New stay-at-home orders for California don’t seem to matter at their end of the spectrum.
A new threshold of intensive care unit capacity hitting 15% or less is triggering the restrictions during a three-week period of spiking COVID-19 cases. San Mateo County is ignoring implementing the order, despite expectations to drop into that range within days, while the San Francisco Bay Area is following it, despite not yet hitting that range.
The state set a record Friday with 25,068 new COVID-19 cases, according to the California Department of Public Health. With a population of about 777,000, San Mateo County recorded 177 new cases and six deaths Friday.
San Mateo County officials announced that they would not issue a stay-at-home order for county residents. Instead, they will continue with the state system that places San Mateo in Tier 1. The order would have temporarily closed the county’s bars, wineries, nail salons, tattoo parlors and barber shops, but retail stores could operate at 20% capacity and restaurants could serve takeout and delivery.
“We know our residents have sacrificed and patience is growing thin, but we need you to know that you have the power to curb the spread and preserve hospital capacity for those who will need care in the coming weeks,” San Mateo County Manager Michael Callagy said in a statement. “We can get through this together if each of us takes action now to social-distance, wear face coverings and avoid gatherings.”
San Francisco Bay Area Health officials are not even waiting for ICU capacity to dip to Southern California counties’ levels below 15%. The stay-at-home orders go into effect for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and Marin counties until Jan. 4.
“I don’t want to do any of this,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a joint press conference Friday. “I know this means people’s jobs, their businesses, their livelihoods are at stake. This is going to be painful.”
It already is.