By: Janet W. Lee
California has extended regional stay-at-home orders for Southern California for at least three weeks, it was announced Tuesday during a livestream COVID-19 update from the state’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly.
“Many of you are tired,” Ghaly acknowledged, but said “Do as much as you can. Celebrate virtually.”
The extended stay-at-home order means that restaurants in Southern California will continue to offer only takeout and delivery, and hair and nail salons will remain closed. Stores will remain open under capacity restrictions. Productions may continue, but the Los Angeles Dept. of Public Health has asked productions to strongly consider pausing during the COVID-19 surge in the county.
In addition, anyone who travels outside of Los Angeles County must quarantine for 10 days upon return, it was announced Monday.
“We could see the worst of it in early January,” Ghaly said.
“The current orders will remain until ICU capacity projections are above or equal to 15%,” he said, meaning that if the situation improved quickly, the stay-at-home order could be lifted. However, officials are instead preparing for a post-New Year’s surge in hospitalizations.
On Monday, governor Gavin Newsom said that it is “clear and understandable” that stay-at-home orders may be extended. He added that future restrictions for Bay Area and Sacramento will be announced in the new year, once current orders end on Jan. 1.
Newsom continued, sharing that L.A. County had 12,000 to 15,000 cases per day in the last few weeks, taking its toll on hospitals, 96% of which were on diversion at some point on Saturday. He announced that the state has embedded a team in the country to encourage load leveling across hospitals and that over 1,028 staff have been deployed in 116 emergency facilities statewide.
Regarding vaccines, Newsom detailed the state’s partnership with CVS and Walgreens to provide them to residents and staff working in skilled nursing, assisted living, residential care and other long-term care facilities.
Former state restrictions were announced Dec. 3, three days after warning that the state’s hospital system could be overwhelmed by record numbers of COVID patients. The rules allowed people to continue essential activities like going to the doctor, buying groceries and picking up takeout. The order also allowed distance outdoor exercises, including hiking and outdoor religious ceremonies. Retail businesses were limited to allowing 20% of their in-store capacities.