California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he is considering imposing another stay-at-home order as hospitals could be overwhelmed by Christmas amid COVID-19 spikes, projections show.
The potential orders could impact counties in the purple tier of the state’s reopening plan, which are under the strictest guidelines. Fifty-one counties are in the purple tier out of 58 counties in total.
“If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic — arguably drastic — actions,” he said during a briefing Monday.
California, the US’ most populous state, became the second US state to pass the grim milestone of one million COVID-19 cases confirmed in the state, Texas was the first state.
About 75% of California’s 7,733 ICU beds are occupied, and hospitals could reach 112% of capacity by December 24, according to projections shared by Newsom. The state reported 7,787 coronavirus hospitalizations as of Sunday — an 89% spike in hospitalizations over the last two weeks.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, told the Los Angeles Times that the hospitalization figures don’t show the entire picture of the spread of COVID-19 in the state, as hospitalizations only account for developed cases that were detected a few weeks earlier.
“[Everything] is on the table in terms of considering how we effectively guide the state through this,” Ghaly told the LA Times.
The state imposed a “targeted safer-at-home order” following Thanksgiving, which closed public playgrounds, set a capacity on non-essential establishments, and prohibited gatherings between people from different households except outdoor religious services and protests.
“We have come to a place where our cases and our hospitalizations are so high that we must do something to settle things down,” Dr. Sara Cody, the health officer for Santa Clara County, said Saturday upon announcing the new targeted restrictions. “We are now at a critical inflection point.”
“This pandemic is like a high-speed train, and our projections tell us that we are on target to derail by around the third week of December if we don’t apply brakes, right now, with all our collective might,” she continued. “We urge everyone to stay home to the greatest extent that you can. Please stay home. Do not go out unless it is for essential reasons or essential purposes.”
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