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As Madera County Preps to Enter Stage 2.5, Total Cases Increase to 81

MADERA — The total number of COVID-19 cases in Madera County rose to 81 Tuesday as county health officials reported three new cases — two men in their 40s and one man in his 60s. All three of the latest cases were contracted through person-to-person transmission, according to the Madera County Department of Public Health (MCDPH).

County health officials also reported Tuesday that 21 cases remain “active” while 58 people who were confirmed with the virus have now fully recovered. Two Madera County residents, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s, died in late March from COVID-19. Both of those victims reportedly had underlying health conditions. For the latest update from MCDPH, click here.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday the state will ease reopening standards for counties to move to Stage 2.5, paving the way for many parts of the state to enter Phase 3 as early as the beginning of June.

On Tuesday, supervisors authorized health officials to send a letter to the State attesting that Madera County is ready to enter Stage 2.5.

Dr. Simon Paul, Madera County health officer, told supervisors today that the county “easily meets” the governor’s revised standards for reopening and now local officials must make a “detailed plan” to carry out the reopening process in “a clear and thoughtful way.”

Dr. Paul said a county task force continues its aggressive contact tracing program and health officials also are seeing ramped-up activity at testing sites, including one recently set up at the Madera County Fairgrounds.

“We’re in a great position to get the county open again,” Board Chairman David Rogers said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Our goal is to not keep people in the chains of COVID and free them from their bondage.”

Businesses around the county “want to operate safely, but they want to operate,” Rogers added.

Supervisor Brett Frazier agreed and said he believed the County has taken “a measured approach” so far in terms of looking out for businesses and residents around Madera County.

“And we haven’t had to take a single enforcement action in the county related to COVID-19,” Rogers added

Also at Tuesday’s board meeting, Joel Bugay, the County’s finance director, told supervisors that because of the economic damage inflicted so far by the pandemic, the county is currently facing a $5.7 million budget shortfall.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, budget hearings that had been scheduled for next month were postponed until September so that supervisors will be able to review more specific data related to COVID-19’s impact on the County’s finances.

“Much of the information we need to make concrete decisions won’t be available until September,” Rogers said.

Last week, Mariposa County reported its first COVID-19 death, a 78-year-old woman with underlying health conditions. But the individuals tied to the other 14 cases reported in Mariposa County have all recovered and as of Tuesday afternoon, Mariposa County had still reported just 15 total cases — although those numbers could change soon as the county is reportedly awaiting the results of more than 90 recent tests.

Around the state, the number of new cases in most areas continues to decline, although Los Angeles and Tulare counties remain COVID-19 hotspots. Over the past 24 hours, about 120 more Californians died from complications related to the coronavirus.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, there were 83,320 confirmed COVID-19 cases across California, with the total number of deaths statewide now at 3,374.

Nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins, there have been 1.52 million confirmed coronavirus cases, with the U.S. death toll at 91,730.

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