Usually filled with iconic cable cars, California Street is mostly empty on March 17, 2020 in San Francisco, California.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
San Francisco Bay Area health officials announced Friday that they would implement California’s new home stay ordinance early, despite not reaching the state threshold that triggered the new restrictions.
“Today is a really tough day,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed during a press conference. “Our hospital stay rates are increasing locally, especially in our intensive care unit. And it is just as important that hospital stays increase everywhere. So if we run out of beds, there is no other county that can help us.”
On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom said the state would be divided into five regions – the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. If the remaining ICU capacity in any region drops below 15%, a three-week home stay order will be triggered, Newsom said.
The order would require bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons, and barber shops to be temporarily closed. Personal services are companies like nail salons, tattoo parlors, and body waxing companies, according to the state’s website.
Schools that meet state health requirements and critical infrastructure are allowed to remain open. Retail stores could be 20% busy and restaurants could offer take-out and delivery, Newsom said
While none of the regions hit the ICU threshold to trigger the stay-at-home order on Thursday, Newsom warned that each area is expected to drop below 15% of ICU capacity in December. The Bay Area should be the last region to hit that mark, he said.
Health officials for the Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, as well as the city of Berkeley, announced on Friday that they would be implementing the order ahead of schedule. The new restrictions apply until January 4, 2021, depending on the order.
However, the announcement did not include some counties in the Bay Area as defined in state ordinance, including Santa Cruz, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
“It takes several weeks for new restrictions to slow the rise in hospital stays, and it’s just too late to wait until only 15 percent of an area’s ICU beds are available,” said Dr. San Francisco health officer Tomas Aragon in a statement. “In many severely affected parts of our region, fewer than 15 percent of the beds in the intensive care unit are already available and now the time has come to act.”
California reports a weekly average of approximately 16,392 Covid-19 cases per day, an increase of more than 21% from a week. This comes from a CNBC analysis of the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Grant Colfax, director of public health for San Francisco, said based on current trends, San Francisco hospitals would run out of intensive care beds on December 26th.
“Our ICU bed capacity in the ICU in San Francisco is rapidly decreasing,” said Colfax. “We are in an extremely volatile position for our healthcare system.”
Following Newsom’s announcement on Thursday, a tweet indicated that while the contract was not yet applicable to San Francisco, the county was “carefully examining the local data and talking to our neighboring countries about the next steps.”
“I don’t want to do any of this,” said Breed on Friday. “I know this means that people’s jobs, their businesses and their livelihoods are at stake. It will be painful.”