Virus Outbreak California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state's response to the coronavirus, at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova Calif., Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

(The Center Square) – California, Washington and Oregon are discussing the framework of a regional approach to reopening the economy in the West and Pacific Northwest as all three states continue to operate under stay-at-home restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at his Monday coronavirus news briefing that he, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon started holding conversations last week about "what it would look like and how we could begin the process of the incremental" reopening of the economy but also keeping people safe.

Stressing that residents still need to follow stay-at-home restrictions and follow social distancing guidelines, Newsom said it was time to start talking about when and how to incrementally ease restrictions "and doing so in safe, a strategic and a responsible way."

Millions of workers across the U.S. have lost their jobs in recent weeks as stay-at-home orders forced non-essential businesses to at least temporarily close.

Earlier Monday, seven Northeast states announced a similar initiative.

According to a joint news release from the three West Coast governors, each state will have a state-specific plan, but they all have agreed to three key principles "as we build out a West Coast framework."

Those principles are:

  • Our residents’ health comes first.
  • Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions.
  • Our states will only be effective by working together.

Newsom said he will release more information Tuesday about what he is thinking for California, "as detailed as we can at this stage," adding that he looked forward to talking to other western governors and leaders across the U.S.

Because California residents have continued to follow the stay-at-home and social distancing requirements, "we've been able to significantly bend that curve," he said.

Newsom said 3,015 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in California as of Monday, 1,178 of them in ICU beds, which represents a 2.9 percent increase over Sunday. Also as of Monday, 687 Californians have died from the disease and 22,348 had tested positive.

The numbers are "growing but in a moderate way," the governor said. "The curve is being bent because of you."

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.