Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted heavily at a new stay-at-home order Monday while warning that California hospitals are on track to run out of intensive care unit beds by mid-December.
“We are assessing this in real time, over the next day or two,” Newsom said during a COVID-19 briefing from his home, where he is quarantined after his children were exposed to a CHP officer who tested positive for the virus.
But by Tuesday evening, officials in at least five counties in the state’s most restrictive purple tier had not been informed of any official plans to implement new restrictions beyond what the governor floated Monday.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s top health official said Monday he was “in constant contact” with local health officers and hospital administrators about the current case surge and its impact on health care capacity.
Despite holding a call with local public health employees Tuesday, state officials did not provide any new details on possible new restrictions, said Daniel Kim, a spokesperson for San Joaquin Public Health.
Over the summer, San Joaquin hospitals received medical staff assistance from the military to aid with overflowing ICUs in the county. While hospitals in the county are already feeling another strain, “there is no guarantee we would receive that higher level of federal assistance again,” said another county spokesperson, Marissa Matta.
Spokespersons in a handful of other counties described being “aware of the rumor mill” on new restrictions but “in a holding pattern” while awaiting more details.
“Final information regarding the additional measures has not been communicated to our county,” said Brenda Bongiorno, a Sacramento County spokesperson. She said the county health department “will support the State’s efforts in working to slow the surge of cases.”
On Tuesday, California’s average seven-day positivity rate reached 7% — up from 6.5% the day before. The state also moved Mono County from the red to the purple tier, leaving fewer than 1% of Californians in counties where restaurants, worship services and other activities are permitted indoors.
The state reported 12,221 new cases on Tuesday and a total of 9,049 hospitalizations — that’s up from 6,641 hospitalizations a week earlier.
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