Governor Gavin Newsom lifted California's regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders Monday morning — a move that will allow for the resumption of outdoor dining, as well as at least some services at gyms, barber shops and nail salons, among other businesses.
Counties will return to the color-coded tier system, with most counties returning to the 'purple' most restrictive tier, including us here in Riverside County.
You can review the 'purple' tier restrictions HERE.
Officials with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) made the announcement, lifting the order for all regions statewide, including the three regions that had still been under the order (San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern California.)
Officials said that four-week ICU capacity projections for these three regions are above 15%, the threshold that allows regions to exit the order. The Sacramento Region exited the order on January 12 and the Northern California region never entered the order.
Tier updates are provided weekly on Tuesdays. Individual counties can still choose to impose stricter rules, if they feel necessary.
“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, 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 Los Angeles Times reported Newsom's intention to lift the order on Sunday night, quoting "sources briefed on the plan by the governor's office."
According to the Times, most counties in the state would go into the "widespread risk tier," allowing certain businesses to reopen with modifications.
Newsom's Office of Emergency Services also confirmed to CBS2 on Sunday night that the order could be lifted.
"We see promising signs that California is slowly emerging from the most intense stage of this pandemic,'' Brian Ferguson, deputy direct for crisis communication, told the station.
"We continue to look at what that means for the regional stay-at-home order and anticipate that the state Department of Public Health will provide a formal update (this) morning.''
Also, a letter from the California Restaurant Association dated Sunday read, "Late this evening, senior officials in the Newsom administration informed us that the governor will announce tomorrow that the stay-at-home order will be lifted in all regions of the state.''
The news came as the Riverside University Health System has reported 258,352 coronavirus cases since the public health documentation period began in early March, and 2,777 deaths stemming from virus-related complications. The agency does not provide updated statistics on weekends.
On Friday, 2,500 new cases were reported compared with 2,739 Thursday, plus 38 virus-related deaths, while COVID-19 hospitalizations countywide fell.
The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates and cover three- to four-week periods, sometimes longer.
COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide were at 1,497 Friday, a drop of 32 from Thursday. That includes 335 intensive care unit patients, unchanged from a day ago. The county's COVID patient count generally has been trending down since Jan. 12.
The number of known active virus cases countywide was 78,752 Friday, up 1,116. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total -- 258,352-- according to the county Executive Office.
Verified patient recoveries countywide are at 177,003.
On Thursday, the county's SARS-Cov-2 vaccination reservation portal crashed because of heavy traffic that filled all available slots for weekend immunization clinics countywide. Interim county CEO Juan Perez apologized for the disruption, and the Executive Office replaced the website.
The new appointment portal can be accessed via www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Guidelines on how to book appointments are available on the site.
Clinics are planned Monday to Friday, with some slots reserved specifically for residents in tier 1 of Phase 1B -- those who are 65 years and older -- under the California Department of Public Health's revised vaccination guidance.
The county's overall COVID-19 positive rate is 23.8%, down from 25.8% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.
The 11-county Southern California region's ICU availability officially remains at 0%.
The regional ICU bed metric was a key benchmark under Gov. Gavin Newsom's regional stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Dec. 6. The order was triggered when ICU bed availability across Southern California fell below 15%.
The mandate was expected to remain in effect until bed availabilities recover.
The stay-at-home order has impacted bars, theaters, museums, hair salons, indoor recreational facilities, amusement parks and wineries -- all of which were supposed to remain closed. Restaurants have been confined to takeout and delivery, with capacity limitations on retail outlets.