California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today a new stay-at-home order that will go into effect based on regional intensive care unit hospital capacity, saying he expects it to go into effect throughout Northern California — including Humboldt County — in the coming days.
Describing the order as an “emergency brake” designed to flatten the curve of soaring infection and hospitalization rates, Newsom said it will go into effect when cumulative ICU hospital capacity drops below 15 percent in a given region and remain in place for at least three weeks. He said he expects that to happen in Northern California in the next “day or two” or next week at the latest.
Where implemented, the order will temporarily close bars, wineries, personal service salons, hair salons and barbershops, while retail stores will be limited to 20 percent capacity and restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery only. Schools that have a waiver will be allowed to remain open to in-person instruction, he said, and critical infrastructure will remain open. The order will also temporarily prohibit all non-essential travel, he said.
With most of the state likely facing additional restrictions in the coming days, Newsom urged residents to take care of their mental and physical health.
"We encourage you to take your dog for a walk, we want you to go on a run with a partner in your household," Newsom said, also urging residents to visit parks, go to the beach, take a bike ride, go fishing or meditate. "We encourage that. We encourage those activities."
Asked how the state might approach counties unwilling to enforce its new health orders, Newsom indicated noncompliance could jeopardize COVID-19 relief funds being dispersed to counties.
"If you're unwilling to enforce the rules ... we're happy to redirect those dollars to counties that feel differently," he said.
The state confirmed
12,221 new cases yesterday as hospitalizations continue to increase, with 8,240 COVID-19 patients, including 1,890 in intensive care, throughout the state. Locally, Humboldt County is in the midst of a spike that has seen 265 new cases confirmed
over the past 11 days, which have seen a series of record setting
days and weeks. A state database
indicates five patients are currently hospitalized locally with the disease, with another five patients suspected to be COVID-positive but awaiting test results.
Newsom also discussed the state's efforts to begin distributing approved vaccines in the coming weeks, saying he expects the state to receive 327,000 doses — enough to treat 163,500 people, as the vaccines requires two doses to be effective — between Dec. 12 and Dec. 15, which will be given to critical healthcare workers and long-term care residents. (People wanting to see the state's detailed plan for this and subsequent vaccine dispersals can be found at www.covid19.ca.gov
"Help is on the way," the governor said after referring to the state's current infection spike as "the final surge." "There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are a few months away from seeing real progress with the vaccine. ... We all need to step up. We need to see this moment head on. ... This is the moment to stem the tide, to bend the curve.
"Lives are in the balance," Newsom continued. "Lives will be lost unless we do more than we've ever done."