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Gov. Newsom: Most Of California Likely Under New Stay-At-Home Order Within Days

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Newsom announced new stay-at-home rules on Thursday that will trigger when a region’s intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%. Newsom said four of the state’s five regions are likely to meet that threshold within a day or two.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Our top story, California is in for another round of shutdowns. Governor Gavin Newsome says he's pulling the emergency brake.

Speaker 2: 00:07 Okay. And we are announcing, uh, and introducing a regional stay at home order in the state of California, fundamentally predicated on the need to stop gathering with people outside of your household to do what you can to keep, uh, most of your activities outside. And of course always, uh, most important non-pharmaceutical intervention. That is where face coverings wear a mask

Speaker 1: 00:32 Daily news conference. Again today, governor Newsome cited some very grim numbers, uh, from November 7th, 14 laws on lives were lost. That is on November 7th in the last 24 hours in the day before that we've seen 113 deaths, a huge jump there, close to a thousand deaths. The government has said in the past 14 days in California, he says, if we don't act now, the hospital systems will soon be over WellMed. And the death rate is going to climb KPBS health reporter Taryn mento is here now, and she's going to help us recap this, uh, Terran. Um, the governor has announced the state being divided into five regions, including the greater Southern California area for the stay at home order. Uh, what determines when we will go in and I should say, and we'll note, uh, it's a little confusing at this point,

Speaker 3: 01:20 Right? There was so much information, lots of numbers, lots to digest. So we're going to try and go through it as best as we can, but it seems that, uh, a region will enter this stay at home order when the hospital ICU capacity or availability gets below 15%, um, we're in the Southern California region. So it's not county-based it's region based. Um, and so the governor's best estimates or projections showed that we would be entering that phase, um, in early December. You know, we, we are in early December today, so we're still, I'm hoping to find out more details about that, but it does seem it's it's, it's very soon inevitable within days.

Speaker 1: 02:03 Yeah. So just a couple of days, I mean, people should start preparing to go into this right now. What's it going to mean for people in businesses? It's not altogether clear at this point,

Speaker 3: 02:12 Right? So, um, yeah, again, um, lots of details. So one thing is, you know, retail, um, the retail sites will be able to continue operating, but they will have to reduce their capacity to 20%. I believe under the purple tier, it was previously 50%. So that will be a change, um, restaurants. It sounds like will be limited to take out, um, and delivery only. Um, we know that recently they were only allowed to outdoor dining. It seems like that won't be allowed anymore. Um, you know, the, the essential activities going to a doctor checkup, you know, grocery store, um, again, picking up, take out, those will all be allowed and the governor did encourage people to get outdoors. So the beaches and parks and hiking trails, et cetera, don't seem to be, um, uh, effected by this order unless local government decides to take further measures. Um, so, but it, it does seem according to some reporting by the Sacramento bee, that that playgrounds, um, will be, will be closed down. And also, you know, the things that we would expect will be closed down, wineries, bars, casinos, live audience sports, um, uh, you know, also salons which were allowed under purple tier those seams that they'll, they will be shut down as well. Thanks to the reporting by Sacramento bee.

Speaker 1: 03:24 And joining me now is Dr. Christian Ramers assistant medical director with family health centers and adjunct assistant professor in San Diego state university school of public health. Uh, he specializes in infectious diseases, Dr. Ramos, thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. Uh, what's your reaction to the governor calling for the stay at home order? It looks like the hospitals are just about to get really overwhelmed.

Speaker 4: 03:45 Well, if you've been following the, the epidemic curves to the last couple of weeks, uh, you know, we definitely saw this coming. We've seen the steepest increase in the, uh, curve of cases, uh, that we've ever had. And I think people get a little bit numb to the, the idea that we're in the worst place that we've ever been. Um, you know, it's been nine, 10 months of, of working through all of these really hard restrictions, but we literally are in the worst place that we've ever been. When you look at the hospital numbers, uh, for the County of, um, of San Diego, uh, our previous peak was in July with 411 hospital beds taken in 160 ICU beds taken. And we are well above those numbers now.

Speaker 1: 04:26 And, uh, we know these, uh, stay at home, uh, orders, uh, a, we had a real restrictive one there, right when the pandemic started in March. How effective was that? And, and do you think we can repeat the effectiveness now?

Speaker 4: 04:39 Yeah, well, when we do have locked down orders or try to decrease congregation and people getting together, we, we inevitably do see that the rates decrease, but the problem with this disease is that, you know, the things we do now don't have effect until about two weeks from now. And when you think about the fact that of 10, eight out of the last 10 days, we've had over a thousand new cases diagnosed in San Diego, there's probably many more than that, that are not diagnosed. You know, that's thousands of people walking around that are infectious. And so this is when we reached the point of exponential spread where things really get out of control. And it's, I can't emphasize enough. It is, it is such a critical thing to overwhelm the hospital system. Um, imagine if you had a heart attack today and there really wasn't a place for you to go. So there's all of these non COVID related illnesses that we still need to be able to maintain the capacity, to be able to take care of. And it is really frightening to see the curves go as high as they're going. Um, this is what everybody has feared all along.

Speaker 1: 05:36 And, uh, can you talk for a moment about wearing the mask, how important it is it, uh, and I know we're all tired, we're fatigued as the governor noted, but a mask wearing really has to be the standard at this point.

Speaker 4: 05:49 Absolutely. The, the evidence supporting the wearing of masks has just continued to accumulate and accumulate and accumulate. And it's not at all a anymore. Um, people will say that at the beginning. Well, you weren't sure you said wear a mask, don't wear a mask. And that was really true because we didn't have the evidence. And we were a little bit worried about people, hoarding masks and keeping them from our health care workers. Um, but really the issue is settled now that places that have implemented universal mask wearing have seen sharp declines in transmission. Uh, we know that this virus not only gets transmitted by respiratory droplets, but also by aerosols and masks, whatever type of masks they are can help. Of course, masks have different effectiveness. A cloth mask is a little bit less effective than a surgical mask, which is less effective than an N 95, sort of those, those super, um, uh, filtration masks, but really the way the population behaves is almost more important than the type of mask. So people that are the places that they have implemented universal mask, wearing policies, inevitably we'll see less transmission.

Speaker 1: 06:49 And, uh, how long do you think it will be in this kind of a more restrictive, uh, shutdown before we start seeing some relief for the hospitals? If we can see that at this point?

Speaker 4: 06:58 Yeah. Like I mentioned, you know, we are on a 24 hour news cycle, but the virus is on about a two to three weeks infection cycle because of the incubation period and how long it takes people to get sick, even after they have tested positive. So really I think on the two to three week timescale is what we've seen. There's a really good documentation of what happened in Arizona earlier in the summer, when, when they implemented lockdown type changes within about two to three weeks, you start to see that curve band and then flatten. So that's the timescale I think we should be looking at

Speaker 1: 07:29 And we're running out of time, but the governor said notes, the importance of caring for your mental health as family health centers seen an increase in requests for mental health services, with the pandemic,

Speaker 4: 07:38 Absolutely across every aspect of what we do, you know, no less our own employees and our own health care workers who, you know, in the County briefing as the CEO of sharp healthcare mentioned that the healthcare workers are really at our nerves are pretty fried. Um, we're at the end of our rope, uh, and to be facing this kind of tidal wave approaching us very soon, uh, is, is, um, a very significant place to be. Uh, so yes, absolutely take care of your mental health as well.

Speaker 1: 08:06 Well, I've been speaking with Dr. Christian Ramers assistant medical director with family health centers and adjunct assistant professor at San Diego state university school of public health and Taron mento, KPBS health reporter. Thanks very much. We appreciate it. Thank you.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.