California public health officials on Tuesday renewed the statewide stay-at-home order, which was due to expire the same day, as the spike in COVID-19 infections that began early this month continued, as evidenced by 84 new infections and one new death reported in Pasadena.
The order, which includes restrictions such as a curfew for essential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., had been scheduled to expire on Tuesday, a month after it was enacted on Nov. 21. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated Monday that it would likely be extended as the viral surge showed little sign of slowing down.
It coincides with a more stringent Regional Stay-at-Home order issued on Dec. 3, which, among other restrictions, precludes outdoor dining statewide.
The regional mandate was triggered when the intensive care unit availability rate for the 11-county Southern California region including L.A. County dropped below 15 percent. The regional rate stood at 0 percent Tuesday, where it has remained since last week.
“The Limited Stay at Home Order applies to all counties that are currently under the Regional Stay at Home Order and those in Tier One (Purple) of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” the California Department of Public Health said in a written statement.
The Limited Stay at Home Order will expire after the Regional Stay At Home Order has been terminated in all regions of the state
In order to exit the state order, barring all non-essential travel and activities, the projected ICU availability rate for the region must be above 15 percent, officials said.
While Pasadena is not required to abide by mandates from the L.A. County Department of Public Health, since the city has its own independent health department, it is required to follow the direction of the state.
Prior to the Regional Stat-at-Home order taking effect on Dec. 6, Pasadena had been the only city in L.A. County to allow outdoor dining service. Both the L.A. County Department of Public Health, as well as health officials in Long Beach, which is the only other L.A.County city with its own health department, had banned outdoor restaurant service.
Pasadena saw 84 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional fatality on Tuesday.
The latest victim was described as a 70-year-old man, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. It was not certain how he contracted the virus, but officials noted he lived in a house subdivided into multiple units, in which residents of a nearby unit had tested positive for COVID-19.
While the 84 infections reported in Pasadena represents a figure that was unheard of during the first nine months of the pandemic, Tuesday marked the first time in seven days that the city saw less than 100 COVID-19 cases, according to city data.
Pasadena’s single-day record was set last Thursday, when 201 infections were reported, along with three deaths.
Huntington Hospital reported an all-time record of 172 hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, with 33 of them being treated in intensive care units.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health announced 12,954 new infections and 88 new deaths, pushing the countywide totals to 647,542 cases of the virus and 9,016 fatalities.
“L.A. County has experienced more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in just two weeks; on December 8 the County reported 8,000 deaths,” the agency said in a written statement. “This is an average of nearly 73 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past two weeks.”
More than 5,8670 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized countywide, with 20 percent of them in ICUs, county officials said.
L.A. County’s overall positivity rate had reached 14 percent.
“Unfortunately, today marks another tragic milestone as we acknowledge and grieve the more than 9,000 residents that have passed away from COVID-19,” L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said.
“Our actions have an impact on the health and well-being of many people in our county, and not following the public health rules has deadly consequences. The virus has spread across the entire county and everyone, employers and residents, need to be extra vigilant in their precautions to protect themselves and others,” she said.
“This is not the time to crowd at stores, to attend parties and gatherings, or to travel. If every person can find it in themselves to celebrate the meaning of the holidays by protecting each other from the virus, we have a chance to stop the surge.”
California public health officials reported 32,659 new infections and 247 additional deaths, bringing the overall tally to 1,925,007 cases of COVID-19 and 22,923 deaths.
California’s average positivity rate over the prior week was recorded at 13.1 percent, while the 14-day average stood at 12.2 percent, according to the CDPH statement.
As of Tuesday, L.A. County accounted for 34 percent of California’s total COVID-19 infections and 39 percent of the state’s fatalities.