California is preparing to issue new stay-at-home orders based on hospital capacity in five regions of the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.
The orders will be issued once a region’s hospital intensive care unit availability drops below 15%. The orders, which will last three weeks, will mandate the closure of all non-essential businesses, including indoor dining and beauty salons, the Democrat said.
Mr. Newsom said he expects to issue the orders for Southern California, Northern California, Greater Sacramento, and the central San Joaquin Valley in the next week. A stay-at-home order for the San Francisco Bay Area will likely come in mid-late December if current trends continue, he said.
“If we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Mr. Newsom said, adding that he was “pulling the emergency brake” on the state’s reopening plan to stem the tide of Covid-19 spread.
Mr. Newsom said schools that have received a waiver to open will not be affected by the new order, which is more targeted than one implemented in the spring. Retail stores can stay open with 20% maximum capacity and restaurants can provide take-out and delivery.
Bars and personal service business, including hair salons, will temporarily close and nonessential travel will be restricted.
California has experienced a steady increase in new Covid-19 infections and deaths since early November. On Wednesday the state reported more than 18,500 new cases and 133 deaths. On Tuesday more than 20,000 new cases were reported, the highest single day since the pandemic started, according to state health data.
Mr. Newsom said in the last 14 days, nearly 1,000 Californians have lost their lives due to the pathogen.
To date California has recorded more than 1.2 million cases and more than 19,000 deaths.
In Los Angeles County, the state’s largest, health officials said Tuesday the single day positivity rate for tests was 13%. One week earlier, it was 7%.
Authorities in L.A., where about one quarter of California’s 40 million people live, issued a stay-at-home order and a ban on outdoor dining late last month.