SAN DIEGO, CA — Southern California’s Stay-Home orders are likely to extend through the end of the year as overwhelmed hospitals across the region run out of intensive care-unit capacity, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.
Since last week, the 11-county’s regional intensive-care unit capacity still has been considered to be zero, Gov. Gavin Newsom. That means hospitals are quickly running out of resources and staffing to treat their most acute patients. Two weeks into the limited shutdown, COVID-19 transmission rates are still rising across Southern California.
"We are likely, I think it's pretty self-evident, going to need to extend those regional dates," Newsom said. "... Based upon all the data and based upon all these trend lines, it is very likely based on those current trends that we'll need to extend that stay at home order, (which) you recall was a three-week order when we announced it."
The regional stay-at-home order, which forced the closure of in-person dining for the 11-county Southern California region, took effect at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 6, and was originally set to end on Dec. 28. Newsom did not give an indication of exactly when a decision on extending the order will be made, or much long the order will remain in place.
The Southern Califonia region is quickly becoming one of the nation’s hotbeds for the spread of the Coronavirus. According to the New York Times, the case rate per 100,000 residents is 7,520 in San Bernardino; 6,019 in Riverside; 6,214 in Los Angeles; 11,523 in Imperial; 4,055 in Orange; 3,704 in Ventura; 3,790 in San Diego; 2,639 in Inyo; 3,137 in San Luis Obispo; 5,359 in Mono; and 3,318 in Santa Barbara.
The Southern California region covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Most broadly, the order bars gatherings of people from different households.
Under the order, the following businesses/recreational facilities were forced to close:
indoor recreational facilities;
hair salons and barbershops;
personal care services;
museums, zoos, and aquariums;
bars, breweries and distilleries;
family entertainment centers;
cardrooms and satellite wagering;
live audience sports; and
Schools with waivers can remain open, along with "critical infrastructure" and retail stores, which will be limited to 20% of capacity. Restaurants are restricted to takeout and delivery service only. Hotels are allowed to open "for critical infrastructure support only," while churches would be restricted to outdoor-only services. Entertainment production -- including professional sports -- would be allowed to continue without live audiences. Four of the five regions carved out by the state are under stay-at- home orders, covering 98% of the state's population. Only far northern California is not under a stay-at-home order. The order was triggered in each area when the region's ICU bed availability dropped below 15%. As of Monday, the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions both had an official ICU bed availability of 0%. That percentage does not mean that there aren't any ICU beds available, since the state adjusts the number based on the ratio of COVID-19 patients being housed in the units.
City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.