Jan 26, 2021 - Health

California lifts coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Diners eat on the patio at Fish Camp in Huntington Beach, California.
Diners eat on the patio at Fish Camp in Huntington Beach, California. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday lifted stay-at-home orders across the state, saying "we're seeing a flattening of the curve."

Why it matters: The move, welcomed by many businesses, surprised some health care officials who fear lifting the restrictions may reverse the progress made in reducing the number of cases and hospitalizations, per AP.

The big picture: Newsom announced the criteria for implementing the regional stay-at-home order in early December amid a surge in cases and ICU hospitalizations. The order was triggered when a region dropped below 15% ICU capacity.

  • Officials said Monday that data models forecast all regions will exceed the 15% threshold four weeks from now, and therefore would meet the criteria to exit the order, per the Los Angeles Times.
  • Counties will now move back to a colored tier system that assesses local risk levels based on case numbers and positivity rates, the L.A. Times reported.
  • Overnight curfews have also also canceled.
  • The Southern California, Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley regions, which were under regional stay-at-home orders, could begin to reopen some businesses unless local officials impose stricter restrictions.
  • Officials in several areas, including L.A. County and San Francisco, said they would begin to reopen salons and allow restaurants to resume outdoor dining.

What he's saying: "Today, we can lay claim to starting to see some real light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to case numbers," Newsom said at news conference Monday.

  • "Everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down — case rates, positivity rates, hospitalizations, ICUs," he continued.
  • "Each region’s a little bit different, but we are in a position projecting four weeks forward with a significant decline in the case rates, positivity rates."

Yes, but: Cases and "hospitalizations are beginning to decline across the state. But compared to when [Newsom] established the stay-at-home order framework..., total confirmed cases have more than doubled, daily confirmed cases have increased, the seven- and 14-day positivity rates are higher and ICU capacity is lower in each region of the state except Northern California," the L.A. Times notes.

By the numbers: California recorded 27,007 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and 328 new deaths, according to the state's dashboard.

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