SACRAMENTO — California Department of Public Health and Gov. Gavin Newsom have announced a month-long curfew beginning Saturday for all non-essential businesses, travel and gatherings due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases across the state.
The limited stay-at-home order requires counties in the “Widespread,” or purple, tier of the state’s Covid-19 reopening plan to close all non-essential businesses and cease all non-essential “movement” and gatherings from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The order starts Saturday, Nov. 21, at 10 p.m. and remains in effect until 5 a.m. on Dec. 21.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a news release Thursday. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”
The order is the same as the one issued in March, but this time it applies only during the specified time and only in purple-tier counties that are seeing the highest rates of positive cases and hospitalizations. This includes Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.
“We know from our stay-at-home order this spring, which flattened the curve in California, that reducing the movement and mixing of individuals dramatically decreases Covid-19 spread, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services secretary. “We may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly. Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.”
Covid-19 case rates increased by about 50% in California during the first week of November, according to Thursday’s release issued by the governor’s office.
On Monday, the state pulled an “emergency brake” in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, putting more than 94% of California’s population in the most restrictive tier. Last week the state issued a travel advisory, along with Oregon and Washington, urging people entering the state or returning home from travel outside the state to self-quarantine for 14 days to slow the spread of the virus.
“We are asking Californians to change their personal behaviors to stop the surge. We must be strong together and make tough decisions to stay socially connected but physically distanced during this critical time. Letting our guard down could put thousands of lives in danger and cripple our health care system,” said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s acting Public Health Officer. “It is especially important that we band together to protect those most vulnerable around us as well as essential workers who are continuing their critical work amidst this next wave of widespread community transmission across the state. Together we prevented a public health crisis in the spring and together we can do it again.”
In Monterey County, confirmed cases of Covid-19 were up 130 on Thursday, bringing the countywide total to 13,410 cases since tracking began in March. There have been 762 cumulative hospitalizations, an increase of eight since yesterday’s report, and a total of 111 deaths in the county.