Southern California stay-at-home extension ‘likely’ with L.A.’s ICU availability at 0% amid COVID catastrophe

Nancy Dillon, New York Daily News

Southern California’s stay-at-home order appeared poised for extension Monday as Los Angeles County’s ICU availability officially stood at zero, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

In a sobering video address, Newsom said 96% of Los Angeles County hospitals were diverting ambulances at some point Saturday due to the overflow of patients seeking emergency care.

On average, L.A. County hospitals spent 16 hours Saturday on diversion, he said.

And while case rates seemed to be “plateauing” in a majority of the state, they remained on the upswing in Southern California, particularly in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, he said.

“It’s likely those stay-at-home orders will be extended,” he warned the region, saying the final decision was expected by Tuesday.

Newsom said 33,170 new COVID cases were reported in the state over last 24 hours, with the 7-day average hitting 37,661.

California topped 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases on Christmas Eve.

Newsom said Monday he expects another surge “stacked on top” of prior surges as infections linked to holiday festivities start showing up in testing and emergency departments.

Southern California’s regional stay-at-home order started at midnight Dec. 7 and was set to expire Dec. 28.

The order barred gatherings of people from different households and covered the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

It also re-shuttered hair salons, museums, zoos, outdoor restaurant dining and other recreational facilities.

Retail stores were limited to 20% capacity as churches were restricted to outdoor services only.