SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The Bay Area’s available ICU capacity has dropped to an alarming 3.0% as of Friday.
When the Bay Area was placed under its regional stay-at-home order on Dec. 17, it was expected to reopen by Jan. 8, 2021 pending the ICU capacity bouncing back up above 15%.
Instead, the region will likely remain closed down for several more weeks, although the governor has not officially announced the extension yet.
California’s regional order requires a three week minimum shutdown when an area’s total ICU capacity falls below 15%.
However, reopening after three weeks is not promised if ICU capacity does not improve. California health officials assess the four-week ICU capacity projections about twice a week.
San Francisco officials did not expect to be able to open by Friday. On New Year’s Eve, the city had extended its local stay-at-home order as well as its travel order indefinitely.
“The extension of both health orders will continue until the Bay Area Region is no longer subject to the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. Once the State lifts its Regional Stay at Home order, San Francisco will reassess the key health indicators to determine if they support relaxing the current restrictions on businesses and activities, and resuming the measured re-opening process, guided by the State’s tier framework.”City of San Francisco on Dec. 31, 2020
None of this comes as a surprise to health officials from the federal to the local level, who had been warning since the start of the winter holiday season that COVID-19 cases will continue jumping if people did not avoid celebrating outside their households.
“We are at our peek our highest levels based most recently on Christmas weekend events,” Dr. Bela Matyas said.
These warnings were not heeded by Americans, as the Transportation Security Administration was reporting record high numbers of travelers in a single-day in the days after Christmas.
“These are very severe restrictions meant to minimize people getting together and spread the disease. Obviously, we are having so much disease because people weren’t paying attention to that order during the holidays season,” Matyas said.
The plunge in open hospital beds across the state comes as cases and deaths continue rising.
According to the California Department of Health’s most recent data, the state recorded 36,385 new cases in a single day, as well as 583 deaths.
The state reports 28,045 total Californians have died from COVID-19.
The United States as whole has crossed the threshold of over 4,000 in a single day, and over a quarter million new cases in a single day.
Here’s what the restrictions look like in the Bay Area under the regional stay-at-home order:
- Grocery stores open at 35% capacity, strict metering of customers and no in-store eating/drinking allowed.
- Socializing: All gatherings with members of other households are prohibited.
- All individuals living in the Region shall stay home or at their place of residence with exceptions.
- Worship and political expression are permitted outdoors only.
- Schools that have previously reopened for in-person instruction may remain open, plans to start in-person learning at schools that have not yet, must pause.
- Retail stores may operate indoors at no more than 20% capacity.
- Restaurants can only open for takeout and delivery.
- Outdoor recreation facilities may continue to operate. Those facilities may not sell food or drink for on-site consumption. Overnight stays at campgrounds are not permitted.
- Hotel/lodges in California can not accept out-of-state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine and the visitors will quarantine in the hotel or lodge.
- Offices allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.
The following must be closed:
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Personal care services
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums
- Movie theaters (except drive-in)
- Wineries, bars, breweries, and distilleries (with exception for production, manufacturing, distribution, and retail sale for off-site consumption)
- Family entertainment centers
- Cardrooms and satellite wagering
- Limited services
- Live audience sports
- Amusement parks
In San Francisco, a travel order requires people who arrived in the county from outside the Bay Area to self-quarantine for 10 days.
In California as a whole, the state is asking people coming from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 10 days. They are also asking California residents not to travel more than 120 miles from their homes for non-essential activities.
Comparing ICU bed capacity in all California regions as of Friday:
- Bay Area 3.0%
- Northern California 27.5%
- Greater Sacramento 6.4%
- San Joaquin Valley 0%
- Southern California 0%