Timeline: A Look at Key Coronavirus Pandemic Events and Milestones in California

On March 19, 2020, the reality of the coronavirus pandemic set in when California issued an unprecedented stay-home order.

The coronavirus pandemic for many Americans seemed all too real on an ominous date, Friday, March 13, 2020 when offices closed and workers, parents and students went home to quarantine.

Nobody knew how long that would last, but here we are still in quarantine with a vaccine rolling out, but still no clarity on when the quarantine will end.

Over the year, the case counts mounted. Businesses closed, stay-at-home orders were issued.

Then businesses reopened, but the quarantine remained in place. And holidays passed and people gathered and case numbers rose. Businesses reopened. Then they closed again as case numbers spiked.

Most of the year was filled with a series of dizzying, confusing, grim, tragic and heartbreaking and stressful moments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic continues, we've put together a timeline to make sense of the pivotal moments in the state and Southern California region.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Los Angeles County Reports First Coronavirus Death
The first person to die of the coronavirus in Los Angeles County is reported as California Gov. Gavin Newsom urges the state's nearly 40 million residents to avoid sporting events, concerts and large gatherings to prevent its spread.

Monday, March 16, 2020
Archdiocese of LA Suspends Masses
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles announces the suspension of masses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, March 16, 2020
LA County Orders Closure of Bars, Gyms
Los Angeles County orders the closure of bars, gyms, and entertainment centers, and restricts restaurants to just take-out or delivery service.

Monday, March 16, 2020
LAUSD Schools Close
Schools close campuses and begin the process of setting up online learning.

District leaders made the announcement at a news conference. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at 11 a.m. on Friday March 13, 2020.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
California State Parks Close Campgrounds
The California State Parks close all campgrounds.

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Statewide Stay-at-Home Order Issued
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issues a statewide "stay at home" order, and calls on residents to recognize the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday, March 20, 2020
'Safer at Home' Order Issued in LA
Mayor Eric Garcetti issues a "safer at home" health order stopping non-essential activities outside of residences in response to COVID-19.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
State Disaster Declaration Declared
President Donald Trump declares a major disaster in California and approves federal funds for the state to fight the coronavirus.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
National Guard Deployed in California
The virus surpasses 329,000 with more than 14,000 reported deaths. In the United States, there are more than 31,174 confirmed cases of the virus. At least 378 people have died.

Monday, March 23, 2020
LA Starts Testing High-Risk Residents for Coronavirus
The city begins making coronavirus testing available to high-risk residents who are showing symptoms.

Sunday, April 12, 2020
Californians Celebrate Easter at Home, in Cars
Churches are empty but Californians celebrated Easter from their homes and even in their cars as residents endured the fourth straight weekend under statewide orders to stay indoors to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
COVID-19 Tests Made Available to All LA County Residents
Mayor Eric Garcetti says LA will become the first major city in the United States to offer free COVID-19 testing for all residents, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that free COVID-19 testing was now available to all residents in LA County, even if they don't have symptoms on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

Monday, May 18, 2020
California Relaxes Some of Its Criteria for Reopening
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says: "Bottom line is: People can go at their own pace, and we are empowering our local health directors and county officials that understand their local communities and conditions."

Friday, May 29, 2020
LA Restaurants, Barbershops Reopen Under Limited Capacity
Los Angeles restaurants can reopen at 60% of their capacity and apply for outdoor dining permits, under social distancing guidelines, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday.

Friday, June 26, 2020
Outdoor Dining Expands in LA County
For many Montrose residents, June 26 was big. It featured eating at a restaurant for the first time since the pandemic began. The experience included physical barriers, which are being used to create new outdoor dining areas on city streets, sidewalks, and private parking lots. It’s all part of the Al Fresco Glendale program, designed to help struggling restaurants increase their seating capacity.

Saturday, July 4, 2020
Californians Celebrate July 4 With Virtual Parades
As the coronavirus surges in the state, Californians celebrate Independence Day with virtual parades featuring air flyovers and photos of flag-draped front porches instead of pancake breakfasts and crowded festivities.

Aug. 7, 2020
LA County Exceeds 200,000 Coronavirus Cases
LA County reaches a grim milestone in its struggle against the coronavirus with 3,290 new confirmed coronavirus cases, pushing the countywide total since the start of the pandemic across the 200,000 mark.

Aug. 12, 2020
LA County Crosses 'Tragic Milestone' Of 5,000 Coronavirus Deaths
LA County crosses another tragic milestone, passing the 5,000 mark in the number of deaths due to COVID-19.

A grim new COVID milestone hit the United States, with more than 100,000 lives now lost to the virus.

Aug. 16, 2020
LAUSD Begins COVID-19 Testing, Tracking Programs for Students, Staff, Family
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announces the launch of a program that will provide regular COVID-19 testing and contact tracing to school staff, students and their families.

Sept. 5, 2020
LA County Counts 6,000th Coronavirus Death
LA County reports 1,196 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths, bringing the county's totals to 247,542 cases and exactly 6,000 fatalities.

Sept. 22, 2020
LA County Concerned Over Uptick in Virus Cases Following Labor Day Holiday
LA County officials begin closely monitoring data to see if the region is beginning to see a feared post-Labor Day spike following an unsettling four-day increase in daily coronavirus case numbers.

Oct. 14, 2020
LA County Sees Rise In Workplace Outbreaks As Infection Rate Creeps Upward
With more businesses reopening, LA County sees a rise in workplace coronavirus outbreaks, while also reporting an uptick in the transmission rate that could translate to more cases.

Friday, Nov. 13, 2020
West Coast COVID-19 Travel Advisory Issued
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, along with the governors of Oregon and Washington, issue a travel advisory urging visitors entering their states or residents returning home to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020
Mandatory Mask Wearing Order Issued in California
After California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces that he was "pulling an emergency brake" following surges in coronavirus case numbers, 41 of 58 counties -- roughly 94% of the state's population -- have been moved into the most-restrictive purple tier.

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020
CDC Begs Americans Not to Travel for Thanksgiving
Governors and mayors across the U.S. ratchet up COVID-19 restrictions amid the record-shattering resurgence of the virus.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020
California's Nighttime Curfew Starts as COVID-19 Cases Spike
California enacts a nighttime curfew as spiking coronavirus cases threaten to swamp health care systems and the state's largest county warned that an even more drastic lockdown could be imminent.

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
LA County Enacts New Stay-at-Home Order
The new measures are to remain until Dec. 20.

Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020
Garcetti Issues 'Targeted Safer at Home Order'
A "Targeted Safer at Home Order'' intended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus was issued Wednesday night by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, mirroring a similar order from Los Angeles County.

Friday, Dec. 11, 2020
California's Health Order Falling on Many Deaf Ears
California health officials are urging the state's residents to stay home as much as possible because of a coronavirus surge taxing the state's hospitals.

Officials reported 75 new COVID-19 deaths in LA County and 9,243 cases. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.

Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020
First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive at LAX
The first batch of Pfizer's authorized COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Los Angeles in a FedEx plane.

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020
LA Nurse Among First in State to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccines are administered to healthcare workers in LA County.

The COVID-19 vaccines were being administered to healthcare workers in Los Angeles County on Monday. Kim Tobin reports for the NBC4 News on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020
California Virus Surge Brings Field Hospitals, Body Bags
Hospitals are filling up so fast in California that officials are rolling out mobile field facilities and scrambling to hire more doctors and nurses to prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus patients.

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020
LA County COVID-19 Deaths Hit New Record
Los Angeles County health officials report record-shattering numbers of virus deaths, cases and hospitalizations that have the emergency medical system "under siege."

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020
California Sets Daily Records for Coronavirus Cases, Deaths
Two people are dying of COVID-19 every hour in California's most populous county.

Thursday, Jan. 1, 2021
LA County Pays Tribute to 2020 COVID-19 Victims With Twitter Campaign
Los Angeles County health officials launched a one-day Twitter campaign Thursday to remind residents of the toll of the coronavirus and pay tribute to those who lost their lives amid the pandemic.

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021
LA County Averaging One COVID-19 Death Every 6 Minutes
COVID-19 deaths continue to mount in Los Angeles County, with another 288 fatalities reported despite signs locally and across the state that hospital admissions due to the virus are leveling off.

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021
Los Angeles County Begins to Loosen COVID-19 Restrictions
With infections and hospitalizations trending downward, state health officials lift all regional stay-at-home orders, including in the 11-county Southern California region, and Los Angeles County authorities said they will align with the state and allow outdoor dining to resume.

Monday, Feb. 8, 2021
Experts Advise Caution as States Lift Restrictions
States are rolling back COVID-19 restrictions as new cases trend down from record highs across the country. But experts warn it might be too much too soon as variants pose an increased risk and the pandemic — almost at the one year mark in the U.S. — is far from over, NBC News reports.

Monday, Feb. 22, 2021
COVID-19 Tests Now Available in City of LA Without Appointments
Starting Monday, Angelenos no longer need an appointment to get a COVID-19 test at sites operated by the city of Los Angeles.

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021
LA County COVID-19 Hospitalizations Down Nearly 80% From January Peak
Los Angeles County reported 1,730 new cases of COVID-19 and 94 additional deaths, while the number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continued to trend downward.

Thursday, March 4, 2021
California Legislature OKs Plan Aimed at In-Person Learning
The California Legislature approves a $6.6 billion plan aimed at returning students to the classroom.

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