All of Southern California—including San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties—will remain under a state stay-at-home order into the new year, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue hitting record highs amid the holidays.
On Dec. 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week extension of his Dec. 6 order shuttering many indoor activities and business sectors
, in most regions of the state, as demand on hospital and ICU beds soars.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM'S OFFICE
COVID-19 IS EVERYWHERE Gov. Gavin Newsom extended a regional stay-at-home order on Dec. 29 amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases.
In SLO and Santa Barbara counties, about 200 people are currently hospitalized with the virus—with about 50 in ICUs—both record highs. The death toll is also growing; SLO County reported 36 fatalities in December alone, a rate of more than one death per day.
“This pandemic is taking a human toll here in SLO County and we need every single person to do everything you can to stop the surge and protect the lives of those around us,” SLO County Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein said in a Dec. 29 press release.
According to Borenstein, local ICU capacity is better off than some areas of the Southern California region, which has 23 counties, but it’s still in the worst shape of the pandemic.
On Dec. 29, SLO County and Santa Barbara counties had just 35 combined ICU beds open, according to state and local data
Regionwide, Southern California has 0 percent ICU capacity, a number that doesn’t mean every bed is filled. The state factors in hospital staff availability, beds for non-COVID-19 patients, and other metrics while calculating ICU capacity.
Borenstein said the state will lift the stay-at-home order when the region’s “projected ICU capacity is equal to or greater than 15 percent.” Health officials said they hope the order will help cushion another expected surge in new cases following the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays
Newsom’s order means that wineries, bars, and breweries, salons and personal care services, museums, movie theaters, entertainment centers, and card rooms must close. It bans dining in restaurants and non-essential lodging, and reduces indoor capacity at retail and grocery stores. ∆