COVID-19 cases in California are soaring as the new shutdown approaches

In Southern California, the lack of intensive beds has entered the zone, which, if it persists, triggers the state’s order to stay home as early as Sunday.

On Friday night, the California Department of Public Health released new figures showing that Southern California as well as the San Joaquin Valley now have a critical shortage of intensive emergency beds and less than 15% capacity is available in all areas.

This percentage is the threshold by which the state orders a regional home order within 24 hours, which closes outdoor restaurant meals, hairdressers, nail salons, playgrounds, card rooms, museums, zoos, aquariums and wineries, limits retail capacity to 20%. ra.

Friday numbers do not trigger a stay-at-home order. But if the percentages remain below 15% on Saturday, the order will be triggered as early as Sunday.

The current available ICU capacity by region on Friday night:

· Bay area: 21.2%
· Greater Sacramento Region: 21.4%
· Northern California Rural Area: 20.9%
· San Joaquin Valley: 14.1%
· Southern California: 13.1%

The news came as California and Los Angeles counties set records every day on single-day coronavirus cases reported.

According to A Times County County aggregation, 22,300 cases of coronavirus were reported in California on Friday alone, surpassing Monday’s record of 21,848 cases. The Times counted 204 deaths on Friday, the second-highest number of pandemics in a single day.

California reported a total of 1.3 million cases of coronavirus and more than 19,700 deaths.

LA County broke one-day coronavirus case records in three of the last four days of the week. On Friday, 8,562 cases were reported, according to The Times aggregation, breaking the record on Thursday when 7,713 were reported.

There were also 56 deaths registered in LA County, a one-day total that has not been seen since Aug. 19.

The severely affected county has reached its fifth daily record of hospital care for COVID-19, with 2,769 people currently in hospital. Nearly a quarter of these are in the intensive care unit, where the number has tripled in the last six weeks.

The state reported an average of more than 17,800 new cases per day last week, according to data compiled by The Times. This quadruples the average of election day and dwarfs even the darkest days of the summer surge, when the rolling average has never exceeded 10,000.

To put that number into perspective, 119,050 Californians have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past seven days – almost the same as everyone in Berkeley being infected.

The unprecedented number of cases is not just a by-product of accelerated testing.

The average rate at which coronavirus tests are positive has risen positively and has reached its highest level since May.

As of Friday, the positive recovery rate for coronavirus test results last week was 8.5%, more than three times the value in early October.

The test’s positivity rate is now worse than at any point in California’s summer coronavirus wave, which was the deadliest in the state. Epidemiologists say the increasing positivity rate, which occurs as the number of tests performed increases, proves that the spread of the virus is spreading.

With historically high case numbers showing no signs of abating, California officials are turning their attention to the state’s hospital system, which has long been warned, that there is a danger that they will be flooded with a wave of coronavirus patients.

Nationwide, 9,065 Californians were hospitalized with a confirmed case from Thursday – the highest value ever and almost double the number seen in two weeks.

“The bottom line is that if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday. “If we don’t act now, the mortality rate will continue to rise and more lives will be lost.”

The state has also experienced more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the past four days. This has not happened since the beginning of September.

If the current mortality rate continues, the number of deaths would exceed 20,000 by the beginning of next week.

“This is the hardest moment since the start of the pandemic,” Newsom said. “This is the time … set aside your doubts, set aside your skepticism, set aside your cynicism, set aside your ideology, set aside all aspects except: Life is in balance. Life is lost unless we do more than ever. “

Faced with the relentless acceleration of COVID-19, the state exerted an emergency brake on Thursday – announcing new and far-reaching restrictions on the regional burden on critical care services.

For the new nation-state, officials carved California into five regions: Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley, the Gulf, Great Sacramento, and rural Northern California.

Additional restrictions – such as the closure of hair and nail salons, playgrounds, zoos, museums, aquariums and wineries; and requiring restaurants to return only to the buy-out service – would be achieved if the capacity of an intensive care unit in a region falls below 15%.

As soon as possible, the state may prescribe a stay-at-home order for any region on Sunday.

ICU capacity is not a static number, as hospitals can increase the number of beds available if needed.

Although their regional ICU capacity has not yet fallen below the designated level, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, as well as Berkeley city health officials, announced on Friday that they would proactively enforce further restrictions.

“We can’t wait until we drive off the cliff to apply the emergency brake,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer. “We are aware that state-ordered closures will have a profound impact on our local businesses. However, by acting quickly, we can save lives and reduce the length of time restrictions remain in place, allowing businesses and activities to open faster. “

The new closures are scheduled to take effect in most parts of the Bay Area from Sunday and will remain in effect until January 4th.

The recent state mandate met with shock in some situations and controversy in others.

Some have questioned the regional approach – saying it makes no sense to potentially throw the hammer at a county because of the circumstances of its neighbors. Others themselves have rejected the restrictions as arbitrary and unscientific.

“The governor has been pushing for the ability of our residents to provide for themselves and their families for weeks, and without any evidence, this has slowed the spread,” Michelle Steel, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement Friday. “The evidence we’ve seen is more depression, more closed businesses and less work for those who need it most.”

Steel, a Republican recently elected to Congress, added that “the governor and public health officials must focus on protecting the most vulnerable in our community and stop these groundbreaking orders that are hurting us all”.

LA County Superintendent Hilda Solis, on the other hand, praised Newsom “for taking this difficult but necessary step to drive the COVID-19 curve once again, and perhaps for the last time.”

“The spread of COVID-19 is not limited to the borders of our county and is killing people at a terrible rate across the state and country,” he said in a statement. “Although we are more physically isolated than we have in recent years, we can still come together as a California to protect the health of our neighbors.”

The cadre of state legislators also sent a letter to Newsom on Friday, asking him to reconsider closing the public outdoor playgrounds under the new order.

“While we need to take due account of best practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we must also ensure that children throughout the state are not unfairly deprived of opportunities for outdoor access and play,” the letter, a dozen lawmakers said. . “The widespread closure of playgrounds is unfairly negatively affecting children and families.”

Newsom expressed hope that this new shutdown would be the last time such measures prove necessary, especially given that the state expects to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine within weeks.

Meanwhile, experts and officials are urging residents to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from infection – including wearing public masks, washing hands regularly and staying home as much as possible; and avoiding physical distance and gatherings with those from whom they do not live.

“We will live beyond that. This is the final wave, ”Newsom said. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel with these vaccines, but we need to take this moment seriously.”