California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a new regional stay-at-home order Thursday, days after he said most of the state’s intensive care beds could be over capacity within weeks as coronavirus case numbers surge.
The order, which will be applied by region, will require bars, wineries, hair salons and other nonessential businesses across five areas to close for three weeks once a region’s intensive care capacity falls below 15 percent, he said.
Our ICUs are climbing quickly toward their capacity. Our death rate is rising.
To slow the surge of #COVID19 and save lives, CA is introducing a Regional Stay-At-Home Order.
Regions where ICU capacity⁰fall below 15% will be placed into this Stay-at-Home Order ⁰for 3 weeks.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 3, 2020
Statewide travel will also be temporarily halted, Newsom said, but schools will remain open, and he encouraged people to visit parks and exercise.
Restaurants can continue to serve takeout and delivery, while retail shops can operate at 20 percent capacity, he said.
Four of the five regions are expected to fall below the 15 percent threshold within days, he said. Only one — the San Francisco Bay area — will likely come later.
In a stark message, Newsom said that the effects of Thanksgiving travel and celebrations still haven’t been felt and that residents should expect a “surge on top of a surge” within weeks.
“We really need to step up,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to stem the tide.”
The new protocols are more targeted than a statewide order that he imposed in March, which shuttered nonessential businesses for unspecified periods and required people across the state’s 58 counties to leave their homes only when necessary.
Over the last two weeks, California has had one of the most significant surges in new cases in the country, according to an NBC News analysis. The data show that new cases have grown by 84 percent.
State data show that on Tuesday, more than 20,000 new cases were recorded in California, a figure nearly twice the summertime peak of about 12,000.
Nearly 10,000 people are in hospitals, more than 2,100 of them in intensive care beds, according to the data.
Over the previous 48 hours, Newsom said, more than 220 people died from the coronavirus. One month ago, he said, the number of people who died in a 24-hour period was 14.