By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties have asked state officials for permission to break off from the Southern California stay-at-home order and create their own regional group.

Groups of people, most wearing facemasks, take over the sidewalks on Nov. 28, 2020, in Solvang, Calif. (Getty Images)

In a joint letter sent to California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday, the board of supervisors for all three counties requested permission to form their own tri-county Central Coast Region.

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The letter specifically asked that they be allowed to exit the Southern California region if ICU capacity in their three counties exceeds the 15% which state public health officials have deemed would trigger such a stay-at-home order.

The counties argue that they are a less populated, more suburban region that should not be lumped into denser areas such as Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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“Our community members and businesses are being unfairly burdened because the State lumped us in with larger metropolitan areas that are geographically, demographically and functionally distinct from the Central Coast,” said Lynn Compton, chair of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in a statement. “The current region that the Governor has placed us in represents almost half of the State’s population but we are a less populated, suburban county that should not be categorized like the metropolitan areas. Reassigning our counties to a smaller Central Coast Region is a necessary step forward that will result in the best outcome for our local economy and our residents.”

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The three counties had an ICU availability Monday of 25.6%. That’s significantly higher than the Southern California region as a whole, which was at just 10.1%.

Through Tuesday, Ventura County has reported 23,473 coronavirus cases and 195 deaths from the disease. Its ICU availability is currently at 12.1%.

Santa Barbara County has 12,502 cases and 139 deaths. Its ICU availability was at 51%.

San Luis Obispo County has reported 6,965 cases and 42 deaths so far. Its ICU availability was at 48.9%.

Under the regional stay-at-home order which took effect at midnight Sunday for Southern California due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, all private and public gatherings of any size are banned except for protests and outdoor religious services. It will last for at least three weeks.

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