The virus is spreading at private gatherings in homes, and more young people are testing positive, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. Infections at some prisons are raising concerns.
“California has a legal and legal obligation and otherwise to enforce those laws,” Newsom said, adding that it could use “the power of the purse” to do so. “That will be an exception and we hope we never have to trigger that.”
The state broke a record Tuesday with an increase of more than 7,000 cases a day, obliterating a record hit a day earlier, when more than 5,000 new cases were recorded, officials reported Wednesday.
The state’s positivity rate – how many people tested positive compared to how many in total are being tested – has also been on the rise in recent days, as have hospitalizations, which are up nearly 30 percent in two weeks, the governor said.
Governor points to family gatherings
Newsom chided residents who are hosting private events at their homes, including family gatherings, children’s play dates and birthday parties.
“Many of us understandably developed a little cabin fever. Some of us, I would argue, developed a little amnesia. Others have just frankly taken down their guard,” the governor said Wednesday.
“People are mixing and that is increasing the spread of the virus,” he added.
The governor’s words echo reports from several parts of the state where health officials attributed a number of new cases to family gatherings.
“Avoid in-home gatherings with individuals who do not live in the same household,” county officials wrote.
Cases in young people
The governor also noted there has been an increase in the number of young people testing positive for the virus.
“There’s a sense that a lot of young people, well you’re young so you feel a little bit more invincible but, respectfully, often that can be a selfish mindset,” Newsom said.
Even if younger people may not show as many symptoms, they are still spreaders of the virus.
“And they can spread it to people that simply can’t handle the virus as younger healthier people can,” he said.
The governor’s warning fits in with those made by city and state leaders in other parts of the US – including across the South – who have said an increasing number of young people are testing positive.
Some officials across the country have pointed to parties, bars and other gatherings as where the spread is happening.
Unclear if protests had an impact
Because of the high volume of cases that have been coming in, officials have not been able to “pinpoint whether or not the exact source of the exposure was a protest,” said Los Angeles County Health Director. Barbara Ferrer said.
“I do want to say that it’s highly likely, given the increasing numbers that we are seeing that some of this is in fact people who may have been in a crowded situation at one of the protests where it was spreading,” Ferrer said.
CNN has reached out to the county’s health department for further details.
The state’s health department said late last week there was not enough data to “assess the impact of recent protests.”
In San Francisco, officials say some testing sites that offer free testing do not ask people getting tested if they have recently been featured in any demonstrations.
And in Alameda County, spokeswoman Neetu Balram said in a statement there was still no “clear correlation between protest activity and increases in testing or positive cases.”
“We monitor our data continuously to inform our guidance and reopening actions. We are encouraging anyone who protested to get tested,” the statement said.
Some prisons a concern
Following a reporter’s question during his news conference, Newsom also mentioned a number of prisons as a concern for the state.
One of them – San Quentin State Prison – has more than 450 inmates who have tested positive. About 42% of prisoners in the facility are medically vulnerable, Newsom said.
And according to data from the state’s corrections department, 433 of new cases in the facility have come in the last two weeks.
The governor said the state recently submitted a plan to the courts to have a number of inmates who are approaching their release date to be released from prison early, to help bring down facility facilities.
That process will begin July 1 and will be expedited for facilities like San Quentin, Newsom said.
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg and Jon Passantino contributed to this report.