Update 10:45 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4, 2020
San Diego County is expected to see new coronavirus restrictions in the coming days.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is reporting the state’s Southern California region has just 13% of ICU beds available, triggering a “regional stay at home order.”
While the regional number bringing restrictions is below the state’s 15% threshold, San Diego County officials reported Friday an ICU availability of 23%. (The Southern California region includes the counties of San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.)
A CDPH spokesperson told KPBS that restrictions targeting personal care businesses, restaurants and others will go into effect this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. if the Southern California region again sees an ICU availability of less than 15%.
Californians are being told to prepare for a new “regional stay at home order ” that could hit most of the state, including San Diego county, by next week.
The new order would prohibit private gatherings of any size, close outdoor dining operations for restaurants and shutter some businesses including salons and barbershops for at least three weeks.
The regional restrictions will be triggered if ICU availability in the Southern California region dips below 15%, but it is this “regional” grouping that some are concerned about. San Diego county is being lumped in with Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
“I have not had the opportunity to discuss with the governor or his staff the reasoning behind this lumping together,” San Diego Mayor-elect Todd Gloria said. “I want to know more about it, but on its face, I believe what they’re trying to say is none of us are living in a siloed environment. We know in San Diego county we are welcoming and assisting residents from Imperial county from their cases and lack of infrastructure.”
The counties San Diego is being grouped with are bringing our numbers down. Collectively the state said the Southern California region’s ICU availability is at 20%, but that’s lower than San Diego County’s ICU availability which is around 23%. Both those figures are from data through Thursday. As of press time, data for Friday has not been published yet.
“When you look at the differences between our numbers and some of the other counties that we’re collected with, it does invite questions,” Gloria said. He said he will ask the governor more about this.
A handful of Bay Area counties plan to implement the state’s regional stay at home order starting this weekend. Health officers in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley said aggressive action is needed to slow the virus’ surge.
On Friday, a San Diego county spokesperson said local health officials do not plan to make a similar move.
A San Diego County Sheriff’s department spokesperson said with the looming restrictions they do not have any plans for changes in enforcement or increase patrols, adding that deputies will continue responding to complaints.
According to the state, if the regional stay at home order goes into effect the following sectors must close: indoor and outdoor playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities, hair salons and barbershops, personal care services, wineries, breweries, bars, cardrooms, zoos and aquariums.
Some of those closures are already covered in the purple tier.
Restaurants will still be permitted for takeout and delivery only, indoor retail stores and shopping centers would be allowed to operate at 20% capacity, while hotels and offices can be open for critical infrastructure sectors. Outdoor recreation facilities can continue to operate without any food or alcohol sales and churches can still hold outdoor services.
Professional sports would be allowed to continue without live crowds.
For parents, schools already open can stay open.
There is some financial relief for business owners available right now. San Diego County has $20 million set aside for operations impacted by the pandemic, applications for funding are open now.
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