New COVID-19 restrictions for Riverside County, rest of SoCal region on Sunday night


RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County and the rest of Southern California will fall under sweeping new health restrictions Sunday, Dec. 6 night due to the rapidly increasing number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus, state officials confirmed Saturday.
A state-mandated “regional stay-at-home” order goes into effect at
11:59 p.m. Sunday, triggered when intensive-care unit bed availability remained
below 15% after Saturday’s daily update, according to the California Department
of Public Health.
The 11-county Southern California region’s available ICU capacity was 12.5% Saturday, a decrease from 13.1% the day before.
Gov. Gavin Newsom had said Thursday that the Southern California region could meet that trigger within days. The Southern California region consists of Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
The stay-at-home order will be in place for three weeks and will bar gatherings of people from different households. Under the order, the following businesses/recreational facilities will be forced to close:
— indoor and outdoor playgrounds;
— indoor recreational facilities;
— hair salons and barbershops;
— personal care services;
— museums, zoos, and aquariums;
— movie theaters;
— wineries;
— bars, breweries and distilleries;
— family entertainment centers;
— cardrooms and satellite wagering;
— limited services;
— live audience sports; and
— amusement parks.
Schools with waivers will be allowed to remain open, along with “critical infrastructure” and retail stores, which will be limited to 20% of capacity. Restaurants will be restricted to takeout and delivery service only.
Hotels would be allowed to open “for critical infrastructure support only,” while churches would be restricted to outdoor only services. Entertainment production — including professional sports — would be allowed to continue without live audiences.
Some of those restrictions are already in effect in select counties.
Riverside County reported a record number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 for the sixth consecutive day Friday, along with 1,148 newly confirmed cases and 15 additional deaths.
The aggregate number of infections recorded countywide since the public health documentation period began in early March was 87,945 on Friday, compared to 86,797 Thursday, according to the Riverside University Health System.
Officials said the number of deaths stemming from complications related to COVID-19 stands at 1,472 as of Friday.
The number of COVID-19-positive hospitalizations countywide increased by nine, up to 658 on Friday, compared to 649 on Wednesday, including 135 intensive care unit patients — 11 more than a day earlier.
Riverside County set a hospitalization record of 573 COVID-19 patients last Sunday, according to RUHS spokesman Jose Arballo. In the days since, the numbers have continued to rise.
Prior to this week, the previous record-high of coronavirus hospitalizations was 550, set in July, when the first “surge” was documented, according to RUHS data.
The state-adjusted case rate for the county is 21.2 per 100,000 residents, down from 27.2 per 100,000 last week, and an overall state-calculated positivity rate of 7.7%, down from 9.9% previously.
The county’s testing level is at 300 per 100,000. The revised state threshold for large counties is 272 per 100,000.
A revised executive order mandating a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. began Nov. 21 in counties in the purple tier, as part of the virus mitigation strategy. The order was supposed to end on Dec. 21.
Many law enforcement chiefs, including Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco, have declined to enforce it, citing civil rights concerns. Bianco has already said he will not enforce the new order in a YouTube message posted Friday.