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 that much of the state will likely be under the stay-at-home orders within the next few days if ICU capacity falls below 15%. 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 of the state’s reopening plan on Nov. 16. That move still allowed restaurants, gyms and other businesses to offer outdoor services. When the orders issued Thursday are triggered, those activities will be prohibited. Wineries and bars must also close.

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

The 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.”

A local look

There have been 4,696 known Covid-19 cases in Santa Cruz County, of which 1,131 are known active cases, according to information last updated Thursday morning by county health officials

More than 230 people have required hospitalization while sick with Covid-19, and 37 have died. More than 3,500 people have recovered.

There were 47 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Wednesday, including nine that were in the ICU. There were only five ICU beds remaining in the county, according to numbers reported to the state.

Statewide as of Thursday, there have been more than 1.2 million Covid-19 cases and 19,437 deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health.

There was some good news reported Wednesday: the Covid-19 testing site at Ramsay Park in Watsonville has doubled its daily testing capacity to 330 tests per day.

The site is also now open seven days a week from 7am-7pm. Testing is free. To make an appointment, go to

In addition, San Francisco-based Senneca Diagnostics recently opened a community testing site at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos. The site offers testing for up to 300 individuals per day.

The Senneca Diagnostics site is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am-4pm. To make an appointment, go to

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