December 5, 2020 at 2:21 pm PST | by Brody Levesque
Southern California ordered into lockdown Sunday

SACRAMENTO – The Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley regions have been ordered to enact a new stay-at-home order beginning Sunday night, December 6, after hospital intensive care beds availability in both regions capacity fell critically low and new COVID-19 cases continued to surge drastically a spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health said.

The Southern California order covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

Currently available ICU capacity by region as of Saturday:

  • Bay Area: 21.7%
  • Greater Sacramento Region: 21.4%
  • Rural Northern California: 24.1%
  • San Joaquin Valley: 8.6%
  • Southern California: 12.5%

“Today we had 22,000 cases, yesterday we had 18,700,” California Health and Human Services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, said in an emailed statement. “At these levels it tells you that the hospitals in just two weeks are going to be much more impacted than they are now.”

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the highest number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reported in a day with 8,860 new cases and 2,668 people currently hospitalized on Friday.

San Francisco Bay Area health officials announced on Friday that they would implement California’s new stay-at-home order early despite having more than 15% capacity in their intensive-care units.

“Today is a really tough day,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed told reporters during a press briefing Friday. “Our hospitalization rates are rising locally, especially in our ICU right now. And just as importantly, hospitalizations are rising everywhere, so if we run out of beds, there won’t be another county that can help us.” 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 44 new deaths and 8,948 new cases of COVID-19. This is the third consecutive day and fourth time this week the County has surpassed the previous all-time high of new cases. Over the last three days there have been a total of 25,402 new cases reported; a 3-day average of 8,467 daily new cases.

There are 2,769 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 23% of these people are in the ICU. This is more people hospitalized for COVID-19 than at any point during the pandemic and the fifth consecutive day the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 surpassed the all-time high.

The State announced a Regional Stay Home Order will go into effect and would remain in effect for at least three weeks in California regions where ICU capacity falls below 15%.  According to the State, as of December 5, the Southern California Region has 12.5% staffed adult ICU capacity remaining. The State advises the Order goes into effect Sunday, December 6 at 11:59 p.m. and remains in effect for at least 3 weeks.

Because L.A. County is in the Southern California Region, the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified to fully align with additional safety measures across sectors and the required effective date. The Order prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes sector operations, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing.  The State Regional Stay at Home Order is similar to the existing County Safer at Home Health Offer with additional sector closings.

The following sectors are required to close or remain closed for all operations: 

  • 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
  • Limited services as defined by the state
  • Live audience sports
  • Amusement parks

The following sectors will have additional modifications in addition to 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Outdoor recreational facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays for recreational visits at campgrounds will not be permitted.
  • Retail: Allowed indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems. 
  • Shopping centers: Allowed indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores and all common areas closed. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Hotels and lodging: Allowed to open for critical infrastructure support only.
  • Restaurants: Allowed only for take-out, pick-up, or delivery.
  • Offices: Allowed remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible. 
  • Places of worship and political expression: Allowed outdoor services only.
  • Entertainment production including professional sports: Allowed operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.
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