Aerial view of downtown Calexico in Imperial County. Courtesy of the city

Gov. Gavin Newsom called on Imperial County Friday to re-institute stay-at-home orders as coronavirus cases surge and threaten to overwhelm the rural county’s healthcare system.

“We’re now in a position where we are working with county officials and advising them to pull back and once again re-institute their stay-at-home orders,” said Newsom at a press briefing.

Imperial County reported a rolling average of 23% positive tests, compared with 5.7% for the state as a whole and 3.1% for San Diego County.

Newsom said more than 500 people have been transferred out of Imperial County hospitals and into hospitals in San Diego and other counties over the past five weeks.

The county’s hospitals have been overwhelmed in part because of treating American COVID-19 patients who live in Mexico.

While Imperial County is facing the biggest surge in cases, the governor said 10 other counties, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino, are being watched.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.