Dr. Vohra, Fresno County interim health officer, penned a letter to Calif. governor to allow dine-in services

indica News Bureau-

Tired of the Shelter-in-place and bearing unprecedented losses, the Central Valley counties, including Fresno, has requested that California officials ease requirements so the region can move to the next phase of recovery and reopening from the coronavirus pandemic.

Interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health, Dr. Rais Vohra, and Director of Public Health Dave Pomaville along with support from counties have sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Department of Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell aksing to move into “Phase 2” of reopening, which would allow dine-in services at restaurants, The Fresno Bee reported.

The letter, has urged the state officials to “reconsider the metrics they are using” to allow local counties to move forward and reopen some businesses.

“We’re just hoping that doesn’t fall on deaf ears and that actually helps to advance this conversation and that we learn from them and that they learn from us about what our needs are and how we can move forward together,” Dr. Vohra said during a media briefing.

Dr.Vohra pointed out that the number of new infections per day, as well as deaths being recorded in the county is preventing Fresno County from moving forward to the next phase of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic Dr.Vohra said, the state requires that it sees no more than seven new infections per day over a two-week period, for Fresno County’s population, to think about reopening.

Fresno County has been seeing 30 to 40 new infections per day, Dr.Vohra said. Another metric requirement is that the county should not have any COVID-19 deaths for two weeks.

He said, “The real disqualifiers for us here in Fresno County are that, according to the state, we just haven’t flattened the curve. They want to see the number of new cases go way down.”

A third metric that’s disqualifying Fresno County is the amount of testing being carried out, which Dr.Vohra said the county should meet in a couple of weeks.

“These are really hard metrics,” Dr.Vohra said of all the requirements. “They are quite restrictive.”

Suggesting reopening of restaurants and businesses, Dr.Vohra said that that the county can move forward in a safe manner as the shelter-in-place orders and other “disruptions that we’ve had to endure in the last couple of months are not sustainable.” He added that his department was having conversations about the same.

Dr.Vohra said, “We need to get into a new phase where we have a culture of caution, but also a culture where we can proceed with all of the business activities, social activities, other organizational activities and eventually educational activities. We currently do not meet the metrics to move forward, but we feel that our capacity to meet the challenges of moving forward are in place, and we will be able to protect our health care system, as well as all of our populations, if we are able to move forward, but do so cautiously.”

Accoring to the new data The COVID Tracking Project. until May 15, California has tested 1.1 million people with more than 73,000 positive cases and more than 3,000 deaths.