It seems California is finally beginning to see some progress in the fight against COVID-19.
Public health officials announced on Monday that California has lifted its Regional Stay-At-Home Order, effective immediately. This means the state will now return to the previous color-coded tier system, based on new case and test positivity rates. As many individual counties are still below the 15% ICU capacity threshold, most areas, San Diego County included, will return to the most restrictive purple tier.
Although we still have a ways to go before normalcy returns to California, the lifting of the regional order comes as great news for restaurants across the state, which will be allowed to reopen for outdoor dining under purple tier restrictions. Personal services like salons and barber shops will also be able to reopen with modifications, and outdoor church services will be able to resume.
The lifting of the regional order also ends the curfew, which had previously been in place from 10pm to 5am. Local officials, however, could continue stricter restrictions on a county-by-county basis.
The news comes after public health officials’ evaluation of four-week ICU capacity projections for San Joaquin Valley, the Bay Area and Southern California, which are now above 15%. While the Southern California region’s ICU capacity remains at 0%, the other two regions saw a welcome surge in ICU availability over this past weekend – the Bay Area is now at 23% and the San Joaquin Valley region is now up to 1.3%.
“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón in a press release, CDPH director and state public health officer. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”
The CA Public Health Department says it will continue to provide tier updates on a weekly basis every Tuesday. To find more information about each tier and specific counties, check out the Blueprint for a Safer Economy webpage.
Governor Newsom will provide an update on the statewide pandemic response at 12pm this afternoon, which you can watch live on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
[Featured image: Tyrel Johnson via Unsplash]