Covid-19, novel coronavirus 2019
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) (CDC Image)

SACRAMENTO — New stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday will be based on intensive care unit capacity in five regions in California.

Newsom said much of the state will likely be under the stay-at-home orders within the next few days if ICU capacity falls below 15% due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He predicts that the Bay Area — the region in which Santa Cruz and Monterey counties fall — will reach that point in mid- to late-December, while Northern California, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California will do so by early December.

“If we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said.

If the orders are triggered, private gatherings of any size will be prohibited, and all but essential services and businesses will be closed.

Newsom moved Santa Cruz County into the most restrictive tier (purple) of the state’s reopening plan on Nov. 16, while Monterey County has continued to stay in that tier as well.

The purple tier still allowed restaurants, gyms and other businesses to offer outdoor services. When the orders issued Thursday are triggered, those activities will be prohibited.

Wineries, bars, hair salons, barbershops and personal care services must also close.

Schools that have received waivers can remain open. Retail businesses can stay open at 20% capacity, and restaurants can continue carryout and delivery services.

The new order will remain in effect for at least three weeks, and after that period will be lifted when a region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15%.

The good news, Newsom said, is that California is set to receive 327,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from the Pfizer drug company, which will first be given to medical facilities and workers, clinics and long-term care facilities, among others.

Newsom called the impending vaccines the “light at the end of the tunnel,” and said he does not expect to have to issue restrictions again.

“We will get through this,” he said. “This is the final surge.”


In Monterey County, confirmed cases of Covid-19 increased by more than 1,100 in just the past week, including 194 new cases reported Thursday. 

This brings the countywide total to 15,765 cases since tracking began in March. In addition, there are currently 85 hospitalizations and a total of 128 deaths — an increase of four since yesterday’s report — in the county.

Salinas has the most confirmed cases at 8,050, followed by South County at 4,573, Peninsula/Big Sur at 1,619 and North County at 1,523, as of Thursday’s latest report from the Monterey County Health Department.

Within South County, Soledad and Greenfield have the most cases — 1,599 and 1,188, respectively. King City is next with 974 cases, followed by Gonzales with 624, Chualar with 93, San Ardo with 62 and San Lucas with 17. There are also 16 cases classified as “other.”

Pajaronian reporter Todd Guild contributed to this story.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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