New COVID measures take effect in San Francisco, Santa Clara County

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

Newsom hints at another statewide stay-at-home order 

AS California’s COVID-19 rates continue to soar, cities across the Bay Area are implementing new measures to hinder the spread of the virus.

Most of the state has been placed in the most-restrictive tier, meaning they must follow a limited stay-at-home order as introduced by the state last month. San Francisco is the latest county to move into the purple tier over the weekend, placing the area under curfew daily from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and limiting nonessential activities and gatherings during this time period. The order began on Monday, November 30 for San Francisco and will run until December 21.

“We have to get this under control now and we can’t afford to let things continue at this rate. Please, please do your part and encourage those around you to do the same,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed wrote in a Twitter post on Nov. 28.

Due to the purple tier assignment, San Francisco has closed indoor movie theaters, indoor gyms and fitness centers, indoor museums, zoos, and services at houses of worship. Non-essential indoor retail has been reduced to 25% capacity.

The city previously issued a travel advisory for those traveling outside of the Bay Area but remaining in state to self-quarantine for 14 days after return and to continue measures like social distancing and wearing face coverings.

As of Wednesday, December 2, San Francisco has recorded 15,792 cases and 160 deaths.
Seven other Bay Area counties in the purple tier are Alameda, Napa, Contra Costa, Sonoma, Solano, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Travel limits

Meanwhile in Santa Clara County, a new travel quarantine order took effect this week wherein anyone — both residents and non-residents — who traveled more than 150 miles (whether by air, car, train or any other mode of transportation) from the county will have to follow a 14-day quarantine upon entering.

Licensed health care professionals and those who travel to perform an essential governmental function are exempt from the mandatory quarantine, the county clarified.

Even with the new measure, officials are warning that hospitals could continue to be overwhelmed and that ICUs are reaching over 90% capacity.

“We continue to be at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity, with typically used beds in our hospitals potentially exceeding capacity by mid-December if the trend continues,” Dr. Jennifer Tong, Associate Chief Medical Officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, told CBS Bay Area.

The county has recorded 35,457 COVID-19 cases and 482 deaths, as of this writing.
Statewide caution

Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom said that the state could see a more restrictive stay-at-home order given that 51 counties are now in the purple tier of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system.

“If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguable drastic, action,” Newsom said during an online press conference on Monday.

The state added 20,759 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to  1,245,948 positive cases.

Meanwhile, 113 new deaths were recorded for a total of 19,324.

The number of hospitalizations due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in California reached a total of 9,365, an increase of 316 from the prior day total. The number of ICU patients due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases in California reached a total of 2,121, an increase of 121 from the prior day total.

If the uptick continues, the governor warned that the 78% of the hospital beds across the state could be filled by Christmas Eve and ICU beds occupied by mid-December.

“We’re now looking in real time at hospitalization numbers and ICU capacity in those regions,” he said. “We are assessing this in real time over the next day or two to make determinations of deep purple moves in those purple tier status (counties) that is more equivalent, more in line with the stay-at-home order that folks were familiar with at the beginning of this year, with modifications in terms of the work that we are currently doing.”

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