Local News

State Lifts Stay-At-Home Order, Many COVID-19 Restrictions Remain

The state of California has lifted the Regional Stay-at-Home Order imposed on December 5, 2020 intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Order affected the San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Southern California Regions, as defined by the State’s Department of Public Health. The Order was lifted because Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacities throughout the region are projected to remain above 15% for the next four weeks in all three regions. The change took effect on Monday, January 25.

The relaxed standards will allow the resumption of some of the following activities in California:

•Restaurants may resume outdoor dining and continue offering takeout, but indoor dining is not allowed.

•Grocery and essential retailers may allow up to 50% capacity in stores.

•Other retailers may only allow up to 25% capacity in stores.

•Hair and nail salons may reopen with limited capacity.

•Gyms and fitness centers may operate outdoors only.

•Places of worship may hold services outdoors and only with modifications for social distancing.

•The Limited Stay-at-Home Order that restricted travel between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. has also been lifted.

All California counties will now revert back to the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy color-coded 4 Tier system to determine when other business practices and activities may resume in counties as they progress up the tiers. Like most counties in the State, Orange County remains in the Purple or “Widespread” 1st Tier based on our Current Adjusted Daily Case Rate and Test Positivity Rate (averaged over seven days with a seven day reporting lag). In order to move up to the less restrictive Red “Substantial” Tier, 2nd of the 4, OC would need to lower its Adjusted Daily Case Rate to less than 7 from its current 46.6. Test Positivity Rates would also need to be lowered from the current 12.9% to less than 8%.

Available ICU beds plummeted across OC in recent months as the number of COVID-19 cases rose dramatically in late October of last year. On October 26, 2020, 722 COVID-19 patients were occupying ICU beds. By January 17 of this year that number had risen to 4,826 (calculated by a rolling 14-day average). The number remains high at 4,375 as of January 25, but State health officials were confident enough that the downturn would continue throughout Southern California to allow the lifting of the Stay-at-Home Order. The State’s COVIOD-19 dashboard site shows that only 1,186 ICU beds are currently available in the State, an increase of 20 beds from the previous day.

Orange County’s Healthcare Agency cautions residents that the pandemic is ongoing, and still recommends the following steps to avoid being infected:

Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine

For the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County, go to covidvaccinefacts.com. To register for COVID-19 vaccination at a Super POD site in Orange County, go to Othena.com. For questions about Othena, call (714) 834-2000 or e-mail support@compositeapps.net.

Get Tested for COVID-19

The OC Health Care Agency officials are urging residents, especially those with any symptoms, to get tested for the virus.

COVID-19 testing is now widely available across the County for those who are symptomatic or asymptomatic, with or without insurance, at no cost. Testing takes only a few minutes and results generally come back within two to three days.

If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home and let close contacts know. A close contact is someone you were within 6 feet of for at least 15 minutes within a 24-hour period during the infectious period.

Stay Home if You Don’t Feel Well

Consult with a health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, please call the OC Health Care Agency’s Health Referral Line at 1(800) 564-8448.

Stay Home When Possible

When you leave the house, avoid crowds and stay 6 feet apart from people not in your household.

Do Not Gather

Do not mix households; for example, it is strongly recommended that people don’t dine outdoors or gather for any activities with people not living in the same household.

Wear a Face Covering

Wear a face covering when you are around people not in your household, especially when indoors.

Wash Your Hands Often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth with Unwashed Hands

Clean and Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces

Understand and Comply with the State’s Guideline for Your Business and Events

Orange County residents may search for a business or activity type by visiting https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/ and typing in “Orange” in the County field, entering the business or activity type, and clicking, “GET LATEST STATUS.”