The State reported over the weekend that the San Joaquin Valley Region’s ICU capacity fell below 15 percent, resulting in a Stay at Home Order going into effect in Kern County.
As of Saturday, there were 46 positive patients in the Intensive Care Unit in Kern County, leaving 30 ICU beds available, according to the California Department of Public Health. The Kern County Public Health Department also announced Monday 254 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 45,342 cases in Kern. Of these, 18,762 people have recovered.
“We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” said Governor Newsom. “By invoking a Stay at Home Order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent, we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system.”
Regional Stay at Home Orders require Californians to stay at home as much as possible, close operations for certain sectors and require 100 percent masking and physical distancing. This Order took effect Saturday and now applies to Kern County. Kern County is just one county included in the San Joaquin Valley Region. Other counties include: Calaveras, Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne.
The San Joaquin Valley Region is one of five regions the state is tracking. The others include: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, and Southern California. According to a news release by the Governor’s office, no regions currently meet the 15 percent ICU threshold but some are projected to within the next week.
Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible and minimize mixing to reduce unnecessary exposure, while still being able to do important things like go to the doctor, buy groceries, pick up take out, go on a hike, or worship outdoors. K-12 schools that are already open can remain open and retailers can operate indoors at no more than 20 percent capacity to reduce exposure risk.
“We know what a struggle this pandemic has been for so many California families, but our actions have saved countless lives,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary. “This targeted action will preserve vital ICU beds for people who need them — whether they’re COVID-19 patients or someone who has suffered a heart attack or a stroke.”
Kern County will remain in the Regional Stay at Home Order status for at least three weeks. Counties are eligible to come off the Regional Stay at Home Order after three weeks if their hospital ICU capacity projected four weeks out reaches 15 percent. Counties will return to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier determined by their case rate and test positivity after they are eligible to exit the Regional Stay at Home Order.
“Staying home for three weeks is a sacrifice, but if every Californian did that for a month, we could stop this disease in its tracks,” said Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer. “This public health order strikes the balance between saving lives, providing essential services that we all rely on and still allowing Californians to participate in lower-risk outdoor activities that are crucial for our physical and mental health.”
In any region that triggers a Regional Stay at Home Order because it drops below 15 percent ICU capacity, all operations in the following sectors must be closed:
- Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds
- Indoor Recreational Facilities
- Hair Salons and Barbershops
- Personal Care Services
- Museums, Zoos, and Aquariums
- Movie Theaters
- Bars, Breweries and Distilleries
- Family Entertainment Centers
- Cardrooms and Satellite Wagering
- Limited Services
- Live Audience Sports
- Amusement Parks
The following sectors will have additional modifications in addition to 100 percent masking and physical distancing:
- Outdoor Recreational Facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.
- Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent 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: Allow indoor operation at 20 percent 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: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only.
- Restaurants: Allow only for take-out or pick-up.
- Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.
- Places of Worship: Allow outdoor services only.
- Entertainment Production including Professional Sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and “bubbles” are highly encouraged.
The Order does not modify existing state guidance regarding K-12 schools.
The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible with appropriate infectious disease preventative measures including 100 percent masking and physical distancing:
- Critical Infrastructure
- Non-urgent medical and dental care
- Child care and pre-K
The Regional Stay at Home Order will be implemented regionally once there is less than 15 percent ICU capacity remaining in the designated region. After three weeks from the start of the Stay-at-Home Order, the following criteria would apply:
- End for a county in a region if the region’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks (from three weeks since the Stay-at-Home Order started) is above or equal to 15 percent. Each county in the region would be assigned to a tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
- Remain in effect in a county if the region’s ICU capacity projected out four weeks (from three weeks since the Stay-at-Home Order started) is less than 15 percent. The order would remain in effect until the region’s ICU capacity meets criteria (1) above. This would be assessed on a weekly basis.