State health officials announce regional stay-at-home orders depending on ICU capacity

Coronavirus

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — California health officials on Thursday announced regional stay-at-home orders based on a region’s available ICU capacity in an effort to curb soaring coronavirus cases.

The orders go into effect after 48 hours in regions with less than 15 percent ICU availability, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference. No regions currently meet that threshold, but some are expected to as early as this week.

Once that threshold is met, a region will be under stay-at-home status for at least three weeks, until projections for its ICU capacity for the next four weeks are above or equal to 15 percent.

The orders would prohibit travel except as necessary for permitted activities, and close operations for certain sectors. They require 100 percent masking and physical distancing.

“Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible and minimize mixing to reduce unnecessary exposure, while still being able to do important things like go to the doctor, buy groceries, pick up takeout, go on a hike, or worship outdoors,” health officials said in a news release.

Schools currently open could remain open under the orders. Retailers could operate indoors, but would have to limit indoor capacity to 20 percent.

The following operations would close once a region triggers a stay-at-home order: Indoor and outdoor playgrounds; indoor recreational facilities; hair salons and barbershops; personal care services; museums, zoos and aquariums; movie theaters; wineries; bars, breweries and distilleries; family entertainment centers; cardrooms and satellite wagering; casinos; limited services; live audience sports; and amusement parks.

And the following sectors would have to make additional modifications:

  • Outdoor Recreational Facilities — Allow outdoor operation only, without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted. 
  • Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent capacity, with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.  
  • Shopping Centers: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent capacity, with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems. 
  • Hotels and Lodging: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only. 
  • Restaurants: Allow only for takeout or pick-up. 
  • Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.  
  • Places of Worship: Allow outdoor services only. 
  • Entertainment Production including Professional Sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged. 

COVID numbers surged both state and country-wide in recent weeks, topping earlier highs and leading to widespread concern over packed hospitals and rising death counts. The Associated Press reported hospitalizations statewide have increased 89 percent in the past 14 days.

“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. “By invoking a stay-at-home order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent, we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system.”

Still have questions? Read more about statewide COVID-19 restrictions here.

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