Gov. Newsom expects to extend 2 regions' stay-at-home orders amid COVID-19 surge

Gov. Gavin Newsom expects California to extend regional stay-at-home orders in two large swaths of the state, he said in a press conference Monday.

The stay-at-home order in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California would have been eligible to expire as early as Monday, but with ICU capacity at 0% in both regions, the restrictions are set to be extended. Newsom said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly would likely make the announcement on Tuesday.

The Greater Sacramento area could see restrictions ease as early as Friday and the Bay Area could exit the order as of Jan. 8 if ICU capacity rebounds. Those two regions could also see their stay-at-home orders extended if intensive care capacity remains critical.

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A holiday surge in COVID-19 cases will likely lead to an extension of a stay-at-home order for the San Joaquin Valley.

Of the five California regions, only Northern California is out of a stay-at-home order.

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The latest ICU numbers by region are:

  • Northern California: 29.3%

  • Bay Area: 9.5%

  • Greater Sacramento: 16.6%

  • San Joaquin Valley: 0%

  • Southern California: 0%

In most -- but not all -- California counties, the rate of increasing hospitalizations is starting to plateau, the governor said. However, he's concerned we'll see another spike in a few weeks due to gatherings and travel around the holidays.

He pointed to cell phone data and images of full airplanes over the past week as signs of what's to come.

"That only suggests that we are going to see an increase in cases across this country, not just in the state of California, as it relates to these travel advisories that were not heeded clearly by everybody," Newsom said.

The counties that are most overloaded at the moment are Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside, Newsom said.

As far as who is being hit hardest, 65% of ICU admissions in California and 80% of those killed by the virus are 61 and older.
"Sixty-one is not that old," Newsom reminded the public.

The state has opened alternative care sites around the state to help decompress overloaded hospitals. As of Monday, 67 patients are being treated at these sites.

The state reported more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases Sunday and 237 additional deaths -- some of the highest numbers since the beginning of the pandemic.
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