Southern California ICU capacity hits 13.1%, likely triggering stay-at-home – Health News Today

Southern California will likely soon be under a stay-at-home order, after state officials reported late Friday, Dec. 4, that the region’s intensive care unit bed capacity fell below 15%.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in an announcement Thursday, said the state would enact such orders by region when available ICU bed availability fell to 15% or lower. On Friday evening, the California Department of Public Health announced that intensive care bed capacity in Southern California was 13.1%, down from 20.6% the day prior.

The new state order goes into effect at 12:59 p.m. Saturday and gives local health officials 24 hours to implement the regional stay-at-home restrictions after falling below the 15% mark. If  Southern California remains below that threshold in Saturday’s data, it will have until Sunday to enact the new restrictions.

The Southern California region includes Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Luis Obispo and San Diego counties.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia reacted to Southern California falling below 15% by urging folks not to brush off the pandemic.

“This is a health emergency and we are reaching dangerous levels of ICU capacity,’ Garcia said in a written statement late Friday. “We are already working to put in place the Governor’s stay at home order. Folks need to take this hospital crisis seriously.”

The stay-at-home order will last at least three weeks. Among other restrictions, the new order will:

  • Prohibit any and all gatherings with people from other households;
  • Ban restaurants from offering in-person dining;
  • Close amusement parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, wineries, bars and breweries;
  • Close personal care services such as nail and hair salons; and
  • Cap retail capacity at 20%.

Protests and religious services will still be allowed outdoors, and schools that have previously reopened for in-person instruction may remain open.

After the order has been in place for three weeks, state officials will review on a twice-weekly basis Southern California’s projected intensive care bed capacity for the following four weeks. When the projected capacity is once again at least 15%, the regional order will lift.

At that point, the state’s tiered system for managing the virus would go back into effect. As of Friday, every county in the Southern California region except for Inyo County was in the “purple” tier, the state’s most restrictive.

As far as the regional stay-at-home order goes, Los Angeles County had already implemented some of the restrictions, including banning in-person dining and closing card rooms and playgrounds. Pasadena, which operates its own health department, did not immediately align with the county order, allowing outdoor dining to continue in the city.