Stay-At-Home Orders Extended for Southern California Region Amidst Covid Surge
State officials have extended its strict stay-at-home orders in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions on Tuesday as the coronavirus cases continue to rise, placing more stress on the state's healthcare system.
Why it matters:
On Tuesday, the state reported 31,245 new cases and 242 new deaths. With ICU bed capacity at 0%, oxygen supply shortages, and hospital redirecting ambulances, Los Angeles County has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
On Dec.28., California broke the record for single-day infections with 66,811.
State officials told hospitals to prepare for the likelihood to abide by "Crisis Care Guidelines" for COVID-19, which allows the rationing of medical care.
Dr. Mark Ghaly said plenty of hospitals are grappling with 20,390 Covid-19 patients, and ICU admissions have increased by 35.1% in the last two weeks.
The bottom line:
The recent surge of coronavirus cases that swamped hospitals is primarily correlated to Thanksgiving day gatherings despite dire warnings from public officials and health experts.
Models used to forecast the future show hospitalizations more than doubling in the next month from about 20,000 to more than 50,000, per AP.
In the Southern California region, hospitals are running so low on staff and supplies that over the weekend, some hospitals in LA County had to turn away ambulances because they didn't have enough beds, according to a report by the LA Times.
What does it mean:
The orders will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future keeping non-essential businesses closed or restricting indoor operations at restaurants, gyms, hair, and nail salons.
Indoor retail stores have to operate at a 20% capacity, and schools could stay open if they obtained a waiver from their regional health departments.
Southern California's ICU capacity remains at 0% and will have to rise to 15% or more within the next month for the order to be lifted, per LBTP.
The California Department of Health is sending a medical team to the Los Angeles area to assist with the crisis.
What they're saying:
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly: "We've been focused as we should be about the intense, critical situation in our hospitals."
California Gov. Gavin Newsom: "As we move into this new phase, where we brace, where we prepare ourselves for what is inevitable now ... based on the travel we have just seen in the last week and the expectation of more of the same through the rest of the holiday season of a surge on top of a surge, arguably, on top of, again, another surge."