Citing soaring COVID-19 case rates and the lack of hospital beds, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has widened the state’s stay-at-home order.
The order is based on a region’s available hospital capacity where ICU capacity falls below 15%. Once a region falls under the intensive care unit threshold, it will have 48 hours to comply with the order and must follow the new rules for at least three weeks. The new stay-at-home order bans nonessential gatherings and requires people to stay at home as much as possible to avoid transmitting the virus.
“The bottom line is if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said at a news conference announcing the new stay-at-home order.
Newsom announced the restrictions Thursday, three days after warning that the state’s hospital system could be overwhelmed by record numbers of COVID-19 patients. The rules will allow people to continue essential activities like going to the doctor, buying groceries and picking up takeout. In addition, the order allows distanced outdoor exercise, like hiking, and outdoor religious ceremonies. Retail businesses will be limited to allowing 20% of their customer capacity inside at any one time.
On Thursday, California reported 18,951 new cases. California set records Wednesday with more than 20,000 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 138,000 diagnostic tests and the total number of patients in California hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 surpassing 8,500.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency targeted safer-at-home order for the city of L.A. late Wednesday evening, effective immediately. The order mirrors that of L.A. County and requires all residents to remain in their homes, ceases the operation of non-essential businesses that require in-person attendance by workers and prohibits gatherings with those outside of one’s household. However, there is a long list of exemptions, including health care operations, grocery stores and restaurants providing takeout or delivery service. Beaches, parks, trails, tennis courts and golf courses will also remain open.