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California's changes to health rules for reopening

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California on Monday relaxed its rules for counties to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new criteria, saying the changes were driven by data showing the state's progress against COVID-19. He said 53 of 58 counties could move more quickly under the new standards.

OLD CRITERIA

—No deaths countywide for two weeks, a standard no large county was likely to meet anytime soon.

—No more than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 people for two weeks.

NEW CRITERIA:

—No threshold for deaths.

—Up to 25 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days or less than 8% of newly performed tests resulting in positive cases. The latter could motivate counties to test more people since it's a rate-based measurement. As counties test more, they expect the overall number of positives will increase.

—Countywide hospitalizations of COVID-19 cases can't increase more than 5% in a week or counties must have fewer than 20 new hospitalizations of coronavirus patients for 14 days. The latter addresses a key issue for small counties with very few hospitalizations. They could surpass the level for percentage increase by adding just one case.

NO CHANGE

—A county still needs to perform a minimum of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents or show justification it doesn't need that many tests a day. Counties must employ at least 15 trained contact tracers per 100,000 people. A tracer is someone who tries to locate others who could have been exposed to someone infected with the virus. Counties with fewer than 100,000 people need at least one tracer.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

Track cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world here.

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