Legal Alerts May 20, 2020

Update: California COVID-19 Readiness Criteria for County Variance on Reopening

More Counties to Potentially Qualify for a County Variance Under New Requirements

This week, the California Department of Public Health altered the COVID-19 re-opening readiness criteria and released a revised COVID-19 County Variance Attestation Form. This move may allow more counties to proceed through the variance process, leading to a significant increase in the number of counties that can proceed to the later stages of Stage 2 of the State’s COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap.

The updated criteria follows the four-stage Resilience Roadmap released on May 8, when Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a process for counties who meet specific criteria to move more quickly through Stage 2 of the modified statewide stay-at-home order. Twenty-three counties have already met the readiness criteria and can move more quickly through Stage 2 opening sectors once state guidance is posted for that sector.

The most significant changes made by the CDPH this week were in the Epidemiologic Stability of COVID-19 section of the Readiness Criteria. Under the new Epidemiological Stability requirements, counties must showcase data that:

  1. Demonstrates stable/decreasing number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 by a 7-day average of daily percent change in the total number of hospitalized confirmed COVID-19 patients of 5 percent or less or no more than 20 total confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized on any single day over the past 14 days.
  2. Demonstrates fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days or less than 8 percent of people tested testing positive in the last week.

Under the original requirements, counties were required to present data that showed that:

  1. There is no more than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 people in the county in the past 14 days prior to the attestation submission date.
  2. There have been no COVID-19 deaths in the county in the past 14 days prior to the attestation submission date.

The CDPH also issued guidance regarding the impact of prison inmates on the calculations for the Epidemiological Stability requirements. Specifically, positive state and federal prison inmate COVID-19 cases can be excluded from calculations of case rate in determining qualification for the county variance. Staff in state and federal prison facilities are to be counted in the case numbers. Inmates, detainees and staff in county facilities, such as county jails, must continue to be included in the calculations. Counties removing state and federal prison inmates from the calculation are still required to submit case rate details for inmates and the remainder of the community separately.

For more information or any questions regarding the changes to the Readiness Criteria, please contact the authors of this Legal Alert listed at the right in the firm’s Municipal Law and Special District practice groups or your BB&K attorney.

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Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts, facts specific to your situation or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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COVID-19 Legal Updates

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