Newsom considers new California stay-at-home orders, warns hospitals could be overwhelmed by Christmas

Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomNewsom pledges increased spending on busting retail crime rings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Shipwreck sends waste thousands of miles MORE (D) said Monday that California is considering new stay-at-home orders to prevent hospital intensive care units from being overwhelmed by Christmas. 

The governor suggested during a briefing that if hospitalizations and intensive care unit statistics continue to jump, the state is “going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic action.”

“It will require — and we are assessing this in real time over the next day or two — to make determinations of deep purple moves in those purple-tiered status that is more equivalent, more in line with the stay-at-home order that folks were familiar with at the beginning of this year,” he said, adding that there would be “modifications.”


California has designated 51 of 58 counties as purple, or at the highest-risk for community spread, after six counties were moved up over the weekend. This encompasses more than 99 percent of the state’s population. 

The possibly targeted stay-at-home orders could come as projections indicate that California’s hospitalization capacity could be 78 percent full by Christmas Eve. About 12 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state are estimated to require hospitalization.

Hospitalizations could double or triple from the current numbers to reach that point, the governor said, “without any additional interventions, change of behavior or fundamental shifts in the way we are conducting ourselves as individuals in this state.”

Newsom called the predictions for the intensive care unit capacity “sobering” as the state as a whole is expected to reach capacity by mid-December and be at 112 percent by Christmas Eve. About 10 to 30 percent of those hospitalized are forecasted to need an intensive care unit bed.

“That is the lay of the land in terms of the red flags that are flying. Not yellow flags,” Newsom said.

Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly said during the press conference that ICU capacity would be the “primary trigger” for more restrictions and any stay-at-home orders.

California’s seven-day average in new cases has reached higher than its summer peak with 14,657 new cases per day. The state still ranks 39th across the nation for its seven-day average per 100,000 people.