California's Coronavirus Outbreak Started at a Nail Salon, Says Gov. Newsom

California’s outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, started in a nail salon, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

Newsom shared this information during a press conference with reporters, after he was asked why nail salons are in the later stages of California’s reopening plan.

"This whole thing started in the state of California — the first community spread — in a nail salon," he said, according to "I just wanted to remind you, remind everybody, of that. I'm very worried about that.”

Newsom added that the fact that salon workers already wear masks and gloves for protection and were still infected is worrisome.

“As you may know, it's certainly informed me that many of the practices that you would otherwise expect of a modification were already in play in many of these salons with people that had procedure masks on, were using gloves and advancing higher levels of sanitation," he said.

Newsom did not elaborate on how the virus spread at a nail salon or specify the location.

The state announced in late April that the first deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. actually occurred in California, not in Washington as was initially thought. The Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner office said that two people in the area died of the virus in early February, well before the first reported death in Washington on Feb. 29.

California has been able to largely contain their outbreak, despite their high population. Newsom is slowly beginning to reopen the state, but has emphasized that it is still months away from returning to pre-pandemic life.

“We’re beginning to have much more public conversations about opening up, with modifications,” he said Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “The virus has not gone away.”

California is currently in Stage 1 of reopening, which allows government and private companies that aid essential workers to get back to work. Retail stores are also allowed to offer curbside pickup. In Stage 2, public spaces and factories will be able to reopen along with schools and childcare facilities, but that is still far from happening, Newsom said.

Nail and hair salons, gyms and movie theaters will not be able to open until Stage 3. By Stage 4, the stay-at-home order in the state will be fully lifted.

“If our behavior radically changes, we risk the framework we’re advancing,” he said.

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