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Newsom Says Details For Theme Park Reopening Coming 'Soon' After OC Officials Plead For Guidance

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said that the state will "soon" announce guidelines for theme parks to begin reopening.

"I'm not here today to make that presentation, but want folks to know we are actively working in a number of sectors and will be making public the fruits of those negotiations and those efforts very, very shortly,'' Newsom said.

During a news conference, Buena Park Mayor Fred Smith, Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones and Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu invited Newsom to visit Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm to judge whether he thinks the parks are ready to reopen.

For weeks, they've joined theme park executives in pleading with the state for more insight into when these parks might be able to open their doors again.

On Monday — which marked the six-month anniversary of the shutdown of large venues such as theme parks — Anaheim leaders said they need more guidelines for reopening so that Disneyland and other parks can better prepare.

City spokesperson Mike Lyster said they need "guidance on theme parks to reopen safely and responsibly when it is right. We actually need a roadmap for recovery.''

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, the president of the California State Association of Counties, toured Disneyland on Wednesday with state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa.

"I was extremely impressed with the level of protocols in place from temperature checks to face coverings, to the restriction of the number of persons in the stores and restaurants,'' Bartlett said. "They're being very, very diligent in downtown Disney to ensure everyone's respective health and safety whether it be the cast members or the public. They're doing a great job to keep the public safe and to keep the cast members safe.''

Bartlett said Disneyland was "ready to reopen and should be allowed to reopen at this point.''

She said she thinks that state officials are likening theme parks to large convention centers or concert halls, but the key difference is that most of the entertainment at theme parks is outdoors — where experts have said the virus does not spread as easily as it does indoors. She added that she plans to lobby state officials to reconsider which category theme parks fall into.

Also on Wednesday, the county reported six more coronavirus fatalities, bringing the death toll to 1,111. Another 135 cases were reported as well, increasing the total number of cases to 51,259 since the pandemic began.

So far this week, 18 deaths have been reported since Sunday. The first two days of the week saw zero coronavirus-related fatalities.

Hospitalizations in the county slightly increased from 201 on Tuesday to 202 on Wednesday. The number of ICU patients remained at 67.

The county's daily case count per 100,000 people dropped from 5.2 last week to 4.7. The seven-day rate of residents testing positive also dropped from 4.2% to 3.9%.

Orange County is hoping to soon move to the orange tier of the state's COVID-19 monitoring system, which requires a consistent daily new case rate per 100,000 of 1 to 3.9 and a positivity rate of 2 to 4.9%.

This week, Orange County supervisors also approved a plan to set up drive-thru flu vaccine clinics in each district to help keep the flu at bay, in hopes of avoiding a "twindemic" this fall.

The board is also moving forward with a plan to help expand testing to reach residents who are Asian-Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and North African heritage.

"The Latino community remains the highest hot spot in the county, but the next highest is the API community as well as Middle Eastern and North African,'' Supervisor Andrew Do said. "This shows the board is very proactive in trying to address potential hot spots."

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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