YUBA CITY, Calif. – Rick Patrick wears a mask and thinks those who don’t are “asinine.” He rarely leaves his home. He disapproves of what he calls the “stupidity” of people gathering in crowds.
But Patrick, 64, won’t stop eating breakfast at his favorite restaurant in Yuba City even though it’s supposed to be closed to inside dining following California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest health mandate aimed at curbing a frightening spike in coronavirus cases.
“You’ve got to support these mom and pop businesses,” he said Tuesday morning while sitting inside Linda’s Soda Bar and Grill on Plumas Street, the city's main street. “What are we going to do? We’re going to lose all of them.”
In the midst of a record rise in new cases, state officials on Monday pulled the “emergency brake” on 28 counties and moved them into the most restrictive of four tiers for reopening. Those along with the 14 counties already at that level account for 94% of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.
The move came after the state experienced the fastest weekly growth in new cases since the pandemic began. California now has more than 1 million confirmed cases and nearly 18,300 deaths. Hospitalizations are surging, growing by more than 1,000 patients in the last week to almost 4,200.
Yuba City is in Sutter County, about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco and one of the places that saw new restrictions on businesses. The county had a record 186 people tested positive for the virus over the weekend, according to Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu.
For every 100,000 people, California is averaging 16.5 new cases, while Sutter County is averaging 21.8 and the positivity rate among test-takers in the county is more than double the state’s 5.2%.
“What’s driving this? You are. You’re being too lax,” Luu said in a video messages to the community on Monday.