California Gov. Gavin Newsom is weighing further restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise. (Genaro Molina/Pool/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is weighing further restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise. (Genaro Molina/Pool/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Newsom considering new shelter-in-place order as COVID-19 cases rise

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday warned that he may need to reinstate a stay-at-home order as California sees record numbers of coronavirus cases and overwhelmed hospitals.

Reidents in the counties in the strictest purple tier of California’s COVID-19 watchlist could be required to shelter-in-place once again should current projections hold. San Francisco entered the purple tier on Saturday, which triggered new restrictions including a curfew that starts Monday night.

California’s coronavirus hospitalizations have increased 89 percent in the last two weeks and reached the highest levels since the pandemic began — even before the expected holiday surge.

The Bay Area’s ICU beds are 72 percent full and are expected to hit 91 percent by Dec. 24 before being fully occupied in early January. California overall is expected to be at 112 percent capacity by Dec. 24 without intervention, according to projections Newsom presented at a briefing on Monday.

“If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action,” Newsom said. “Current projections show hospitalizations could increase two to three times the current amount in one month.”

Newsom said state officials would make a determination on the potential to reimpose a shelter-in-place order in counties in the purple tier in the next day or two.

San Francisco became the 51st of 58 counties in the purple tier over the weekend and must institute a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Monday. Indoor and non-essential businesses must shut down as well while retail businesses except grocery stores must reduce capacity from 50 percent to 25 percent.

Schools that have already re-opened may stay open.

“The data are clear: the current surge of COVID-19 cases is more aggressive and widespread than we have previously experienced,” Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement on Saturday. “The assignment by the state to the most restrictive tier is indicative of how widespread this virus is. We need everyone to be diligent or a further roll backs of activities may be necessary.”

The City is experiencing a daily average of 130 new confirmed coronavirus cases, up from the 73 daily average during the first week of November.

Newsom said state officials would determine whether to reimpose a stay-at-home order for purple counties in the next day or two.

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