The spike in Colusa County COVID-19 cases has forced Colusa County on Tuesday to move back into the most restrictive “purple” tier on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Colusa County reported there are 71 positive COVID-19 cases in isolation, an increase of 40 since Friday.
As of Tuesday, there were also 136 people in quarantine and two hospitalized. There have been no further deaths related to the virus since the sixth reported death in September, officials said.
More than 7,000 tests of Colusa County residents have come back negative.
In response to the growing number of people testing positive for the virus, the governor issued a stay at home order through Dec. 21 prohibiting personal gatherings and non-essential businesses from operating between the hours of 10 PM and 5 PM.
Newsom’s new curfew is the same as the March stay at home order, but applied to a specific time, and only in purple tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” said Newsom, in a news release. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”
Newsom’s order, which took effect on Saturday, came just days after a press conference in which the governor apologized for ignoring his own guidelines when he attend a swank birthday party in Napa County with a number of people from multiple households, including members from the California medical community.
“The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted,” Newsom said at a press conference. “I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”
Curfews, however, are illegal in California unless such orders include specific instructions for compliance enforcement given to law enforcement agencies, and the conditions under which a person will be prosecuted.
According to the California Office of Emergency Services, a blanket restriction on the movement of individuals can only be enacted if law enforcement standards permit law enforcement agencies to enforce the curfew in a non-arbitrary, nondiscriminatory manner.
Within hours of Newsom’s order, multiple law enforcement agencies across the state issued statements that they would not enforce compliance with the curfew.
Sutter County Sheriff Brandon Barnes said deputies will not use enforcement action on people solely for violating the state’s new stay-at-home order.
Glenn County Sheriff Richard Warren also decided his office would not enforce any COVID related emergency orders related to curfews, staying at home, Thanksgiving, or other social gathering inside or outside the home, maximum occupancy, or mask mandates.
Most law enforcement agencies across the state said they would continue with an educational approach, echoing what many other counties have said regarding the stay-at-home order.
Immediately after the state’s order, Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) said that an arbitrary curfew will only further decimate struggling businesses that already face some of the toughest hurdles in the country after the governor moved 90 percent of California back to the ‘Purple Tier,’ prohibiting restaurants, gyms, theatres, and churches from operating indoors while severely restricting capacity in other sectors.
“The governor likes to tout that his actions are scientifically driven, but evidence simply does not support such drastic action limiting people’s freedom,” Gallagher said, in a news release. “This virus does not suddenly come out at night, and there is little evidence that shifting businesses’ operating hours has any impact.
Gallagher, who has sued California Gov. Gavin Newsom over some of the restrictions his office has put in place, and won, said none of these orders matter unless Californians buy in and change their behavior.
“The better policy to respond to this spike in cases is to call on all Californians to step up and make responsible choices to follow basic health guidelines to limit the spread without shackling our freedoms and the economy,” Gallagher added. “A curfew undermines the public’s faith that the guidelines are science-driven.”
Californias were also told to avoid large gatherings with people this Thanksgiving, and to avoid unnecessary travel.
The order did not stop at least a dozen Californian lawmakers who jetted off to Hawaii to attend a four-day in-person conference, for which they have received considerable backlash.