WATCH: Southern California Stay-At-Home Order Likely To Be Extended, Newsom Says
The stay-at-home order for Southern California will likely be extended based on the lack of regional intensive care unit capacity, but that decision won't be made until Tuesday, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom made the announcement while delivering an update on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. You can watch the video above or read highlights below.
The governor noted that the decision is based on four-week ICU projections. The latest data for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will be reported Tuesday.
That said, ICU capacity in those regions is effectively zero, Newsom said, making the extension of the stay-at-home order almost certain.
Statewide, there are 4,228 COVID-19 patients in ICUs. Other parts of the state, including the Bay Area, have more than the 15% minimum ICU capacity needed to avoid a stay-at-home order. But Southern California, and in particular Los Angeles County, continues to be hit hard.
LA COUNTY HOSPITALIZATIONS
L.A. County has been seeing 12,000 to 15,000 cases a day over the past few weeks, part of a surge that was widely expected to follow the long Thanksgiving holiday.
The sheer volume of cases is taking a toll on hospitals, which are spending an increasing amount of time just trying to keep up with diversions, Newsom said. A diversion is when a hospital cannot take an incoming patient and must send an ambulance to another part of the county or the region instead.
On Saturday, 96% of L.A. County hospitals were on diversion, compared with 33% before the surge. On average, Newsom said, a hospital in L.A. County spent 16 hours a day on diversions, which means emergency room care is being slowed for everyone, not just coronavirus patients.
Newsom noted a new federal pharmacy partnership with Walgreens and CVS has started, allowing vaccination of the most vulnerable Californians in two phases.
The first phase will focus on skilled nursing facilities using the Pfizer vaccine. The second phase will focus on assisted living facilities, residential care and other long-term care locations, Newsom said.
The pharmacy partnership excludes Los Angeles County, which has developed its own strategy for vaccine distribution.
By end of this week, Newsom said the state expects to receive 904,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine, along with 858,000 Pfizer doses.
That makes nearly 1.8 million doses, shy of the 2.1 million that Newsom said were expected, though not by much.
In total, 261,672 total vaccines had been administered as of Saturday.
WHO GETS VACCINATED NEXT?
The state is still working on its draft distribution plan. By Wednesday, Newsom said the state will likely approve Phase 1b guidelines, which include high-risk individuals in highly impacted areas, in two tiers:
- people who are 75 and over
- workers in education, child care, food supply and agriculture
- people 65 and over with underlying medical conditions
- workers in transportation, logistics, commercial sectors, critical manufacturing, high-risk incarcerated individuals and the unhoused
The next phase, Phase 1c, is still being considered and is up for discussion on Wednesday. This phase could include:
- people 16-64 with underlying medical conditions
- workers in water, waste management, defense, energy, community service providers, IT, financial services, and others
FEDERAL CORONAVIRUS RELIEF
Newsom noted that the federal stimulus package, which President Trump signed this weekend, could translate to some relief for residents and businesses.
Here's some of what we can expect:
- $600 for qualifying individuals
- $600 per child for eligible families
- $300 per week extra in unemployment
- SNAP (formerly the food stamp program) benefits increased by 15% for six months
- $25 billion in rental assistance
- Expansion of the Pandemic EBT program to help families of students who receive free and reduced price lunches
- Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to March 14
- Restarting of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses
- Extension of payroll tax credits for paid sick and family leave through March 2021
OVERALL LOOK AT CALIFORNIA'S NUMBERS:
Here's a look at longer-term trends in the state. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose California or any county in the state that interests you. These numbers are current as of Sunday, Dec. 27:
FOR MORE ON COVID-19 IN CALIFORNIA: