Category Archives: Stay-at-home

Coronavirus live updates: All of Bay Area region now under stay-home order as ICU capacity drops to 12.9%

Hard-hit Solano County finally joins with all other Bay Area Counties – shutdown to begin at midnight Thurs Dec 17

San Francisco Chronicle LIVE UPDATES, by Aidin Vaziri , Vanessa Arredondo , Erin Allday and Rita Beamish, Dec. 16, 2020
Signs posted on the door of the Luscious Salon in Lodi (San Joaquin County) advise customers about the pandemic guidelines. ICU capacity has dropped to zero in the greater San Joaquin Valley region.
Signs posted on the door of the Luscious Salon in Lodi (San Joaquin County) advise customers about the pandemic guidelines. ICU capacity has dropped to zero in the greater San Joaquin Valley region. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

12:06 p.m. Bay Area falls into mandatory shutdown status: The Bay Area region’s intensive care capacity at its hospitals is down to 12.9% capacity. That means the region now must adhere to the state’s stay-home order restrictions as of midnight Thursday. Much of the Bay Area had already taken the step voluntarily. Read the story here.

12:27 p.m. California shutdown grows: Northern California is the state’s only region that now is not under the California mandatory stay-home order that kicks in when a region’s intensive care capacity falls below 15% availability. Aside from the Bay Area, which fell to 12.9% ICU capacity on Wednesday, state data showed other regions’ ICU available capacity at: Sacramento, 14.1%; San Joaquin Valley, 0%; and Southern California, 0.5%, with the Northern California region still having 29.1% ICU capacity. About 40 million people, 98% of the state population, are under the regional order’s restrictions. Statewide, available ICU capacity was 4.1 %.

1:03 p.m.  Solano , San Mateo, Napa counties now must go under stay home order: Only three Bay Area counties were not voluntarily adhering to the state’s recent stay-home restrictions. With Wednesday’s intensive care metrics in the region faltering, the order becomes mandatory, including for Solano, San Mateo and Napa Counties.

Latest updates from today:

DAILY UPDATE link for California ICU bed availability BY REGION

By Roger Straw, December 5, 2020, updated Dec 7, 2020

The State of California is now posting a readily available DAILY UPDATE on California’s REGIONAL ICU hospital bed availability.  This is super important as a 15% level is the trigger for the state’s Dec. 3 Stay At Home Order.  Save this link for future use: will need to scroll down to “Regional Stay Home Order”).

Below is the most current data from

EARLIER VERSION FOR COMPARISON:  Below you will find the map and the listing from December 5:

SAHO ICU bed % available as of December 5, 2020 for the 5 regions:

Northern California 24.1%
Bay Area 21.7%
Greater Sacramento 21.4%
San Joaquin Valley 8.6%
Southern California 12.5%


SAHO is short for Stay At Home Order.

I will try to find out and post here the usual time of day when the numbers are updated.  Stay tuned.


Solano Public Health defies 5 neighboring Bay Area health departments, does not join in early stay-at-home orders

5 Bay Area counties, Berkeley adopt stay-at-home order ahead of state’s timeline

SFGATE, by Amy Graff, Dec. 4, 2020

Mission Playground closed to the public on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
Mission Playground closed to the public on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Blair Heagerty / SFGate

Health officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley announced in a joint press conference Friday they will enact a regional stay-at-home order more quickly than the state’s timeline presented by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.

By taking the step, these six jurisdictions are calling on people to stay home and closing all sectors of business except retail and essential operations.

“We are entering an especially dangerous period of the epidemic,” said Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, noting daily cases in his county. “I don’t think we can wait for the state’s restrictions to go in effect later this month. That’s why we’re making temporary steps now. We must act swiftly.”

“Until we get through this wave, you should not meet in person with anyone you do not live even in a small group and even outdoors with precaution,” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, health officer for the city of Berkeley. “If you have a social bubble, it is now popped.”

The order will take effect in Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6; in Alameda on Monday, Dec. 7; and in Marin on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The following sectors are closing:

  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • Indoor recreational facilities
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Personal care services
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums
  • Movie theaters
  • Wineries
  • Bars, breweries and distilleries
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering
  • Limited services
  • Live audience sports
  • Amusement parks

Here’s what can remain open:

  • Schools: Those that currently have in-person learning can continue.
  • Outdoor recreational facilities: Only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Overnight stays at campgrounds not permitted.
  • Retail: Indoor operation allowed at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Shopping centers: Indoor operation allowed at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Hotels and lodging: Allowed to open for critical infrastructure support only.
  • Restaurants: Permitted only for takeout or pickup.
  • Offices: Remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.
  • Places of worship: Outdoor services only.
  • Entertainment production including professional sports: Permitted without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.

Newsom announced a new regional stay-at-home order Thursday, designed to keep local health systems from collapsing under the weight of skyrocketing COVID-19 caseloads. Previous restrictions were based on infection rates in counties.

The new order divides the state into five broad regions and restricts those with intensive care unit bed capacity below 15%. On Thursday, Newsom said four regions — all but the San Francisco Bay Area — could meet that threshold “within a day or two.” But the state allows regions to implement the order more quickly and the Bay Area is taking that step.

California’s virus hospitalizations have nearly quadrupled since mid-October and now stand at 9,948, including 2,248 in intensive care units. The Department of Public Health reported 19,582 deaths since the start of the pandemic, including at least 220 health care workers.

Here’s a rundown of the five regions and counties that fall into each:

Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity

Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma

Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba

San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne

Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Latest California County-by-county ICU capacity numbers

[Editor: I am not finding a source for daily updating of California REGIONAL ICU bed capacity, which will be the trigger for the upcoming stay-at-home orders.  Below are the current COUNTY numbers.  I will continue to watch for a regional report.  No doubt the State will post something soon….  – R.S.]

Newsom implements regional stay-at-home order tied to ICU capacity

CalMatters, by Ana B. Ibarra and Lauren Hepler, December 3, 2020
EMT Giselle Dorgalli, second from right, looks at a monitor while performing chest compression on a patient who tested positive for coronavirus in the emergency room at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2020. Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo
EMT Giselle Dorgalli, second from right, looks at a monitor while performing chest compression on a patient who tested positive for coronavirus in the emergency room at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 2020. Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo

Imposing the strictest restrictions in months, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces a regional stay-at-home order tied to an alarmingly low number of hospital beds amid a statewide coronavirus surge.

In the face of a “surge on top of a surge,” Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today the strictest measure in months for a regional stay-at-home order tied to the number of intensive care beds as hospitals near their capacity in the face of a statewide coronavirus surge.

The governor’s order calls for tougher restrictions when ICU bed capacity drops below 15% in any of five regions. The state reported Northern California was at 18.6%, Bay Area 25.4%, Greater Sacramento 22%, San Joaquin Valley 19.7% and Southern California 20.6%. With those numbers, Newsom said the order could be triggered in the next day or two for most regions. Once initiated, the order would last three weeks. The governor urged people to stay within their households as much as possible to help stem the spread.

“If we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed, if we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see a death rate climb; more lives lost,” Newsom said during a press conference.

This map is interactive on CalMatters website. Click here or on the image to go there, then hover over any county for ICU capacity on Dec. 3.

Under the order, people will have to stay home as much as possible as playgrounds, museums, movie theaters, salons and barbershops shut back down. Restaurants could only offer take-out and people can still go out for essential things like groceries, exercise and doctor appointments. K-12 schools that have reopened can remain open, and retail stores can operate indoors at 20% capacity.

California is kicking off what could be the worst month of the pandemic yet. Hospital admissions have surpassed the previous peak from the summer. At least one county, Imperial, is again transferring ICU patients to hospitals outside county lines, according to the California Hospital Association. In the spring, Imperial County sent more than 500 patients to hospitals as far as Sacramento and the Bay Area.

By Christmas Eve, 112% of the state’s ICU beds could be occupied if current trends continue, Newsom said earlier this week. On Wednesday, the state recorded more than 18,500 new cases, Newsom said — the most in a single day since the pandemic began. With the new restrictions, he said the state hoped to head off “too much concentrated retail activity” during what is normally the busy holiday shopping season.

Hospitals struggling with their current coronavirus caseloads are bracing for a delayed onslaught. In Imperial County, the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients at El Centro Regional Medical Center — one of two hospitals in the county — is already nearing peaks seen during previous surges. Of the 128 of patients occupying the facility’s 161 licensed beds, 60 are coronavirus patients, according to Adolphe Edward, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

“At the highest highest of what I would call COVID 1.0 — first wave — we had 65 patients,” Edward said. “We have not seen yet the effects of Thanksgiving. And that’s coming.”

For businesses and their workers, the big test will be whether keeping their operations going at limited capacity will be “productive enough” to prevent mass closures and job losses, said Julien Lafortune, a research fellow who has studied unemployment during the pandemic for the Public Policy Institute of California. The state’s jobless rate dipped back into single digits in October at 9.3%, down from a high of over 16% in April, but many businesses are confronting months of accumulated losses just as the virus explodes.

“We can keep businesses open right now,” Lafortune said, “but a lot of people wouldn’t go out.”

The new stay-at-home order is softer than what Newsom announced in the spring. On March 19, California came to a standstill after Newsom declared the country’s first statewide shelter-in-place order. All schools closed their doors and resorted to Zoom lectures; restaurants and bars ceased operations, leaving many workers in limbo; and those who could, began their working-from-home odyssey.

On Thursday, businesses and officials across the state raced to understand what the new rules would entail — including some of those charged with enforcing them.

“I don’t know what the rules are,” said Monterey County Chief Deputy Sheriff John Thornburg. “I’ve literally been sitting here for the last half-hour trying to figure out what they are, so I don’t know.”

Health experts and officials do know more about the virus and how it is transmitted than they did in the spring, so restrictions can be better customized, said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Rutherford is optimistic that the majority of Californians will adhere to the new rules. That, combined with the first tranche of vaccines, could give California a much-needed break, he said.

“We’ve turned the curve before,” Rutherford said. “It wasn’t magic, it was people paying attention.”

The new shutdown procedures come at a precarious moment for the California economy. Home prices and Wall Street have surged to record highs, but stubbornly high unemployment has fueled what economists at UCLA call “an unequal economic recovery.” Though vaccine optimism has boosted financial markets in recent weeks, those gains could recede this winter as the virus surges, UCLA Senior Economist Leo Feler cautioned in a forecast released this week. Small businesses are in a particularly vulnerable position.

“Today is the slowest day we’ve had since June,” Sheree Hardy, owner of the Trencher sandwich shop in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood, said on Thursday. “The vibe out there right now, it’s an uneasy vibe.”

This chart is interactive on CalMatters website. Click here or on the image to go there, then hover over the chart for details.

For many caught up in job cuts — which have disproportionately hit Black and Latino Californians, as well as women pushed out of the workforce to care for children — the next few weeks were already going to be stressful. Some 750,000 state residents will lose federal unemployment benefits on Dec. 26 if current deadlines hold, and 2.1 million Californians could lose their rental homes when eviction moratoriums lift weeks later.

“The pandemic has been an inequality bomb,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO and president of progressive advocacy group California Forward. “What people want to see is a plan for an equitable economic recovery that is as serious, as well thought out and as well-funded as the plan to shut everything down.”

Another stay-at-home order could help alleviate pressure on the frontlines, said Stephanie Roberson, government relations director with the California Nurses Association.

“I think now is the time,” Roberson said. “We can try to piecemeal this out, but it’s so widespread we need to take a statewide approach.”

Even before Newsom’s announcement, experts were betting a lockdown order in December would look different than what the state saw in March.

Exactly how the new regulations play out for businesses will likely come down to legal battles already underway. Earlier this week, a judge ordered Los Angeles County officials to provide more health evidence for shutting down outdoor dining in addition to indoor restaurants and retail. The lawsuit was backed by the California Restaurant Association, one of several business groups demanding more specifics about how regulators are evaluating public safety and calibrating restrictions.

At the same time, the state has attempted to respond to ongoing concerns about a lack of enforcement for worker safety protocols by issuing new emergency rules for employers. The standards by the Department of Industrial Relations, which went into effect earlier this week, call for site-specific health plans, reporting instances of multiple infections to public health officials and providing masks to all workers. Santa Clara County has also added new quarantine requirements for businesses that ask workers to travel long distances.

Some business owners in service industries hit hardest by the pandemic expressed frustration with shifting rules while trying to adapt to an unpredictable situation. Mike Duvall, founder and president of The Spirit Guild, which makes vodka and gin from California clementines in downtown L.A, said shuttering his sector entirely would be “a betrayal” of the work distilleries have done to produce hand sanitizer during the pandemic.

“If they were to shut us down, you know, I would like to see them try,” Duvall said. “What are they going to do, come bolt up our place while we’re making sanitizer?”

In the meantime, the stalemate drags on over whether Californians will see another major round of individual stimulus checks or business loans. The state announced new tax extensions and $500 million in small business grants this week, and Newsom said Thursday that, “We are just getting started in terms of the business relief and business support.” Congress remains divided over offering more federal aid before the end of the year, setting the stage for a battle over how to redirect limited funds to struggling businesses, workers and others.

Newsom, meanwhile, said the state is focused on stemming the tide of the virus with mass vaccinations just on the horizon. “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Reporters Rachel Becker, Jackie Botts, Nigel Duara and Byrhonda Lyons contributed to this story.