SLO County reports 182 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths over past three days

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom said if new COVID-19 cases continue to surge, the state is going to have to take “much more dramatic, arguably drastic action,” most likely reimposing stricter stay-at-home order for the purple-tier counties.

Newsom said the state is experiencing the highest rate of increase in COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. It’s expected to worsen in one to two weeks, as new cases resulting from Thanksgiving gatherings are expected to accelerate the surge.

“If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic action,” Newsom said. “If these trends continue, the potential for a stay at home order for those areas in the Purple…more in line with the stay at home order that folks were familiar with at the beginning of the year.”

Fifty-one of the state’s 58 counties, including San Luis Obispo County, are in the most restrictive purple tier. A new lockdown would impact 99% of the state’s population. When the state issued a stay-at-home order in March, it required people to stay indoors except for essential services and exercise.

As for when, Newsom said that was being evaluated in “real-time,” before stressing people should not think in terms of weeks but days.

Newsom and California Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said hospitalizations are critical in considering a new lockdown.

“We are looking at intensive care capacity as the trigger for further action,” Ghaly said.

The governor said projections indicated the number of COVID-19 patients in state hospitals could double or triple in the next month. Hospitalizations have increased 89% across the past 14 days. As of Monday, 59% of California health care system beds were occupied, and by Dec. 24, that number is expected to rise to 78%.

There were 380 newly hospitalized patients reported on Monday across the state for a total of 8,578.

SLO County has seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases, but hospitalizations have remained stable — currently, eight people are hospitalized in SLO, including one in intensive care.

To prepare for the expected flood of patients, Newsom said the state would begin to make 11 surge facilities throughout the state “fully operational.” The facilities can provide an additional 1,862 hospital beds.

There were 14,034 new cases reported on Monday. The seven-day average in new daily cases was 14,657 on Monday, compared to 9,881 at the July summer surge height. California recorded a 6.2% positivity rate over the past 14 days.

SLO County Public Health officials reported 182 new COVID-19 cases over the past three days — 68 on Saturday, 46 on Sunday and 68 on Monday — to bring the overall number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 6,311. The County has 890 active cases.

Twenty-one new cases were reported in North County on Monday, led by Paso Robles (1,534 total) with 16 and Atascadero (549) with three.

The state is implementing a record number of tests — an average of more than 200,000 a day. SLO County announced it was adding more hours to some of its free testing sites.

There were 20 new deaths reported in California on Monday for a total of 19,141. SLO County reported two COVID-19 deaths on Monday, Nov. 30, one person in their 60s and one in their 80s. Both were vulnerable to severe illness because of underlying conditions, bringing the County’s total to 38.

Calaveras, Lake, Plumas, San Francisco and San Mateo counties were moved from the red to the purple tier. Modoc County was moved backward two tiers, from orange to purple. Alpine, Inyo and Mariposa counties were moved from orange to red.

That leaves zero counties in California in the least restrictive yellow tier. One county is still orange and six are still red. The remaining 51 counties are in the purple tier.

The state’s total number of cases since March is nearing 1.2 million, and the death toll has topped 19,000.

Getting through this together, Atascadero