California health leaders lift regional stay-at-home orders

25 Janvier, 2021, 22:29 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in Rancho Cordova

"The lifting of regional closures is welcome relief to restaurants that can resume outdoor dining, and businesses such as gyms, hair and nail salons that can now reopen with modifications", NPR's Eric Westervelt reports.

Gavin Newsom is under fire as a result - from the start of the pandemic he's said that his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public.

The western state has suffered one of the nation's worst winter Covid spikes, with hospital intensive care units overwhelmed, ambulances backed up for hours at a time, and cases more than doubling since December to over three million.

The decision comes with improving trends in the rate of infections, hospitalizations and intensive care unit capacity as well as vaccinations. Each regional order urged Californians to stay home except for essential activities, which helped lower disease transmission levels and reduced the burden on the hospital system.

Although The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that officials in the region were feeling hopeful that the order would be lifted soon, the state's department of public health reported Sunday that the Bay Area wasn't eligible to have restrictions loosened based on its projections. An 11-county Northern California region was never under the order.

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State health officials said they used a combination of models to project future ICU capacity, but they're refusing to make them public, saying they rely on a complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead people.

The 10 p.m. -5 a.m. curfew remains in effect until all regions in the state exit the stay-at-home order.

Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley region reported little to no ICU capacity as of January 23.

Fox Business reported on Saturday that many businesses in the Los Angeles area had simply gone "underground", meeting customers at back doors or in alleyways, as struggling entrepreneurs tried to pay the rent and meet basic expenses. Bars that only serve beverages can not be open. The color-coded tiers indicate which activities and businesses can open based on local case rates and test positivity, with yellow being the most lax tier and purple the most restrictive.

California has recorded more than 3.06 million Covid-19 cases, including nearly 36,000 deaths.

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