California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has lifted the stay-at-home order put in place due to the spread of the coronavirus for all states, with officials citing “positive signs” of a slower spread.
“We see promising signs that California is slowly emerging from the most intense stage of this pandemic. 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 tomorrow morning,” said Brian Ferguson, the Deputy Director for Crisis Communication & Public Affairs from the Governor’s Office.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said California is beginning to “emerge from the most dangerous surge” of the coronavirus pandemic.
“California is slowly starting to emerge from the most dangerous surge of this pandemic yet, which is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been hoping for,” Ghaly said in a statement.
“Seven weeks ago, our hospitals and front-line medical workers were stretched to their limits, but Californians heard the urgent message to stay home when possible and our surge after the December holidays did not overwhelm the health care system to the degree we had feared,” he added.
“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,” Aragón added. “COVID-19 [coronavirus] 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.”
“Hospitalizations and newly confirmed cases have been falling in California, and health officials are growing more optimistic that the worst of the latest surge is over. The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has slipped below 19,000 statewide, a drop of more than 10 percent in two weeks,” NBC Los Angeles reported, adding that the “positivity rate for people being tested has dropped by 15 percent statewide in the last week.”
Regarding Los Angeles County, the most populous in the state, NBC Los Angeles reported:
On Sunday, the county reported 8,243 new cases of COVID-19 and 98 additional deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 1,073,111 cases and 15,260 fatalities. There were 6,697 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in the county as of Sunday, down from 6,881 a day earlier. That number had reached a peak of more than 8,000 earlier this year.
But while that number is down, health care workers and ICU capacity remain overwhelmed, with the Southern California Region continuing to have zero percent available ICU space and remaining under the Regional Stay at Home Order.
California officials, who have locked down most of the state since the spread surged last March, have faced backlash from residents in the state over the forced closure of business, particularly from those in rural communities who have defied the orders. California churches have also stood up to state officials, particularly Newsom, who aimed to keep their doors closed due to the coronavirus.
Fox Business reported Saturday that many businesses in the Los Angeles area had simply gone “underground,” meeting customers at back doors or in alleyways, as struggling entrepreneurs tried to pay the rent and meet basic expenses.
Newsom originally enforced a stay-at-home order for the state last March in an effort to “bend the curve in the state,” saying residents will “learn to adapt.”