Bay Area Residents Hopeful of Lifting Lockdown Restrictions as ICU Availability Goes Above Threshold

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After weeks of having a critical number of available intensive care units, the Bay Area freed up 23.4% of its ICU beds on Saturday, as what many believe is a sign that the worst of the pandemic is over.

However, many were still anxious about when officials would lift the lockdown restrictions in the region. Supposedly, authorities said they would open up the state after it went over 15% availability of its intensive care unit beds in a four-week projection.

Regional Stay-at-Home Order

Several counties across the state, including the Bay Area, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties, have well exceeded the required threshold of ICU capacity. However, Sacramento officials lifted their stay-at-home order over a week ago despite having only 11.9% ICU capacity, just a little over half of how many the Bay Area has.

On Saturday, state public health officials did not reveal any information or projection as to when the region’s lockdown could be lifted. Marin County’s public health officer, Matt Willis, commended the region’s numbers, saying he was confident that the Bay Area’s restrictions would be removed very soon. “It’s the state’s call. But we’re all looking at the same numbers, and we’re all feeling hopeful,” he said.

On Friday, San Francisco City Mayor London Breed said the city could “soon start reopening under California’s guidelines” due to the reduced transmission data that officials have recorded.

Activities permitted under California’s purple tier could once again be allowed if or when the lockdown restrictions are lifted, such as outdoor dining. Additionally, residents could have outdoor gatherings with individuals outside of their households but would still be limited to only having three households together at a time.

In projecting the four-week ICU availability, California health officials utilized a complicated formula that they did not reveal to the public. “At the moment, the projections are not being shared publicly,” spokeswoman Ali Bay of the Department of Public Health said, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Sacramento’s ICU availability was at 9% when officials withdrew their regional stay-at-home order. San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa said due to state officials not explaining the situation properly; many were led astray. Information should be “clear, concise, and most importantly have to avoid confusion,” he said, noting, however, that the numbers were pointing towards a positive route the state was taking.

“My concern is that the public will hear this and think it’s safe to go out with a business as usual attitude. I, too, would like to dine in at my favorite restaurants, but for now, I will stay at home and order takeout. If we can keep these numbers down over the next month, then I say bravo. I’ll be the first in line to get a haircut at the barbershop. In the meantime, stay home if you can, avoid gatherings and wear your damn masks,” Canepa said.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.