Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted regional stay-at-home orders on Monday and announced the state is returning to a system of county-by-county restrictions intended to stem the spread of the coronavirus, two administration officials with knowledge said.
The decision comes with improving trends in the rate of infections, hospitalizations and intensive care unit capacity as well as vaccinations. The order had been in place in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The change will allow businesses such as restaurants to resume outdoor operations in many areas.
“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,” Dr. Tomas Aragon, the state’s public health director, said in a statement.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to address the public later Monday.
During the weekend, San Francisco Bay Area ICU capacity surged to 23% while the San Joaquin Valley increased to 1.3%, its first time above zero. The huge Southern California region, the most populous, remains at zero ICU capacity.
The change is based on projections, but the state has not disclosed the data behind the forecasts.
Then, as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations exploded, Newsom put in place a new system that grouped counties into five regions: Southern California, San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento and Northern California. Stay-at-home orders took effect if a region’s ICU capacity fell below 15%.