By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Due to an alarming decrease in ICU capacity in San Bernardino County and throughout Southern California, residents and businesses here are now under a State-mandated Regional Stay Home Order. The new order went into effect at midnight on Sunday and will remain in place for at least three weeks.
“Our county’s hospitalization rate has been rising rapidly for several weeks and our ICU capacity is dwindling toward the single digits. We must ensure capacity for our sickest and most vulnerable residents,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “That’s why county leadership and the county’s healthcare and public heath teams are working tirelessly and employing all innovations to increase capacity and move us toward better community health and safety.”
The new State order segments the state into five separate regions. San Bernardino County is part of the Southern California region, which also includes Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley regions are currently under the State stay-at-home mandate.
The State Regional Stay Home Order (PDF), announced December 3, 2020, and a supplemental order, signed December 6, 2020, goes into effect the day after a region has been announced to have less than 15% ICU availability. These orders prohibit private gatherings of any size, close sector operations except for critical infrastructure and retail, and require 100% masking and physical distancing in all others. The Southern California region currently has a 10.1% ICU availability, as of today, Dec. 8. Once triggered, these State directives will remain in effect for at least 3 weeks. After that period, they will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%. This will be assessed on a weekly basis after the initial 3 week period. Learn more about these orders on the California Department of Public Health website.
The State order limits retail stores to 20% capacity and 35% for standalone grocery stores. Eating or drinking inside stores is prohibited. Non-essential businesses, meaning those that are not defined as critical infrastructure, must close for in-person activities, with the exception of retail. Essential work is permitted to continue. The new rules also ban non-essential travel, but outdoor recreation facilities will remain open.
Details on what constitutes essential work and businesses, as well as many other Frequently Asked Questions, can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/.
“The decrease in our ICU capacity is not to be taken lightly. We must do what we can to ensure we have the resources to treat those who need help the most. That’s why the County continues to urge everyone to wear masks, physically distance, and avoid gatherings whenever possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman, noting that local data clearly shows that private gatherings of families and friends continues are far and away the leading source of spread within San Bernardino County.
“At the same time, we will continue to work on behalf of our residents and businesses for fair and effective safety measures, and, most of all, securing adequate amounts of vaccine as soon as they are available,” Hagman said.
The County’s posture on the State’s order will be to continue to educate and engage with businesses and organizations on a cooperative basis on safe practices and current health orders, and respond to complaints about violations as appropriate on a case-by-case basis. Complaints can be made through the County’s COVID-19 website.
County attorneys, at the Board of Supervisors’ direction, are continuing to examine what legal options might be available to provide relief to struggling businesses in those areas of the county with lower COVID-19 numbers than the county as a whole.