Stay-at-home order to take effect in Southern California on Sunday, triggered by ICU capacity’s drop below 15%


LOS ANGELES — Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, California’s new health order went into effect on Saturday afternoon, and a stay-at-home order in Southern California was officially triggered by a drop in ICU capacity at the region’s hospitals.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the statewide order on Thursday as part of his latest effort to keep people from gathering with others from outside their households.

The order divides the state into five regions and connects business shutdowns and travel restrictions to hospital ICU capacity. When a region has fewer than 15% of its ICU beds available, new restrictions are imposed.

The statewide order took effect at 12:59 p.m. Saturday, after which regions have 24 hours to implement the rules, which stay in effect at least three weeks. The rules don’t apply to public schools with in-person learning.

The Southland’s intensive care unit capacity dropped below the 15% threshold on Friday, to 13.1%. That number fell even further on Saturday, to 12.5%, according to the California Department of Public Health.

As a result, the regional order will take effect in the Southern California at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the health department said. The San Joaquin Valley region, whose ICU capacity plummeted to 8.6%, will also enter the new regional order.

“The bottom line is if we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said. “This is the most challenging moment since the beginning of this pandemic.”

RELATED: Gov. Newsom announces new, regional stay-at-home order in California

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