Regional Stay-at-Home Order Triggered in Southern California and San Joaquin Valley Amid Declining ICU Capacity

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The California Department of Public Health released on Friday a map of the five regions being measured, noting that the order is triggered within 24 hours of when a region reaches less than 15 percent ICU capacity.

A regional state stay-at-home order will go into effect for Southern California and San Joaquin Valley at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday amid rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

State officials confirmed the order with The Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press on Saturday afternoon.

The California Department of Public Health reported on Friday that ICU capacity dropped to 13.1 percent in the region and that the order goes into effect within 24 hours after a region reaches less than 15 percent capacity. Alongside Southern California and San Joaquin Valley, the regions being measured are Northern California, Bay Area and Greater Sacramento.

All the affected regions will be identified on covid19.ca.gov. In a message to all Californians, the order noted that the number of new cases per day has increased by 112 percent, while the rise of hospital admissions continues to rise dramatically. There are currently 1,286,577 active COVID-19 cases in California, according to the CA Department of Public Health.

"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," wrote acting public state health officer Erica S. Pan in the order. "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."

Under the new order, bars, wineries, nail salons, hair salons and other personal care services must close, while schools will remain open. Retail stores will be limited to 20 percent capacity. Restaurants may stay open for takeout and delivery but no outdoor or indoor dining is allowed until further instruction. Private gatherings of any size will be prohibited and nonessential travel statewide will be restricted.

While in effect, the CA Department of Public Health notes that certain sectors allowed to stay open will require 100 percent masking and social distancing. The order will remain in place for three weeks in regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday the structure of the regional stay at home order, following 20, 000 new coronavirus cases in California the day before. He noted that after the three-week period state health officials will evaluate ICU capacity and transmission rates to project at least one month ahead to determine if the order can be lifted.