Imperial County told to reinstate stay-at-home order; new PPE marketplace opens for businesses

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday told those living in Imperial County to return to shelter-in-place orders because of an alarming trend of coronavirus cases, while also announcing a partnership that encourages people to buy protective gear from the Golden State.

Specifically, he pointed out that Imperial County’s hospitals are being overwhelmed and its testing positivity rate is alarmingly high.

For that reason, Newsom said that Imperial County, which is about 200 miles from Los Angeles and has a population of about 200,000 residents, has been told to reinstate their shelter-in-place orders and "toggle back." 

In the last seven days, Newsom said, the positivity rate has gone up 5.7 percent. Imperial County's is at 23 percent. Keeping the rate under 8 percent is considered a good goal. 

It's the only county in California that Newsom is telling to do so. 

"The trendlines are disturbing," Newsom said. 

Aside from that, Newsom chose to hold his news conference at Tri-Tool manufacturing in Racho Cordova to announce a partnership where PPE, including face masks and hand sanitizers, will be available for free to trade associations to that they can safely reopen. He added, of course, as long as supplies last. 

The deal is a partnership between the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, Autodesk, and the State of California, called the "Safely Making California” Marketplace "to help fill a critical gap for all sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic," its website states.

In addition, Newsom said this "marketplace" was created to host a growing directory of California companies in the hopes of encouraging companies from buying this equipment locally.

The announcements came as the latest coronavirus numbers are being reported.

In the last reporting period, 4,890 Californians tested positive and 79 people have died, Newsom said. There has also been a "modest increase" in the number of hospitalizations including those sent to intensive care units. 

Newsom also stated that 15 counties, up from 11, are on the state's "watch list." These counties have concerning COVID-19 trends, and those who openly flout shelter-in-place orders are in jeopardy of losing state funding. 

This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.