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CA COVID-19 hospitalization projections may lead to new statewide stay-at-home order

"If these trends continue, we are going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic actions," Governor Newsom warned.

SAN DIEGO — Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday a more sweeping stay-at-home order could soon be imposed in the vast majority of California in hopes of preventing the health care system from being overrun. 

“Current projections show hospitalizations could increase 2-3 times current amount in one month," Governor Newsom said. "If these trends continue, California will need to take drastic action, including a potential stay-at-home order for regions with concerning hospitalizations and ICU capacity." 

The projections for Southern California show the current ICU beds occupied at 74%. The projected total of ICU beds occupied on December 24 will be at 107%. The region would reach 100% capacity in mid to late December.

Newsom said nine more of the state's 58 counties have been moved into the most restrictive purple tier of the state's COVID-19 monitoring system, meaning 51 counties are now in that tier. And those counties would be the ones likely subjected to a stay-at-home order reminiscent of the restrictions that were imposed at the onset of the pandemic, he said. All of Southern California is in the purple tier. 

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's Health and Human Services Secretary, noted that since hospital numbers tend to rise about two weeks later than cases are confirmed, so the impact of the infection surge over the past two weeks has not even begun to impact the already elevated hospitalization numbers.

Ghaly said everything is on the table in terms of confronting the surge, including the possible stay-at-home order.

"Everything is on the table in considering how we effectively guide the state through this, and working with our local partners to make sure what we do is both impactful and as time-limited as possible," Ghaly said. "We know this is hard for all Californians, and (we are) making sure that we choose something that will make a difference but that we can track that difference and give people some confidence that we will only do it as long as we need to to bring the hospitals into a situation that they can handle the incoming patient numbers and provide high-quality care in a way that protects our health care workforce as well."

"The bottom line is we are looking at intensive care unit capacity as the primary trigger for deeper, more restrictive actions, because when that capacity goes away or even when it gets stretched so far, that staffing is stretched that we have to have to set up space that isn't typically used for intensive care units," said Ghaly.

Newsom is expected to lay out the specifics of these possible new statewide restrictions in the coming days, while also reminding any Californians who traveled for Thanksgiving that the state is asking them to self-quarantine for two weeks.

In addition, Newsom announced immediate relief for small businesses as well as reminding people of the existing support currently available for small businesses.

Watch the complete press conference from Nov. 30, 2020:

San Diego County specific COVID-19 numbers through Sunday, Nov. 29:

San Diego County health officials Sunday reported 1,066 new COVID-19 infections, raising the region's total to 80,084 cases, with no new deaths, leaving the overall death toll of 997.

Sunday marked the 19th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported. Of the total number of cases in the county, 4,603 have required hospitalization.

Nine community outbreaks were confirmed Sunday. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

San Diego County fell deeper into the most restrictive, purple, tier of the state's four-tiered reopening plan Tuesday, with an unadjusted 21.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Even with an adjusted rate of 13.1 per 100,000 due to significant testing increases by local health authorities, that number far exceeds the strictest tier's baseline of 7 daily cases per 100,000.

The testing positivity percentage is 3.1%, placing it in the less restrictive, orange, tier for that metric.

The county's health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions, is 9.3% and is in the purple tier. This metric does not move counties to more restrictive tiers but is required to advance to a less restrictive tier. 

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