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Surge in COVID-19 cases delays plan to reopen Lathrop city hall
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 Lathrop residents were originally going to be able to walk into Lathrop City Hall on Wednesday and handle any of the municipal business they needed to take care of.

Now that reopening is on hold until further notice.

Less than 48 hours before the announced reopening of Lathrop’s city complex went into effect, City Manager Steve Salvatore announced on Monday evening that the city would be postponing that, citing the changing conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic in San Joaquin County and the uncertainty that brings.

According to the San Joaquin County COVID-19 Dashboard operated by San Joaquin County Public Health Services, there are currently 3,291 confirmed cases of the virus in San Joaquin County – more than 300 of which came within the last week.

As a result of the 33 confirmed outbreaks that have been logged, there are now 129 people hospitalized because of the virus – significantly above the limit of 20 that had been set in the county – and 53 people have died from the novel coronavirus.

While there are, according to the most recent numbers, 1,678 people that have recovered from the virus, it appears to be spreading much more freely in the community than in isolated locations such as skilled nursing facilities. According to the data updated on Monday, more than 60 percent of cases have been as a result of community transmission compared to 27.3 percent in skilled nursing facilities.

Within the last two weeks, 1,153 new cases have been diagnosed – more than five-times the rolling-total limit that the county had set of 190.

Of the confirmed cases, the Hispanic/Latino community has been hit hardest in San Joaquin County, accounting for 42.1 percent of all cases and 30.8 percent of all deaths. The disease has proven to be most deadly to white residents which account for only 11.7 percent of all cases but lead all ethnic groups in the grim category of deaths with 32.7 percent of the 52 who have known to have died as a result of contracting the virus.

According to Salvatore the decision to keep City Hall closed for the time being will not impact the day-to-day operations of the city any more than it has for the last two months – the city had already shifted to a socially-distant work model with limited contact with the public – and the potential date of reopening is not yet known.

If the number of cases and the severity of cases were drop as was the case when the county was granted a variance by the State of California to allow reopening, the city, he said, will be able to revisit the access status and make a determination at that point.

While no other formal declarations were made on Monday, San Joaquin County – which has been on the state’s watchlist because of rising case numbers – was ordered by Governor Gavin Newsom to close all bars immediately along with drinking-specific establishments in six other counties in the state including Los Angeles.

Newsom made a recommendation that Stanislaus County follow suit because of the exploding numbers in the adjacent county but did not go so far as to order a directive calling for it.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.