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Tracking COVID-19 at UCLA

Southern California to enter stay-at-home order after ICU capacity falls below 15%

Southern California will enter the state’s regional stay-at-home order Sunday evening because of dropping intensive care unit capacity. Los Angeles County, which is in the Southern California region, will modify its stay-at-home order to match the state’s regional stay-at-home order. (David Rimer/Daily Bruin staff)

By Bernard Mendez

Dec. 5, 2020 5:13 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 6 at 8:38 p.m.

Southern California will enter the state’s regional stay-at-home order Sunday evening because of dropping intensive care unit capacity and rising COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state will require regions whose remaining ICU capacities drop less than 15% to go into a regional stay-at-home order for at least three weeks. The Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles County, has 12.5% remaining ICU capacity and will enter the state’s regional stay-at-home order Sunday at 11:59 p.m. until at least Dec. 28, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The state’s regional stay-at-home order prohibits gatherings, encourages people to stay home and bans in-person dining at restaurants. Retail and shopping centers are restricted to 20% capacity, while nonessential office work must be done remotely. Religious gatherings and protests must be conducted outdoors. Professional sports can continue holding games without spectators.

The San Joaquin Valley region, which has 8.6% remaining ICU capacity, will also go under the stay-at-home order Sunday evening.

The LA County Department of Public Health announced Saturday that it will modify the county’s existing stay-at-home order to match the state’s regional stay-at-home order. The state’s regional stay-at-home order is similar to LA County’s existing order, but has some additional restrictions, according to the LACDPH.

Erica Pan, the acting CDPH state health officer who issued the regional stay-at-home order, said in a Thursday press release the state may reach full ICU capacity by mid-December, which could overwhelm hospitals and prevent COVID-19 patients from receiving adequate care.

“Because the rate of increases in new cases continues to escalate and threatens to overwhelm the state’s hospital system, further aggressive action is necessary to respond to the quickly evolving situation,” Pan said. “While vaccines are promising future interventions, they are not available to address the immediate risks to healthcare delivery in the current surge.”

[Related link: Southern California nears temporary stay-at-home order as ICU capacity dwindles]

COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates in LA County have increased over the past several weeks. The county reported Friday a record-high 8,860 new COVID-19 cases and a record 2,668 number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

California is expected to receive 327,000 COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer around mid-December, which will go to health care workers, Newsom said at the public briefing Thursday. This winter surge of COVID-19 cases, Newsom added, will likely be the last of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Newsom said at the briefing. “We are a few months away from truly seeing real progress with the vaccine.”

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Bernard Mendez
Mendez was the 2020-2021 News editor. He was previously a staff news reporter for the Science & Health beat and a developer for The Stack. He is also a third-year math student at UCLA.
Mendez was the 2020-2021 News editor. He was previously a staff news reporter for the Science & Health beat and a developer for The Stack. He is also a third-year math student at UCLA.
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