Governor Newsom announces upcoming Regional California Stay at Home Orders

Yesterday, December 3, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new Regional Stay at Home Order that will go into effect if intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity drops below 15 percent in a region.

As of Friday afternoon, December 4, 2020, this order is not currently in effect. The state predicts the Southern California region will be under these restrictions in “early December,” as soon as the Southern California region reaches 15 percent intensive care unit capacity or below. The Southern California region includes the following counties: Orange, Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), current projections show that without additional intervention to slow the spread of COVID-19, the number of available adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the State of California will be at capacity in mid-December. This is a sign that the rate of rise in cases, if it continues, is at risk of overwhelming the ability of California hospitals to deliver healthcare to its residents suffering from COVID-19 and from other illnesses requiring hospital care. ICU beds are a critical resource for individuals who need the most advanced support and care and the ability to add additional ICU capacity is limited by the lack of available ICU nurses and physicians as a result of the nationwide surge in hospitalizations and ICU admissions. 

Because the rate of increases in new cases continues to escalate and threatens to overwhelm the state’s hospital system, further aggressive action is necessary to respond to the quickly evolving situation. While vaccines are promising future interventions, they are not available to address the immediate risks to healthcare delivery in the current surge. The immediate aggressive institution of additional non-pharmaceutical public health interventions is critical to avoid further overwhelming hospitals and to prevent the need to ration care.

Governor Newsom announces

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

The Regional Stay At Home Order will go into effect within 24 hours in regions with less than 15 percent ICU availability. It prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, which will be allowed to operate at 20 percent capacity, and requires 100 percent masking and physical distancing in all others. Worship and political expression are permitted outdoors, consistent with existing guidance for those activities. Restaurant takeout and food delivery will continue to be permitted.

The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks and, after that period, will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial three-week period. 

Click here for more information about the order.