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Confusion Following Expirations And Extensions Of County Public Health Orders

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As some county stay-at-home orders are extended and others are set to expire, many Californians are left wondering if they should listen to their county or the state. 

Letting county orders expire will have little practical effect on residents because the state's stay-at-home order is still in place.

On Wednesday, during his daily press conference, Governor Gavin Newsom spoke about the stages of reopening for the state but did not give a timeline of when we will achieve those stages. He said it could be months before all restrictions are lifted.

"We can undo our progress in a short period of time," Newsom said.

The mix of messages is causing confusion over which one is the right one to follow.

In Placer County, like all other counties in the state, the health order is merely "supplemental" to the governor's stay-at-home order.

"Because we are still under the state's order to stay at home, we do not have the ability to make a local decision about when to reopen," Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said. "Our county remains under the governor Newsom's statewide shelter-in-place order until further order."

It's the same story in El Dorado County, where the shelter-in-place order is set to expire on Friday.

But other counties in our region are taking a different approach.

Yolo County is extending its order through May 31, and Sacramento County's order will last through May 22 with some loosened restrictions. Recreational facilities like shooting ranges and tennis courts can reopen as long as social distancing requirements are met, you can visit the doctor or dentist, food trucks will be listed as essential services, and house hunters can go to open houses — by appointment only — with no more than two people at a time.

But with the state ultimately leading the decision-making, communities continue to weigh the warning from the governor about the consequences if we "flip the switch" too soon.

"What's taken us about two months to produce getting stable numbers can be unwound in a week or two. Why put ourselves in that position?" Newsom said.

As we've been reporting, a letter asking the governor to lift stay at home orders was written by leaders in 6 Northern California counties. But the governor says we need more testing, and a drop in cases, before that can happen.

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