Right before the new year, December 6th to be exact, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a three-week-long stay at home order, which has now expired. Unfortunately, since Orange County and most other areas in Southern California have struggled with intensive care unit capacity, health officials have since extended the stay at home orders for the time being.
As of right now, the extension is not official, but recently Governor Newsom suggested that the new announcement is coming shortly.
Truthfully, the extension doesn’t come as much of a surprise since COVID-19 relates cases have continued to rise in California, and ICU capacities have been pushed to their limits.
Over 20,000 people are currently hospitalized across the state of California due to COVID-19, with nearly 5,000 of those people being treated in intensive care units.
In Orange County, the Orange County Health Agency reported 2,144 new COVID-19 cases as of last week. 2,031 of which are hospitalized in Orange County, and a total of 453 being held in intensive care units. In fact, the Orange County Health Agency currently lists the county’s intensive care unit capacity at zero percent.
Irvine, specifically, has been doing quite a bit better than other cities in Southern California, only seeing 80 new cases over the Holiday season, with zero new COVID-19 related deaths.
Back to the stay-at-home order extension, which is expected to be announced any day now, we can expect that, once again, indoor spaces such as restaurants, fitness centers, and other similar businesses and public areas will be forced to shut the doors for the time being.
When the order is eventually lifted depends on a few different factors, including ICU capacity and admissions, COVID-19 transmission rates, and a handful of other key metrics.
One of the most important factors that the state and health officials are looking at is the availability of ICU beds. According to the California Health and Human Services, should the percentage of available ICU beds go above 15%, then we can expect the order to be lifted.
With that being said, since about two weeks ago, both the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions both hit 0% availability and have remained at that level since.
On top of that, in Southern California, we’ve been averaging approximately 130 new positive tests each day for every 100,000 residents, with experts stating that 12% of those people will end up in the hospital within two weeks.
The four-tier, color-coded system that was used earlier on in the year has lost quite a bit of its luster in terms of importance, but California remains in the purple tier, which receives the strictest rules and guidelines.
At the moment, it appears that the latest stay at home order is primarily because hospitals are running out of staff and resources and are being totally overwhelmed.
For the time being, we each have to do our part and adhere to social distancing guidelines and help keep our families and communities safe.