Gavin Newsom to address coronavirus surge in California, possible new stay-at-home order

As the coronavirus outbreak in California surges out of control, Gov. Gavin Newsom will speak publicly Thursday afternoon for the first time since Monday, when he hinted tighter restrictions could be looming.
At noon Thursday, Newsom is scheduled to address the rising number of cases and hospitalizations in California, which both soared to record highs Wednesday, and could impose another stay-at-home order.
“If these trends continue,” Newsom said Monday, “we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.”
Under California’s current reopening guidelines, 99% of the state’s population already falls under the most restrictive purple tier — 51 of 58 counties in the state, and all but Marin County in the Bay Area — but those counties could be designated “deep purple,” with restrictions that resemble those from the spring, Newsom said.
In those places, it’s not just case rates but the capacity in local hospitals and intensive care units that state health officials are monitoring in “real time,” Newsom said.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s top health official, said on Monday that ICU capacity was “what we worry about at this time specifically,” and that could be the “primary trigger for deeper, more restrictive actions.”
“Because when that capacity goes away,” Ghaly said, “… we know the quality of care sometimes takes a dip and we see outcomes we don’t want to see.”
COVID-positive patients currently occupy about 25% of all the ICU beds in the state, while about 23% remain open, though some hospitals are verging on capacity.
On Tuesday, the number of Californians in ICUs climbed over 2,000 for the first time since the height of the summer surge, with about 1,800 beds still available, according to the California Department of Public Health. That same day, the total number of Californians hospitalized with the virus grew to over 8,500, nearly 20% higher than the peak during the summer surge.
The state is averaging nearly 15,000 new cases per day, more than any other point of the pandemic, and its positivity rate, which was 5.3% two weeks ago and as low as 3% at the start of November, has reached 7.3%.
In Santa Clara County, nearly nine in 10 hospital beds are full, and no hospital in the county has more than five open ICU beds, officials said Wednesday. In San Mateo County, about eight in 10 hospital beds are occupied, while in Alameda County, about two in five remain open.
On Monday, Newsom said about 59% of all hospital beds in California were occupied but that number was projected to grow to 78% by Christmas. In the Bay Area about 58% of hospital beds were full Monday and projected to fill to 62% by Christmas, Newsom said.
Check back for updates.

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