Governor Newsom lifts statewide COVID-19 stay at home orders


California Governor Gavin Newsom concludes his press conference on Jan. 25, 2021 where he announced an end to the statewide lockdown.

By Aleea Evangelista

California Governor Gavin Newsom ends the stay at home order among all five regions of the state in a Jan. 25 COVID-19 news conference.

On Dec. 3, Newsom announced a regional stay at home order spurred on by limited ICU availability among hospitals statewide. California surpassed 3 million coronavirus cases on Jan. 19, as 1 out of every 13 Californians tests positive.

Despite lifting the stay at home order, Newsom cautions to uphold mask restrictions and social distancing to fulfill the framework of the Blueprint For a Safer Economy infrastructure.

“Now, as we’ve lifted the stay at home order, we move back into this Blueprint [For a Safer Economy],” explained Newsom. “We’re not just reopening, but we’re reopening in these tiers.”

According to the state’s tier data on Jan. 25, 54 counties are in the purple tier, three counties in the red tier and one county in the orange tier. There are currently no counties in the yellow tier. Ventura County—along with all other Southern California counties—remains in the purple tier, which indicates a widespread status of the coronavirus that instructs nonessential businesses and services to remain closed.

The move to lift the stay at home order was prompted by regional ICU projections based on variables such as the current estimated ICU available capacity, current community transmission and current regional case rate.

A 4-week ICU projection by region was released by the California Department of Public Health
A 4-week ICU projection by region was released by the California Department of Public Health

According to the California Department of Public Health, Southern California will have a projected ICU capacity of 33.3% on Feb. 1, which is well above the required 15% capacity to exit the stay at home order.

CDPH director, Dr. Tomás Aragón, expressed his optimism at the improving conditions for ICUs impacted by the coronavirus but urges Californians to do their part in promoting public health.

“Together we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains,” said Aragón in a statement. “COVID-19 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.”

Newsom noted a 19.8% decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations over 14 days and the state’s urgent response to the virus’s surge. In order to combat the surge, California has delivered 1 billion pieces of personal protective equipment, prioritized vaccinating healthcare workers and deployed 5,175 clinical staff members within hospitals.

Newsom explained the state’s increased approach to “triple our rate of administration of the vaccine” throughout the state. California aims to fulfill a 10-day challenge of administering 1 million more vaccines in 10 days. The state has identified three key steps to achieve this goal: simplify the vaccine eligibility framework, standardized vaccine data and addressing vaccine supply issues.

The state seeks to prioritize disproportionately impacted communities such as Californians 65+ years old, healthcare workers and agricultural workers. California will implement an age-based eligibility framework that allows the most vulnerable age groups to receive the vaccine.

California Governor Gavin Newsom
California Governor Gavin Newsom ends the stay at home order among all five regions of the state on Jan. 25, 2021 in a virtual press conference.

A new scheduling system for Californians will launch for the state and a data system named My Turn will be used by vaccinators. LA County and San Diego County have implemented a pilot program for My Turn that allows residents 65+ years old to make appointments at vaccine clinics. My Turn is set to launch in early February for the entire state.

Many vaccine providers have opted for a conservative approach to vaccine doses, in which the first dose is administered but the second dose is saved. California has instructed vaccine providers to use their full supply of vaccines or could risk losing the supply.

With the lifting of the stay at home order, the future spread of coronavirus in heavily impacted regions remain uncertain. Los Angeles County—with over 1 million positive cases—has suspended the county’s air quality limits in order to increase the county’s cremation limits in order to keep up with the rising death toll from coronavirus.