California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) warned on Monday that if the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to quickly rise, projections show the state's intensive care units could reach capacity by mid-December.
Because of the risk of overwhelming parts of the state's health care system, Newsom said, he may soon have to impose a "more dramatic" and "arguably drastic" stay-at-home order for certain areas, so California can get its coronavirus numbers back down. The state, he said, will not "just sit back" and plans to "improve upon our existing efforts."
There are 7,733 ICU beds in California, and 75 percent of them are now occupied. Newsom said 1,812 of the ICU beds are filled by coronavirus patients, the Los Angeles Times reports. As of Sunday, there were 7,787 coronavirus patients hospitalized in California, an increase of about 89 percent from two weeks ago. Over the last week, California has averaged 13,937 new cases per day, nearly a 75 percent increase from two weeks ago. More than 19,100 Californians have died from the coronavirus.
Los Angeles County has placed new capacity limits at stores and banned most gatherings of people not from the same household, and this had to be done because "we are at the most difficult moment in the pandemic," L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "We don't really have any choice but to use all the tools at hand to stop the surge. Until there is a vaccine, each of us needs to protect all of those around us — both those we know and those we don't. The virus is running rampant through almost every part of our county."
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