Officials extended the new stay-at-home order for two regions in California, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, after California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the regions’ intensive care unit capacities (ICU) remaining at 0%.

Extended stay-at-home order

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new regulations required a region to be placed under modified lockdown if or when their ICU capacities dropped below 15%. The new stay-at-home order would be in effect for at least three more weeks.

Authorities have allowed the Greater Sacramento area and the Bay Area to exit the new order as early as January 1 and 8, respectively, if they are able to maintain an ICU capacity above the threshold. However, if they fail to go above the 15% capacity, their stay-at-home orders would also be extended.

As of Tuesday, only Northern California has not implemented the new stay-at-home order and has its ICU capacity at 27.9%. Ghaly said several hospitals in the state are struggling to provide quality health care to their patients amid the pandemic.

The medical professional said, “You can certainly stretch rubber bands pretty far, as we are pushing our hospitals pretty far, but we know that the stretch has a limit before it breaks.”

On Monday, Newsom said the majority of California counties see a flattening in the number of hospitalizations. However, he expressed his concerns about another potential spike in a couple of weeks due to the holiday travel surge, ABC7 reported.

Newsom noted the cellphone data that showed images full of aircraft flying across the state over the last week. He said, “That only suggests that we are going to see an increase in cases across this country, not just in the state of California, as it relates to these travel advisories that were not heeded clearly by everybody.”

State officials have proposed several alternative care sites to support ICUs and help hospitals care for their patients. As of Monday, 67 individuals are being treated in these sites.