SoCal lockdowns reinstated on Sunday night

The+first+stay-at-home+order+in+March+closed+schools+statewide%2C+which+was+the+start+of+the+wildly+unpopular+remote+learning.

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The first stay-at-home order in March closed schools statewide, which was the start of the wildly unpopular remote learning.

Daniel Suarez Jr., News Editor

The rapidly growing wave of COVID-19 put two of the five regions in California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, under sweeping lockdowns for the second time as part of a government mandated stay-at-home order. State health officials said the order will be reinstated when the region’s available ICU capacity dips below 15%.

In efforts to not overwhelm the state’s health care system, California Governor Gavin Newsom put the order into effect Sunday night. It will last for at least three weeks, while the California Department of Health observes the continuing trends of case numbers and hospitalization rates.

The order will restrict salons and in-person shopping for retail businesses, while barring patrons from dining in restaurants and bars. LA County, among others, had already restricted outdoor dining as well.

It will be the heaviest set of restrictions since the original stay-at-home order in March, which closed non-essential businesses, parks and schools statewide. November saw an 80% increase in new cases, pushing the ICU capacity into concerning numbers by Dec. 1.

COVID-19 has surged in California, with current cases at almost 1.4 million and at least 9,000 reported hospitalizations. Northern regions, such as the Bay Area, implemented stay-at-home orders before reaching capacity.

Newsom receives criticism from many who say the lockdowns are too strict, saying businesses should be allowed to stay open if they follow mask and social distancing procedures.

Since the first stay-at-home order, anti-lockdown protests broke out across the state, refusing to wear masks, follow mandates, or social distance along wit other safety procedures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In response to Newsom’s stay-at-home orders, local law enforcement, such as Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, have said that deputies will not be enforcing any of the safety protocols within the stay-at-home order.

“Orange County Sheriff’s deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings, or stay-at-home orders only,” Barnes said in his Dec. 5 statement.

In Newsom’s Monday morning announcement, he announced CA Notify, a government sponsored mobile app intended to deliver real time updates on COVID-19 for California residents.

It can even anonymously alert users when one person with the app tests positive for COVID-19, as long as they share a code with each other while in contact.

Newsom also appointed Thomas Aragon as the new California public health director. Aragon is a doctor from Harvard Medical School and former health officer for the city and county of San Francisco.