Gov. Newsom says power outages 'very likely' through Wednesday, 5 counties added to CA watch list

Newsom signed an emergency order Monday morning to free up energy capacity amid record heat
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the state's oppressive heat wave and revealed updates to the coronavirus county watch list in a briefing on Monday.

The state's power grid is about 4,400 megawatts short of the energy needed to provide uninterrupted power service, Newsom said Monday. Despite several state actions to respond to the urgent shortage, Newsom said California will "very likely" experience intermittent outages through Wednesday evening.

"Let me just make this crystal clear: We failed to predict and plan for these shortages and that is unacceptable," Newsom said.

Newsom announced he had signed an "emergency proclamation to free up energy capacity" and therefore reduce the need for rolling blackouts. The move allows "energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times during the energy emergency," according to a press release.

HEAT WAVE: Record-breaking heat reported in the Central Valley, no let up in sight

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced the COVID-19 watch list was finally unfrozen after a weeks-long data backlog.

Five counties have been added to the list since July 25, when the data glitch prompted the list to be frozen: Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mendocino and Sierra counties.

Santa Cruz county was removed from the list on August 14. Newsom added that San Diego County is also expected to be removed from the list as soon as Tuesday.

Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Merced and Madera counties remained on the watch list.

WATCH LIST: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse

As of Monday morning, California has 621,562 known COVID-19 cases and has seen 11,224 deaths.

State hospitalizations and ICU admissions continued their declining trend on Monday. Newsom said that while those statistics are encouraging the state's positivity rate needs to be below 5% before changes could be made to state orders.

"People are still dying from this pandemic," the governor said. "Please, please take it seriously."

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