33 Million in California Under Stay-at-Home Order

Ralph Ellis

December 08, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

More than 33 million Californians are now under a shelter-at-home order that could extend through Christmas.

With California hospitals straining to handle a surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a new stay-at-home order that would be imposed on regions with a high ICU capacity. Much of Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley hit that mark over the weekend, triggering the governor’s orders.

The San Francisco Bay Area also began a new lockdown Sunday evening, although that order came from local officials, not the governor, Reuters reported.

Residents should stay in their homes except for essential activities if they live in one of five regions where the hospital intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%, Newsom said. The order would be in effect for 3 weeks.

"We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California's hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks," Newsom said in an address posted on Twitter.

Only 1,567 ICU beds were available on Sunday, a decrease of 61from the previous day, the state’s COVID dashboard said.

More than 30,000 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in California on Sunday, officials said. The state has seen more than 19,800 deaths, officials said.

For purposes of the new rule, the five regions are the Bay Area, Southern California, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, and Northern California.

Under the stay-at-home order, bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons, and barber shops must close.

But the order doesn’t apply to schools that are already open, critical infrastructure, retail establishments, and restaurants. Retails establishments must observe a 20% capacity and restaurants can only do take-out and delivery.

Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order last spring, and it apparently tamped down the number of cases. But after the order was lifted, coronavirus cases began climbing again.

On Sunday, the average daily test positivity rate over the last 14 days was 8.1%, up 2.6 % from 14 days ago.

"We do not anticipate having to do this once again," Newsom said on Thursday. "There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are a few months away from truly seeing real progress with the vaccine. We have distribution, we have accessibility, we have availability."


Twitter: California Governor

California COVID dashboard

LA Times. "Newsom orders new limits on California businesses and activities as COVID-19 soars"