As COVID-19 surges across California, more public health restrictions may be on the horizon in Sacramento County to slow the spread of the virus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new plan Thursday to move regions of the state into a more restrictive stay-at-home order if ICU capacity in the region dips below 15%. While no regions have met the criteria yet, it’s expected that the Greater Sacramento region and others could soon.
Ahead of Newsom’s announcement, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined CapRadio’s Insight Thursday morning to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on the city and the need for heightened restrictions.
“We all ought to be angry at people who are flagrantly violating the public health orders,” Steinberg said.
Here is some of what Steinberg had to share about the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sacramento.
On a potential statewide stay-at-home order
Well, we're all awaiting the governor's announcement at noon and I'm beginning to get some details. But what I know is that it is going to be more restrictive, unfortunately out of necessity. Both the positivity rate and the actual number of cases are rising dramatically statewide, including Sacramento. Our hospitals and our ICUs, of course, are being impacted significantly, and we're in the midst of the holiday season.
The vaccine, of course, is very, very hopeful. But it's not that imminent, certainly not in the next two or three weeks for the majority of the population. And so we, unfortunately, all have to endure this for the greater good, and the greater good is keeping more of our loved ones safe, healthy and alive.
On the impact of the pandemic on local restaurants
I wish there were no restrictions of any kind and that our restaurants, which I know struggle on such a tight margin, were able to do what they do so well and so beautifully here in the Capital City. But I don't know whether that is going to be appropriate given the public health issue. And I know this is a complete no-win. It's a complete no-win certainly for the governor, to have people understandably frustrated and saying, well, you know, in my restaurant, in my sector, we are doing everything right. Yes. But when the overall rate is rising as dramatically as it is, it is really difficult, if not impossible, to make those kinds of differentiations that would allow us to give restaurants more flexibility.
On the resignation of Sacramento County’s top health official, Dr. Peter Beilenson
I know Dr. Beilenson well. We're not only colleagues, we've become friends over the course of time that he has been here, and I think he's done a terrific job. He has been straightforward with people. He has been accessible. He has been transparent. And, of course, like other health officials throughout the state and the country, I know when he took the job, I don't think he expected this was going to be what he would deal with. Who could?
I know that he is going back to Baltimore, where he is from, or at least lived most of his adult life, and he's going back for family reasons. I don't begrudge him putting his family first. The county I think has its challenges, but coronavirus, I have faith in [Public Health Officer] Dr. [Olivia] Kasirye, and Ann Edwards-Buckley, the new interim CEO. I will work very well with them.
On enforcing COVID-19 safety guidelines in Sacramento County
On the issue of enforcement, I think we have to acknowledge that you can't enforce every violation here. Certainly, law enforcement has no ability to enforce violations that occur, for example, inside people's homes or in backyards where a lot of the problem in terms of gatherings is occurring.
I do believe that it is appropriate for some high profile enforcement where there are obvious and flagrant violations of the public health order, whether it's out in the park, whether it is in and around a place of business, because I think that would send a message to people that we may not have the ability to enforce every violation, that you may get caught if you are being flagrant about it. … We all ought to be angry at people who are flagrantly violating the public health orders.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
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