Anticipating the number of available Intensive Care Unit beds would shrink to shortage levels over the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that pre-emptive stay at home orders would be imposed for California regions. Trinity County is in the Northern California region, which also includes Lake, Mendocino, Glenn, Del Norte, Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Tehama and Siskiyou counties. Other regions are The Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
Newsom noted the state has seen 18,491 cases in the 24 hours before his announcement, an average of over 15,000 per day over seven days, the highest number seen since the pandemic started.
“The effects of Thanksgiving — they have not yet been felt,” he said. “They will be felt in a number of weeks.”
Quoting Dr. Anthony Fauci, Newsom said we should anticipate “a surge on top of a surge.” Looking at the case numbers from before Thanksgiving, Newsom said the positivity rate went from 5.2 percent to 7 percent, and hospitalizations have increased 86 percent in the 14 days before the announcement.
“We’ve seen death rates increase significantly over the last number of weeks,” he said, noting that on Nov. 2, the state reported 14 COVID deaths. “In the last 24 hours, similar to the previous 24 hours, we have reported back-to-back days with 113 deaths.”
“The bottom line is that if we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed and … we will continue to see the death rate climb and more lives lost.”
Pull the brake
Newsom announced that as of Thursday, “We are pulling [the] emergency brake,” and introducing the regional Stay at Home order in order to keep people from associating with others outside their household.
He said residents of regions where hospitals ICU capacity falls below 15 percent will be told to stay at home for three weeks. He explained that regions were established based on the state’s mutual aid system, predicting that within days almost all will reach the trigger ICU capacity.
“The Bay Area may have a few extra days,” he said, suggesting it will also reach the trigger capacity before the end of the month.
What will remain
Sectors to be closed will include bars, wineries, personal services, salons and barbershops. Schools with appropriate waivers, critical infrastructure, retail and restaurants will remain open but with restrictions. Newsom explained that in retail stores, particularly larger ones, capacity will be reduced to 20 percent.
He said all non-essential travel will be temporarily restricted statewide.
“Here’s what we want to emphasize,” he said. “None of us are naïve, I certainly am not, of the mental stress that all of us are under. Not just the financial distress that may are under and more still with this stay at home order, but we want to encourage activity is focused, not indoors, not in congregate facilities, not where there’s a tremendous amount of mixing, but outdoors.” Newsom encouraged all sorts of safe outdoors activities.
“This is not a permanent state,” he said. This is what many had projected, we had predicted — the final surge in this pandemic. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are a few months away from truly seeing real progress with the vaccine, real distribution, real accessibility [and] real availability.”
Newsom encouraged all residents to step up and meet the moment in order to keep numbers down until a vaccine is available.
The full address can be found on the governor’s Facebook page, which also states 327,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will be received by mid-December.