Gov. Gavin Newsom announces regional stay-at-home order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15%

Cyclists wearing masks ride through Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

After alluding to the potential for tighter restrictions due to coronavirus concerns in California earlier in the week, Gov. Gavin Newsom followed through with the announcement of a regional stay-at-home order on Thursday.

The stay-at-home order will affect regions in which the available intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%.

In a briefing on Monday, data was presented by state officials that showed that Southern California, which encompasses Orange County, was already at 74% occupancy of its ICU capacity. Projections have the region surpassing the threshold in a matter of days.


Once a region has less than 15% of its ICU beds available, the stay-at-home order will go into effect within the next two days and it will last for at least three weeks.

“If we don’t act now, our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said. “If we don’t act now, we’ll continue to see our death rate climb, more lives lost.”

State officials are considering the kind of stay-at-home order that helped curb the virus’ spread in the spring. What is unclear is whether Californians will stomach even a modified lockdown as they did in March and April.

Dec. 3, 2020

Restrictions imposed by the latest mandate would have bars, self-care businesses like hair salons, movie theaters and playgrounds close during the stay-at-home period.

An archer steadies his bow and arrow as he aims for a target at Mile Square Regional Park archery range in Fountain Valley.
An archer steadies his bow and arrow as he aims for a target at Mile Square Regional Park’s archery range.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Schools that have opened with a waiver would be allowed to remain open. Retail businesses would be restricted to 20% capacity, and restaurants would only be able to offer takeout and delivery service.

Places of worship could only hold their services outdoors, and live audiences would not be allowed for professional sporting events.

“We want to mitigate mixing, period, full stop,” Newsom said. “We want to diminish the amount of mixing, and we really need to send that message broadly, and we need to create less opportunities for the kind of contact and extended period and extended time of contact that occurs in many of these establishments, and that’s why we are moving forward.”

The U.S. logged more than 3,100 COVID-19 deaths and 100,000 hospitalizations on Wednesday, setting records for both as infections continue to soar.

Dec. 3, 2020

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly also advised the public to reduce its interactions to help healthcare workers and to get transmission rates down.

“With nearly four times the rate of transmission going on in our state that we had just six weeks ago, it’s time that we actually limit our movement and really get this transmission down,” Ghaly said.

The regional stay-at-home order would not include a closure of outdoor recreational facilities, including beaches, parks and hiking trails, as Newsom encouraged outdoor exercise in Thursday’s briefing.

A woman jogs with her dog along a path at Mile Square Regional Park.
A woman jogs with her dog along a path at Mile Square Regional Park.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported eight new coronavirus deaths and 1,102 new infections of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in data released on Thursday.

There have now been 1,586 virus-related fatalities countywide, and the cumulative case count stands at 81,653.

The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County, including cases, deaths, closures and restrictions.

Hospitalizations because of the virus numbered 735, and there were 179 patients being treated in intensive care units.

The county also reported 15,903 tests for the virus within the last day, bringing the total tests administered to 1,498,188. The health care agency also estimates that 61,068 people in the county have recovered after contracting the virus.

Here are the latest cumulative coronavirus case counts and COVID-19 deaths for select cities in Orange County:

  • Santa Ana: 15,761 cases; 331 deaths
  • Anaheim: 13,640 cases; 345 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 3,490 cases; 91 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 2,745 cases; 45 deaths
  • Irvine: 2,869 cases; 15 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 1,522 cases; 26 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 911 cases; 21 deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 349 cases; fewer than five deaths

Here are the case counts by age group, followed by deaths:

  • 0 to 17: 6,741 cases; one death
  • 18 to 24: 11,892 cases; four deaths
  • 25 to 34: 17,279 cases; 21 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 12,944 cases; 39 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 13,257 cases; 120 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 9,912 cases; 220 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 5,029 cases; 311 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 2,597 cases; 345 deaths
  • 85 and older: 1,946 cases; 525 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at For information on getting tested, visit

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