California Governor Gavin Newsom
Rich Pedroncelli | Pool | AP
California is introducing a limited home residence regime in some regions of the state where Covid-19 cases are burdening intensive care units, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.
The state is divided into five regions – Bay Area, Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. If ICU’s remaining capacity falls below 15% in a region, it will trigger a three-week home order, Newsom said.
The order requires the temporary closure of bars, wineries, personal services, hairdressing salons and hairdressers. Personal services include businesses such as nail salons, tattoo parlors and body care products according to the state’s website. Schools that meet state health requirements and critical infrastructure can remain open, retail stores can operate at 20% capacity, and restaurants can offer pick-up and drop-off options, the Democratic governor said.
So far, no region has triggered a stay-at-home order, although all parts of the state are expected sometime in December. Newsom said four of the five regions will have less than 15% ICU capacity “in one or two days.” The Bay Area is projected to reach this milestone by mid-to-late December.
“The point is that if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed. If we don’t act now, there will continue to be an increase in mortality rates, more lives will be lost,” Newsom told a news conference.
Roughly 8,208 people were hospitalized at Covid-19 in California on Wednesday, based on the weekly average, according to a CNBC analysis compiled by the COVID Tracking Project led by Atlantic journalists. This figure represents an increase of more than 35% from a week ago.
“We are currently in the most dangerous period of the pandemic for our state and region,” London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco, said in a tweet after the governor’s announcement.
“Cases and hospital care are on the rise. Unless we get immediate control over things, we can quickly run out of hospital beds in the Bay Area,” Breed said.
Under the state’s four-tier reopening plan, the majority of the state’s population will remain below the narrowest “most widespread” stratum. Thursday’s announcement would “impose restrictions in a“ much broader, much more comprehensive way, ”Newsom said.
The new measures are intended to prevent Californian people from mixing with people who do not live in the household and to hold gatherings outside rather than indoors. However, people are still encouraged to walk with their dog, move, sled or walk on the beach, Newsom said.
“This is not a permanent state. This has been predicted by many,” Newsom said, adding that this will be the “final wave” of the epidemic as vaccinations get closer to licensing.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
– CNBC Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to the report.