What to Know
- California's statewide Regional Stay-at-Home Order has ended, but restrictions remains in place based on conditions in each county.
- The order, which began Dec. 6, was lifted after some signs that parts of California are slowly emerging from the most intense stage of the pandemic.
- In Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous, the test positivity rate has plummeted 39% over the past three weeks, health officials say.
California's Regional Stay-at-Home order was lifted Monday for all regions, including Southern California, the state's public health department said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom was expected to make an announcement later Monday at a news conference about the end of the order. The move means a return to restrictions based on conditions in each county after what officials said are some positive signs about the virus' spread.
The county-based system includes a color-coded tiered guide to reopening and allows counties to impose restrictions that are even stricter than the state-imposed order.
LA County also loosened its restrictions on Monday, allowing nail and hair salons to reopen albeit under a limited capacity and outdoor dining at restaurants was expected to reopen on Friday.
“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”
The statewide order, imposed Dec. 6, was based on regional numbers, such as intensive care unit capacity, and included the San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern California. Four-week ICU capacity projections for these three regions are above 15%, the threshold that allows regions to exit the order, state health officials said Monday.
The Sacramento Region left the order on Jan. 12 and the Northern California region was never under the statewide order.
The move was expected a letter from the California Restaurant Association, dated Sunday, said senior officials in the Newsom administration confirmed this with the association.
The governor's move could allow for the resumption of outdoor dining, as well as at least some services at gyms, barber shops and nail salons, among other businesses. Most counties in the state would go into the "widespread'' risk tier. That would allow salons to offer some limited services but keep restrictions on other nonessential businesses.
"We see promising signs that California is slowly emerging from the most intense stage of this pandemic. We continue to look at what that means for the Regional Stay at Home order and anticipate that the state Department of Public Health will provide a formal update tomorrow morning," said Brian Ferguson, the Deputy Director for Crisis Communication & Public Affairs from the Governor’s Office.
Hospitalizations and newly confirmed cases have been falling in California, and health officials are growing more optimistic that the worst of the latest surge is over. The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has slipped below 19,000 statewide, a drop of more than 10% in two weeks.
The positivity rate for people being tested has dropped by 15% statewide in the last week, which means fewer people will end up in hospitals.
In Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous, the test positivity rate has plummeted 39% over the past three weeks, health officials said.
“While we have come a long way this week with community transmission, we have a long road to go and must continue to practice infectious control measures: wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when out of your home,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement on Friday.
On Sunday, the county reported 8,243 new cases of COVID-19 and 98 additional deaths, bringing the county's totals to 1,073,111 cases and 15,260 fatalities. There were 6,697 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in the county as of Sunday, down from 6,881 a day earlier. That number had reached a peak of more than 8,000 earlier this year.
But while that number is down, health care workers and ICU capacity remain overwhelmed, with the Southern California Region continuing to have 0% available ICU space and remaining under the Regional Stay at Home Order.