SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — State health officials Monday lifted all regional stay-at-home orders, including in the 11-county Southern California region, but counties will still be subject to the tight regulations of the restrictive “purple” tier of economic reopening guidelines.
Although the state order was lifted, individual counties are still able to impose stricter restrictions than the state.READ MORE: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Fall Below 400 In Riverside, San Bernardino Counties
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said that it is unlikely the county will adopt any more restrictive terms.
“Generally, we follow the state and try not to be more restrictive,” Kim said Monday.
If Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, wanted to adopt more restrictive measures he would take it to the county board first, Kim said.
Lifting the state order could mean a resumption of outdoor dining, as well as some services at gyms, barbershops and nail salons, among other businesses.
“I don’t want to necessarily say that it’s a good or bad thing, because next week it could be different,” Alec Tenace, a hair salon owner, said. “It’s created so much confusion if we should be open or if we should be closed … it keeps changing.”
Kim said county officials in Southern California were having trouble enforcing the stay-at-home orders.
“In most counties, at least when I speak to my peers, they are struggling with enforcement so going to the purple tier makes sense because it is a reflection of what has been occurring throughout California,” Kim said.READ MORE: OC Receives More Than 83,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses In Single Day
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do said the state’s decision was a “relief to many, but it also comes at a time when we face uncertainty caused by the new variants in Southern California. Southern California and Orange County still have high rates of infection and hospitalization. It’s important that everyone act with caution, particularly over the next few months.”
On Monday, Orange County health officials reported 1,330 new cases and 66 additional fatalities. The numbers brought the county’s total caseload to 224,618 and death toll to 2,704.
Hospitalization rates continued to trend down as the number of people hospitalized dropped from 1,732 on Sunday to 1,703 on Monday. The number of people in intensive care units also declined from 467 to 447.
The county’s state-adjusted ICU bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure decreased from 9.5% to 9.2%. Meanwhile, the county has 38% of its ventilators available.
Kim said daily positivity rates have continually declined with the number sitting at 12.9% as of Monday. The last time it was that low was Dec. 13.
Despite the good trends, Kim urged caution.
“We’re not back to before Thanksgiving numbers,” Kim said. “When you look at our numbers I’m still concerned. Our hospitals are still in crisis. These are huge numbers — much larger than any peak in the summertime… I want to remind people that hospitals are still barely hanging on.”MORE NEWS: Stretch Of 5 Freeway In Norwalk Area To Close During Construction
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