Gracie Kitayama and Sophie Kroesche | Mustang News

California extended stay-at-home orders for the Southern California Region, which includes San Luis Obispo County, on Tuesday Dec. 29, according to an announcement from California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly.

This extension follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regional stay-at-home order, which began on Dec. 6 and was set to expire on Monday. However, experts projected that ICU capacity would drop below 15% in the Southern California Region in the next four weeks, causing the state to extend the order, according to a SLO County Press Release.

The stay-at-home order will remain in San Luis Obispo County until the Southern California Region’s projected ICU capacity reaches or surpasses 15%. According to the county press release, state officials will be assessing the region’s ICU capacity about twice a week.

Similar to previous stay-at-home orders, county residents are instructed to stay at home as much as possible under this extended order in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining ICU availability. 

All restaurants will continue to be prohibited from offering dine-in services and retail can continue to stay open with a 20% maximum capacity.

In addition, residents are discouraged to interact in-person with people outside of their households. Essential services and outdoor activities are still permitted to allow for both the physical and mental well-being of residents, according to the press release.

COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County increased in the month of December and the number of hospitalizations grew alongside it. County health officials predict that the county’s total COVID-19 cases count will reach 10,000 cases by the end of December, the press release read. 

The county reported its largest number of hospitalized cases today at 59 hospitalizations, including 12 ICU cases, according to the press release.

Even as the county’s cases and hospitalizations grow, SLO County’s ICU capacity remains significantly higher than the rest of the Southern California Region, according to the press release.

Due to this disparity, local officials have said that the state should create a new Central Coast Region of the state to include San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, according to the county press release. If created, this new California region would omit San Luis Obispo County from the Southern California Region, improving the county’s chances of re-opening.

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