SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday the state along with Oregon and Washington have developed a plan to reopen the West Coast while continuing to control the spread of COVID-19.

Newsom said the official plan, which is called the Western States Pact, will be announced Tuesday.

“How we can begin the process of the kind of incremental release of stay at home orders that advanced the principle of keeping people healthy, keeping people safe, using science to guide our decision making not political pressure, and continue to do what we can to advance the kind of results,” Newsom said.

As of Monday, California has more than 23,500 confirmed cases but hospitalizations have stabilized in recent days.

“In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities,” Gov. Newsom said in a joint statement with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

The statement says that while each state is building a state-specific plan, the three states have agreed to a framework that focuses on them working together, putting their residents’ health first, and having health outcomes and science guiding their decisions.

The western states pact is an agreement between the three governors to use data to drive decisions, keep vulnerable populations safe and continued protection for the general public from COVID-19.

This latest development comes three and a half weeks into California’s state-wide stay at home order.

Asked for any specifics and if there was a key data point which prompted the plans for reopening, Governor Newsom wouldn’t say on Monday.

“It’s a vexing prospect, to try to figure out a way of doing this where we don’t invite a second wave, where we don’t let down our guard, where we don’t put ourselves in a position where we regret moving too quickly. You’ll see that laid out in detailed terms,” Newsom said.

With an initial projection of COVID-19 patient peaks in mid-May, Governor Newsom also wouldn’t say if that’s changed.

State health officials have said California could be seeing it’s peak now.

The governor noting hospitalization rates increased modestly over the weekend but still remain well below what the state had been bracing for.

“The curve is bending because of you,” Newsom said.

The governor says specifics of the plan to open up California will be announced at his daily press conference at noon Tuesday.

Below is the full statement released by the governors:

COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.

We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.

While each state is building a state-specific plan, our states have agreed to the following principles as we build out a West Coast framework:

Our residents’ health comes first. As home to one in six Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.

Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities —particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.

Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with its local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.

Through quick and decisive action, each of our states has made significant progress in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19 among the broader public. Now, our public health leaders will focus on four goals that will be critical for controlling the virus in the future.

  • Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
  • Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
  • Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.

COVID-19 doesn’t follow state or national boundaries. It will take every level of government, working together, and a full picture of what’s happening on the ground.

In the coming days the governors, their staff and health officials will continue conversations about this regional pact to recovery.

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