Millions of people in the San Francisco Bay Area will go under a new stay-at-home order starting this weekend as coronavirus cases increase and hospitals fill up, officials said on Friday. health.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday launched a regional stay-at-home order tied to the capacity of hospital intensive care units. Once a region’s intensive care unit capacity drops below 15%, a stay-at-home order will be triggered, with the vast majority of California expected to meet that criteria in the coming days.
The Bay Area is not expected to reach this threshold until mid-December, but San Francisco and four other Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Clara – as well as the city of Berkeley have decided to ‘Preventively adopt the order in an effort to curb the surge.
The preventive order comes as San Francisco registers an average of 142 new cases of Covid-19 per day and 900 new cases per week. Hospitalizations have tripled in the past month.
“It takes several weeks for new restrictions to prevent slowly increasing hospital admissions, and waiting until only 15% of an area’s intensive care beds are available is simply too late,” the San health official said. Francisco, Dr. Tomás Aragón. “Many heavily affected areas in our region already have less than 15% of critical care beds available, and the time to act is now.”
San Francisco, along with other Bay Area counties, subscribes to the Governor’s regional Stay at Home order starting Sunday at 10 p.m.
We are on the verge of running out of hospital beds to treat patients on Boxing Day. We need to turn the tide now. https://t.co/F0qwFnCb9e
– London Race (@LondonBreed) December 4, 2020
The order, which will affect about 6 million people in the Bay Area, represents the most severe restrictions the state has put in place since the spring. They demand that restaurants close indoor and outdoor restaurants. Bars and wineries are also to close, along with hair and nail salons and playgrounds. Retail stores and malls can operate with only 20% customer capacity. Gatherings of any size with people outside of their home are prohibited.
The changes will take effect on Sunday and will last until January 4. Officials said the region’s hospital system would have been overwhelmed before the end of December, when Newsom’s order applied.
“We don’t think we can wait for the new state restrictions to take effect later this month. It’s an emergency, ”said Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer.
“With the surge in Covid-19 cases in San Francisco, we must do whatever is necessary to bring the virus under control,” said London Breed, mayor of San Francisco. “It’s about protecting people’s lives. We see how fast it moves and how devastating the effects are. We need to do all we can to keep our hospital system from being overwhelmed and to save lives.
The state’s other four regions – northern California, the greater Sacramento area, southern California, and the San Joaquin Valley – are expected to hit the below 15% threshold in the coming days.
The new home order will dramatically cut the most profitable shopping season and threaten financial ruin for already struggling businesses after 10 months of recurring and repetitive restrictions and slowing sales due to the pandemic.
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association in San Francisco has said that most restaurants “can’t afford takeout alone.” The closure comes after many restaurants in the area have built new outdoor spaces, some at great expense.
All of the Bay Area counties except Marin are in the most restrictive purple level of the state’s pandemic plan for the economy, which has already forced 52 of California’s 58 counties to stopping most non-essential indoor activities and enforced a daily 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. .
But it didn’t work because, according to the data, people are ignoring the rules, admitted Thursday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s top public health official.
In the Central Interior Valley, Fresno County had only 10 of its 150 intensive care beds. Health officials have painted a grim picture with hospitals struggling to stay staffed due to infections and coronavirus exposures. A hospital is holding intensive care patients in the emergency room until beds open, Daniel Lynch, director of emergency medical services, said on Friday.
“The hospitals are full,” said Lynch.
Associated Press contributed reporting