CALIFORNIA — A significant surge in coronavirus cases prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue a series of new restrictions last week. Over the weekend, that upward trajectory continued as cases topped 15,400 on Saturday, pushing the state to the grim milestone of 1.1 million cases.
The weekend's record high numbers coincided with the beginning of California's monthlong curfew for 94 percent of Californians living in purple tier counties.
The curfew — from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. — prohibits movement, gatherings and nonessential businesses to be open during the late-night hours.
In the Southland, officials doubled down on such restrictions as cases continue to multiply.
Los Angeles County delivered on its promise to shut down in-person outdoor dining for three weeks as cases exceeded a five-day average of 4,000 on Sunday. The new order begins Wednesday at 10 p.m.
Restaurants throughout the county will be forced to close down dining operations for the first time since May. Eateries can still offer takeout, drive-thru and delivery services, while bars can continue retail operations.
And if cases continue to stack, county officials warned that a Targeted Safer at Home Order would also be issued for three weeks if the five-day average breaks 4,500 cases or hospitalizations reach 2,000 per day.
The order would "offer additional restrictions while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes."
In San Francisco, city officials expected the region to fall back to the state's most restrictive purple tier this week as cases increased. Newsom announced last week that counties could be moved to a new tier assignment any day of the week instead of weekly.
San Diego County also saw an all-new high of COVID-19 virus cases Saturday as officials recorded 1,478 new infections. Saturday was the 11th consecutive day in which more than 600 new cases were recorded.
And the effects of tightening restrictions were felt statewide as grocery stores in many counties experienced the impact of panic shoppers once again as toilet paper and cleaning supplies aisles were ransacked once again.
Some decried the new restrictions Saturday, with nearly 400 hitting the streets in Huntington Beach to protest the new curfew. Many self-proclaimed "curfew breakers" danced in a huddle without masks while waving American flags while chanting "USA," Saturday night as the curfew began at 10 p.m.
Police said only one arrest was made but that, for the most part, the demonstration was peaceful.
Along with the new statewide curfew that will last until Dec. 21, if it's not extended, Newsom also issued tighter restrictions on face coverings, ordering all Californians to wear face coverings when outside their homes.
State officials also issued a travel advisory earlier in November, urging all Californians to stay home during the Thanksgiving holiday week. Those who do travel were encouraged to quarantine for 14 days.
"As we modify our Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, we are reminded of the many families who will miss their loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19. We send wishes for healing and peace," County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Sunday.
According to Bloomberg, only 10 countries across the globe have more cases than the Golden State, where case numbers outpaced both Mexico and Germany.
"We are now moving backward, not forward," Newsom said at a news conference last week.
California is now undoubtedly in the midst of its steepest case increase yet, with daily case numbers exceeding the worst days of the summer. Now, a staggering 41 counties sit in the restrictive tier.
"Every age group, every demographic, racial, ethnic, in every part of the state we are seeing case rates increase," Newsom said. "We are seeing community spread broadly."
California recorded 14,319 new coronavirus cases Sunday, adding to the statewide total of 1,102,033. The state reported 33 deaths, and the total death toll was 18,676. Hospitalizations were up 2.9 percent on Sunday from the previous day, adding 173 new patients. There were 5,918 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday.
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