to be boxed into a metric that keeps our businesses closed in Sacramento County while other counties are opening up?”

While the Sacramento County website breaks down COVID-19 cases by ZIP code, it does not include the breakdown of case and positivity rates specifically.

When asked if Folsom, when considered alone, would be able to move further into reopening, a spokesperson for the county said that information is not immediately available.

Frost said the state should make the information easily available.

“The biggest barrier right now is having the state say, ‘Yes we can, let’s figure out how we can do this,’” Frost explained.

For now, the state is sticking to the current system. 

Ali Bay, spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health issued a statement saying in part:

California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy is a science and data-based approach for tightening and loosening restrictions on our economy. We are always happy to talk to stakeholders about what future iterations to the Blueprint might look like, but with flu season right around the corner, we are taking a slow and stringent approach to protect the health of all Californians.

Ali Bay, Spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health

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