California lifted a stay-at-home order in the 13-county Sacramento region on Tuesday as hospital conditions improved, a rare turn of good news as the state pushes through what Gov. Gavin Newsom called “its most intense surge” of the coronavirus.
The order imposed Dec. 10 banned gatherings outside a household and shuttered or restricted many businesses. With virus cases and hospitalizations more stable now, the region can resume outdoor dining and worship services, reopen hair and nail salons and other businesses, and increase capacity at retailers Gatherings of up to three households are allowed.
Newsom made the announcement in a social media post that remined people to wear masks, stay home as much as possible and offered the hopeful promise: “There is a light at the end of this tunnel."
Three of the state's five regions — the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California — remain under the stay-at-home order because their intensive care capacity at hospitals is severely limited.
California has seen an enormous surge of cases, hospitalizations and deaths since Thanksgiving. The state is averaging 42,000 new virus cases a day and recorded 3,500 virus deaths in the last week. On Monday the death toll topped 30,000 since the pandemic began.
Health officials are warning that hospitalizations and deaths are likely to continue to increase as people who contracted the virus during the holidays get sicker.
—Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press