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Researchers Say California Could Potentially Reopen Sooner Than Governor's Projections

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Researchers are saying California may be able to start lifting restrictions earlier than the governor's projections.

With no reopening date in sight, Gov. Gavin Newsom is still looking to future data which shows a peak in mid-May.

Newsom is resisting the pressure to come forward with a date and resisting some of the actions taken by cities and counties to reopen the state as the coronavirus pandemic eases up.

"We seem to be controlling the spread at this time," Placerville City Manager Cleve Morris said.

Placerville is one of a group of California cities and counties eager to reopen. Morris said there have been no cases in the city for three or four weeks.

"We look at that and say, 'How long does that go on?'" Morris said. "We are controlling the spread and doing the necessary things."

Morris said he'd like to work with the governor on lifting restrictions and he said the county is working on a plan to set guidelines.

"We'd like to work with him to open up certain areas that can still work, and keep some business open and meet his guidelines that he set," Morris said.

As of Wednesday, Newsom said there is no timeline in sight to open up the state. In the meantime, researchers at the University of Washington are offering a best guess.

Researchers there say their models offer a brighter outlook for California, with the state opening as early as May 17.

CBS13 asked the Governor about his projected May-model. He hasn't presented data which shows that California is still on track to see a peak next month – all this while the university of has said the state hit its peak last week. The governor referred CBS13's question to Dr. Mark Ghaly.

"We have in weeks past put out a conversation showing how our modeling runs through May 20," Dr. Ghaly said. "We also talked about in recent weeks as we looked as our actual numbers."

The governor's press staff later told CBS13 that California is using a model through Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Ghaly said they are continuing to look at those future models, but experts warn against using the model, which has considerable uncertainty to make policy decisions.

"We continue to look at those models but we are guided through the actual numbers that we are seeing today," he said.

Dr. Ghaly said they are relying on actual cases and hospitalizations as they look to a reopening date.

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