The California Department of Public Health lifted a stay-at-home order for all regions statewide on Monday.
Four-week intensive care unit capacity projections for the three regions that had still been under the order — San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area and Southern California — are now above 15%, the threshold that allows regions to exit the order. The Sacramento region exited the order on Jan. 12 and the Northern California region never entered the order, according to a press release from the California Department of Public Health.
The move allows all counties statewide to return to the rules and framework of California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local COVID-19 infection rates and test positivity. The majority of the counties are in the strictest — or purple — tier. Individual counties may choose to impose stricter rules, according to the press release.
“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” Dr. Tomas Aragon, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”
California, home to nearly 40 million people, has the highest tally of diagnosed COVID-19 cases of any U.S. state, with more than 3.1 million, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.