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Covid-19 Christmas Lockdown Likely Starts Sunday; ICU Capacity Drops Dramatically & Cases Surge In Southern California

Deadline

Surging coronavirus cases and tumbling intensive-care unit bed availability looks almost certain to plunge Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California into a new lockdown period this weekend.

Coming much quicker than anticipated, the state’s Department of Public Health late Friday night declared that ICU capacity has fallen fast to just 13.1% for Southern California.

If the area remains just one more day below the 15% threshold deemed the danger point by Governor Gavin Newsom on December 3, then his regional stay-at-home order would come into effect early Sunday.

Once triggered, the state order automatically goes into effect for three weeks.

In this case, that means hard hit Southern California would be essentially locked down over Hanukkah and Christmas and right up until at the least the cusp of 2021. The order could go on even longer, depending on the finds of health officials as they examine hospital bed capacity, transmission rates and case growth.

The news tonight of the plummet to below that 15% grade follows LA Mayor Eric Garcetti warning on Friday evening that the stay-at-home order may become reality “this weekend or as early as next week.” The LA County Department of Public Health on Friday said there was a new high of 8,860 cases in the region and 2,668 people hospitalized right now. About 24% of those hospitalized with coronavirus are in ICU.

Overall, LA County has “roughly” 2,500 ICU bed in total, Health Services Director Christina Ghaly asserted on December 3.

Gov. Newsom on Thursday outlined how the state has been broken down for Covid-19 organizational purposes into the five regions of South California, the Bay Area, Rural Northern California, the Greater Sacramento Region and the San Joaquin Valley. Experiencing a freefall of more than 7% in ICU capacity in less than 24 hours, the sprawling Southern California region is made up of LA County, Orange County, as well as Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, Imperial, Mono, San Bernardino, Inyo, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara counties.

Even as their ICU capacity is a relatively okay 21.2% as of tonight, a number of counties in the Bay Area have already enacted the stay-at-home anyway in anticipation. Also, in severe bed shortage like SoCal, the San Joaquin Valley has an ICU capacity of 14.1% right now, according to CDPH data

Overriding city and county measures, that strict directive by Gov. Newsom would require all citizens of the region in question to remain in their homes except for essential matters like the masked and social distanced getting of food and exercise. In addition, as private gatherings are not allowed, there would be travel restrictions and retail capacity would be  slashed to 20%. Outdoor dining, bars, playgrounds, zoos, museums, wineries and salons, among others, will be closed down  Food pick-up would still be allowed and a number of essentials services like childcare will still be allowed to be open, at least for now.

LA City and County officials are expected to address the situation on Saturday morning. Nationwide, the numbers are looking equally alarming as they do in the Southland.

here have been 14.4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 this year and around 280,000 deaths, a figure many consider on the conservative side. New York state has seen the most fatalities from the coronavirus so far, with over 34,000. Texas has had nearly 23,00 death and California has suffered 19,800.

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