The surge in coronavirus cases and the availability of intensive care beds are almost certain to see Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California plunging into a new lockdown this weekend.
The US state health department said late Friday evening that the capacity of the intensive care unit in southern California had quickly dropped to just 13.1%.
If the area stays below the 15% danger point identified by Governor Gavin Newsom on December 3 for just one more day, his regional home stay order would go into effect early Sunday.
Once triggered, the status sequence will automatically take effect for three weeks.
In this case, it means that hard-hit Southern California would be essentially closed through Hanukkah and Christmas and at least until the height of 2021. The order could take even longer, depending on the findings of health officials examining the hospital’s bed capacity, transmission rates, and case growth.
The news tonight that the decline has fallen below 15% follows a warning from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday evening that the stay home order could become a “this weekend or next week” order . The LA County Health Department announced Friday that there was a new high of 8,860 cases in the area and 2,668 people are currently hospitalized. Approximately 24% of people hospitalized with coronavirus are in intensive care.
In total, LA County has “approximately” 2,500 intensive care beds, said Christina Ghaly, director of health care, on Dec. 3.
Governor Newsom set out on Thursday how the state was divided into the five regions of Southern California, the Bay Area, rural Northern California, the Greater Sacramento Region and the San Joaquin Valley for Covid-19 organizational purposes. The sprawling region of Southern California with more than 7% free fall in ICU in less than 24 hours consists of LA County, Orange County, and Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, Imperial, Mono, San Bernardino and Inyo, San Luis Obispo, counties Santa Barbara.
Even if their ICU capacity is relatively okay at 21.2% as of tonight, some districts in the Bay Area have already decided to stay at home in anticipation. With severe bed shortages like SoCal, the San Joaquin Valley currently has an intensive capacity of 14.1%, according to CDPH data
This strict policy from Governor Newsom would require all citizens of the region concerned to remain in their homes, with the exception of essential matters such as masked and socially distant purchase of food and exercise. In addition, since private gatherings are not allowed, there would be travel restrictions and retail capacity would be reduced to 20%. Outdoor restaurants, bars, playgrounds, zoos, museums, wineries and salons, among others, will be closed. Grocery collection is still allowed and a number of key services such as childcare are allowed to remain open, at least for the time being.
LA city and county officials are expected to raise the situation on Saturday morning. Nationwide, the numbers look just as alarming as in southern Germany.
There have been 14.4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and around 280,000 deaths that year, a number that many consider on the conservative side. New York State has had the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus, with over 34,000 deaths. Texas has nearly 23.00 deaths and California has suffered 19,800.