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Newsom previews coronavirus reopening pact with Wash., Ore. governors

As California public health officials begin to scale back gloomy projections for the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom is beginning to shift his focus to the relaunching of the state economy – with or without Federal input.

During his daily briefing on the state’s coronavirus response, Newsom previewed the “Western States Pact” with state leaders in Oregon and Washington as part of the shifting direction of the states’ coronavirus planning.

The move mirrors other regional partnerships being sought by Governors separate from Federal guidance on a rolling re-entry of the economy.

“COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness,” a joint statement from Newsom, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown reads. “In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.”

The pact is an agreement among the three Pacific Ocean-bordering states to a set of four guiding principles for reopening the economy.

The single largest guideline is a “decline in the rate of spread of the virus,” tied to the robustness of the three states’ healthcare systems to weather additional cases when quarantine orders are rolled back.

The states have also agreed to a set of four key goals among public health officials.

Along with ensuring adequate hospital capacity, the states agreed to double down on preventing and fighting outbreaks in elder care facilities, focusing on potential impacts to disadvantaged communities, and a stronger system for testing, tracking, and isolating coronavirus cases.

During his Monday briefing, Newsom promised more substantive plan for reopening California’s economy to arrive on Tuesday.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.