SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, announced the extension of the current stay-at-home order on Tuesday afternoon.
During an online press conference held on Tuesday afternoon, Ghaly announced that the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions will stay under the stay-at-home order for a minimum of three more weeks, due to a surge in cases and a lack of improvement in ICU availability.
The Southern California region includes Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County and Ventura County.
A stay-at-home order is triggered when a region’s intensive care unit bed capacity falls below 15%. The Southern California and San Joaquin regions again reported zero percent availability on Tuesday, although that doesn’t mean there are no beds; it is calculated based on the proportion of ICU patients who have COVID-19, to ensure hospitals have enough beds to treat all critical patients
This will continue all the restrictions on businesses including restaurants, gyms and others.
Ventura County saw its highest number of cases with over 3,000 new cases over the holiday weekend.
The regions will remain under the restrictive order until hospital ICU capacity reaches at least 15 percent.
Dr. Mark Ghaly implored the state’s 40 million residents to continue social distancing and wearing masks if they must go out this holiday weekend. He said that while hospital and positivity rates appear to be stabilizing from a Thanksgiving-related surge, that isn’t the case in the southern part of the state, including Los Angeles County.
“We have not heard yet that any hospital is at the point where they need to make a decision between two patients who both need a ventilator, and they only have one ventilator,” he said, but some overwhelmed hospitals don’t have space to unload ambulances or get oxygen to patients who can’t breathe.
“We certainly know that Southern California hospitals are in crisis, and some have begun to implement parts of crisis care,” he said.