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Gov. Newsom Orders 19 California Counties To Partially Shut Down

NOEL KING, HOST:

OK. So that was in Texas, but cases are also surging in other states, including California. California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said 19 counties will have to partially shut down again. Here he is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GAVIN NEWSOM: We've now had a 56% increase in the hospitalizations over the two-week reporting period - 56%.

KING: Laura Klivans of member station KQED in San Francisco has been covering this story. Good morning, Laura.

LAURA KLIVANS, BYLINE: Good morning.

KING: So how many people in California does this shutdown or re-shutdown affect?

KLIVANS: Well, as you said, the shutdown affects 19 counties, and that actually represents roughly 70% of Californians. And so keep in mind we're a really big state with nearly 40 million people. And the kinds of businesses that are shutting down for at least three weeks are all bars, indoor restaurants, movie theaters, wineries, museums and zoos, for example. That's just in those those 19 counties. Most of the affected counties had reopened many of these establishments. So it's going to be a reversal for a lot of people.

KING: You mentioned businesses being shut down. I can't imagine that this is good news at all for them.

KLIVANS: Right. It's bad news. It's very bad. I spoke to Sharokina Shams of the California Restaurant Association, and here's what she had to say.

SHAROKINA SHAMS: We began hearing from many restaurants who were saying to us, you know, I was in survival mode, and now I'm in a place where I just won't be able to survive. I will have to shut down. And that likely will be a permanent shutdown from my restaurant.

KLIVANS: She says about 1.4 million people work in California's restaurants, and nearly a million of them have been laid off.

KING: OK. So those numbers are terrible and speak to the difficulty as California moves ahead. We heard Governor Newsom talk about a rise in hospitalizations. Are you seeing there what we saw in Houston, or are seeing in Houston, what we saw in New York? Are hospitals overwhelmed?

KLIVANS: Not to the extent that they are in those other states, but the past two weeks have been bleak. So in terms of our ICU numbers, those are up. But there's certainly still capacity in the ICU system. But then we do have some extreme situations like in Riverside County. That's where Palm Springs is. They hit 99% of their capacity for ICU beds. And then statewide our numbers, we're averaging about 5,500 new cases a day and 64 deaths a day.

KING: What lessons do you think government leaders there are learning from the closing, then reopening, then closing again? Because California's been a little unique in that sense having closed down so early.

KLIVANS: Right. I think what they're learning and what we're all learning is to understand what it means to - beyond Governor Gavin Newsom's dimmer switch. That's what he's sort of calling our state of reopening and closing. And it means what it sounds like. It's something the state will toggle with probably regularly and turn up or, as we see now, turn back down.

KING: Laura Klivans with KQED in San Francisco. Laura, thanks for your reporting.

KLIVANS: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIGNAL HILL'S "WANDERERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.