8 California counties are latest coronavirus hotspots

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — As coronavirus cases spike in California’s vast Central Valley, the state will send strike teams and tens of millions of dollars to eight counties to speed up testing, help infected people quarantine and assist overwhelmed health care workers, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The state is aiming for every infected person to transmit the virus to fewer than one other person, but in several Central Valley counties the spread is happening more often, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

“We have a great deal of work to do to get transmission rates down here in the Central Valley,” Ghaly said.

Ghaly and the governor spoke at an almond company in Stockton, a city that’s driving the increase in cases in San Joaquin County. The eight counties targeted by state officials are Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Tulare and Stanislaus counties. All have test positivity rates between roughly 11% and 18%, which is above the state’s goal of 8%.

In Kern County, cases increased by more than 161% over a two-week period, the highest of any of the eight counties, according to state data.

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