State Update: Reopening Tension Pits State, Local Officials Against Each Other, More than Half of California is Moving Further into Reopening, Three States will use Apple-Google Contact Tracing Tech

May 20, 2020

Tension that began with governors vs. the federal government has now trickled down, pitting officials within their own states against each other in ways that have direct implications for the fight against the virus and have already landed in the courts. Future disputes could complicate plans to respond to a resurgence, tie up urgent policy issues in legal wrangling and even risk lives. With cases increasing in some places and falling in others — and with a second wave predicted in the fall — the new pandemic battlegrounds will be increasingly localized.

More than half the counties in California are moving further into phase two of the state’s four-phased approach to reopening. Thirty of California’s 58 counties have been approved to move forward by the Department of Public Health. California’s previously outlined its four phases include the following:

  • Phase one: Strict stay-at-home order, only essential businesses open
  • Phase two: Retail businesses open for curbside pickup. Manufacturing and child care centers reopen. The expanded phase includes the reopening of shopping malls with indoor dining allowed.
  • Phase three: Personal care businesses like salons and gyms reopen.
  • Phase four: Events with large crowds like sports and concerts resume

Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina are the first states to commit publicly to using Apple and Google’s contact tracing technology in statewide apps meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. The technology is designed to slow the spread of coronavirus by tracking who a person has been in close contact with. The technology uses a Bluetooth-based system that stores data on people’s phones, not a central database. When someone officially tests positive for Covid-19, the system can send a notification to anyone who was recently near that person, telling them to contact their local health authority and get medical advice and a coronavirus test.

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