SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Newsom announced a major initiative this week which, in part, deploys strike teams to San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties.

“We’ve heard this term ‘strike team’ for two days now, and really don’t have an understanding of what exactly that means,” said Deputy Royjindar Singh, with Stanislaus County.

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County leaders there say they are looking for answers on what a strike team may look like. They looked to rural Imperial County, which the state identified as a coronavirus hotspot more than a month ago.

The goal there was to reduce transmission rates, augment surge capacity and bring an 80-bed alternate care site to a county needing support staff at overwhelmed hospitals. It’s the same support leaders in Stanislaus County say they need now.

“Two of our hospitals have asked for additional staffing. That comes to the Office of Emergency Services and gets funneled up to the state and potentially up to the federal government,” said Singh.

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County leaders say they’ve looked to see if deploying these strike teams in Imperial County worked. The state says, “yes.”

After strike teams were sent in, the state says the 14- day case rate dropped by 63% from more than 830 to just over 300. State leaders say the strike teams helped with contact tracing, and managing outbreaks at workplaces.

CHHS Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly says the state will have a hyper-focus on these eight hotspot counties but didn’t specify exactly how the strike teams will be used.

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“We believe in the next many weeks, with these efforts just like we did in Imperial County, and that strong partnership to reduce transmission rate, we expect these next four, six, eight weeks to focus on the Central Valley.”

Marissa Perlman