California Releases Revised Guidelines for Counties to Reopen Sooner

By on May 22, 2020

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom gave an update on COVID-19 in California and during that update announced that many California counties have the health data and plans necessary to further reopen their economies if their local health leaders so choose.

If a county decides to pursue a variance to move further into Stage 2, the local public health officer must notify the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and certify that the county has met the readiness criteria.

County readiness criteria to move further into Stage 2 includes:

  • Stable hospitalizations of COVID individuals with less than 5% change over a 7 day period OR no more than 20 COVID hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days.
  • Less than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days OR less than 8% testing positive in the past 7 days.
  • Minimum daily testing volume to test 1.5 per 1,000 residents.
  • Testing availability for at least 75% of residents, as measured by a specimen collection site within 30 minutes driving time in urban areas, and 60 minutes in rural areas.
  • Sufficient contact tracing so public health staff work can work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious. For counties that have no cases, there should be at least 15 staff per 100,000 county population trained and available for contact tracing.
  • Hospital capacity to accommodate a minimum surge of 35% due to COVID-19 cases in addition to providing usual care for non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Plans to prevent and mitigate infections in skilled nursing facilities
  • More than a 14 day supply of PPE on hand for Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) staff, with an established process for ongoing procurement from non-state supply chains.
  • Plans for county-wide containment if stay-at-home orders need to be reinstituted.

Read the Governor’s resilience roadmap at