California · COVID-19 · Highlight

San Joaquin Valley to enter shelter-in-place Sunday as ICU capacity sinks

Dec. 5, 2020, 11:35 a.m.: The San Joaquin Valley region, encompassing twelve counties in Central California, will fall under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order effective 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Fresno County public health officials announced Saturday.

The regional stay-at-home order will remain in effect for three weeks, concluding at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 27, three days after Christmas.

Public health officers from the various counties within the San Joaquin Valley issued the following statements:

“We are at a point where surging cases and hospitalizations are not letting up. These protective measures require all of us to take action and be diligent. I can’t emphasize this enough – everyone must take personal steps to protect themselves and protect others,” – Dr. Salvador Sandoval, Merced County’s Public Health Officer.

“We know that people are tired of the stringent measures, but they are the only weapons we have to combat the virus. Now, more than ever, we need San Joaquin Valley residents to step up and take these actions seriously – wash hands, wear a face covering, limit gatherings, get tested and socially distance,” – Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer.

“Our mountain communities rely on the region for ICU-level care for COVID and other serious medical conditions, transferring our sickest to hospitals in the San Joaquin Valley. These hospitals are stretched to capacity. It is crucial that each one of us does our part to decrease the transmission of COVID. Our collective actions will make a difference!”– Dr. Eric Sergienko, Mariposa County Health Officer and Acting Health Officer for Tuolumne County.

“Our only hospital in San Benito County is completely full. This is an alarming situation that could get much worse. We can only get through this if we work together. Please follow our advice to keep yourself, your family and your neighbor’s safe,” – Dr. David Ghilarducci, San Benito Public Health Officer.

“Home for the holidays takes on a new meaning this year. We acknowledge that this order will change what the holiday season traditionally looks like for families. We are asking you to protect the vulnerable in your family and in your community by taking the order seriously and staying home,” – Dr. Simon Paul, Madera County Public Health Officer.

“COVID-19 continues to spread at alarming rates in Tulare County, and most concerning are the number of people needing to be hospitalized for COVID-19. It is imperative we take these protective actions in order to not overwhelm our local hospitals. The measures we all need to take is to avoid any gatherings outside our household, wear a face covering, social distance, and wash our hands. These are vital to decrease transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Public Health Officer.

Dec. 4, 2020, 9:47 p.m.: One day after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new shelter-in-place order, it appears the San Joaquin Valley region – encompassing twelve counties – will likely be headed into sheltering-in-place through Christmas.

The California Department of Public Health announced that intensive care unit capacity in the region fell to 14.10 percent, a decline of 5.60 percent in a single day.

Newsom’s shelter-in-place order is set to take effect at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Under the order, any region with less than 15 percent ICU capacity will begin a three-week shelter-in-place within 24 hours of capacity falling below that mark

Thus, the San Joaquin Valley would need to return at or above 15 percent or ICU capacity by Saturday afternoon to avoid shelter-in-place becoming operative on Sunday.

The San Joaquin Valley is not the only region heading into a state-ordered shelter-in-place.

The Southern California region, which encompasses the southern end of the Central Coast and Sierra Nevadas, had its ICU capacity fall to 13.10 percent.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.