"The bottom line is, if we don't act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed", he said. "We encourage you to take your dog for a walk, we want you to go on a run with a partner in your household", Newsom said, also urging residents to visit parks, go to the beach, take a bike ride, go fishing or meditate.
Newsom warned Monday that he would have to impose new restrictions if the trends continue. At his press briefing this afternoon, Gov. Newsom announced the imposition of more serious stay-at-home orders for the 52 of California's 58 counties in the state's most restrictive purple tier.
The latest constraints, unveiled as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations soared further, will take effect after 48 hours in any of five designated geographic regions where available ICU space falls to 15% of capacity or less, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
While no region has yet met the 15% threshold that would implement the new orders, Newsom said four of the state's five regions, not including the San Francisco Bay Area, are expected to hit 15% in coming days.
The new restrictions will represent the most stringent social-distancing rules anywhere in the United States, and the most far-reaching in California since Newsom imposed his original, first-in-the-nation statewide lockdown in March.
When the orders go into effect, the governor said all bars, hair salons, barbershops, casinos, and indoor and outdoor playgrounds will be mandated to shut down. Schools already with waivers and critical infrastructure such as grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. Retail will be allowed indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores.
The order nearly mirrors L.A. County's modified "Safer at Home" order, which went into effect Monday, though with a few more restrictions, including the closure of personal care services. The order will also temporarily prohibit all non-essential travel, he said. At right is California Health and Human Services Agency Director Mark Ghaly. El Dorado has been lumped in with the greater Sacramento area.
If the region's collective ICU capacity dips to 15% or lower, the 12 counties from San Joaquin County in the north to Kern County in the south will be subject to even stricter coronavirus-prevention limitations than what they now face under state guidelines.
"Before we see February, we could be close to 450,000 Americans that have died from this virus", Redfield said. The Department of Public Health reported 19,437 deaths since the start of the pandemic, including 220 health care workers.
Alex Comisar, a spokesman for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, confirmed Thursday that the city's order, in fact, mirrors the modified "Safer at Home" order in effect countywide.
On Thursday, Newsom reported that hospitalizations for COVID-19 have increased by 86% over the past two weeks. "To slow this disease at this point, limiting certain activities that could easily result in many additional cases, like outdoor dining at restaurants and reducing the numbers of people indoors in other settings, is trying to get our case rate lower so that we can move to a less restrictive tier and reopen more businesses".
The Bay Area has more ICU availability than any other region in the state - it was at 25% capacity Thursday and wasn't expected to hit the threshold until late this month - but the region's health officers made a decision to act now anyway.
- Signal Staff Writer Tammy Murga contributed to this report. Fresno County had only 10 available ICU beds available on Wednesday, out of 149 that are licensed. Health officials also must convince a potentially skeptical public that the vaccine is "safe and effective and necessary", she said.
L.A. County's prediction of the demand for hospital beds across the county.