It's expected the entire state will be placed under a stay-at-home order similar to the one that was implemented in the spring by the end of the month.
That was the announcement made by Governor Gavin Newsom during his press conference on Thursday. Newsom also announced a rollout plan for vaccines in which the highest priority would be placed on initially providing the vaccines to frontline health care workers, Newsom said.
For now there's no extended stay-at-home order in Tulare County or the San Joaquin Valley, but that's expected to change in the next few days. The state has been broken up into five regions as far as the stay-at-home order is concerned:
Rural Northern California; the Bay Area; the Sacramento area; the San Joaquin Valley; and Southern California. Each region is expected to reach the 15 percent threshold in the next coming days or weeks.
When a region goes below the 15 percent threshold, it would have to implement the stay-at-home order within two days and the order would remain in effect for three weeks.
When the stay-at-home order is implemented, it would be implemented for at least three weeks. Nonessential businesses such as barbershops and hair salons that have been allowed to reopen would have to close.
And those businesses that are considered essential such as grocery stores, retail stores and shopping malls would only be allowed to open at 20 percent capacity. And restaurants would no longer be allowed to offer outdoor dining, just takeout only.
People would only be able to go out in public for essential services and exercise. Most public places, including playgrounds and parks, would be closed.
The stay-at-home order doesn't affect the status of schools reopening for grades K-6. Many local schools have been cleared to reopen at that level. Woodville's waiver to reopen for grades K-6 has been approved by the county and is still being reviewed by the state.
Sierra View Medical Center has been at that 15 percent threshold for the past few days. As of Wednesday, Sierra View reported eight of its 10 ICU beds were in using, meaning its capacity is at 20 percent.
For the past few days eight or nine ICUS beds have been in use at Sierra View, so when Sierra View has had nine ICU beds in use, its capacity has fallen to 10 percent which is below the 15 percent threshold. Again, when hospitals in the entire San Joaquin Valley falls below the 15 percent threshold, that's when the stay-at-home order would go into effect in the entire Valley.
Sierra View has reported nine of its 25 ventilators were in use. Sierra View has had 60 deaths due to COVID-19.
Sierra View's employees continue to be hit hard by COVID-19. Sierra View now has 19 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, including two who have been hospitalized. There have been 70 employees who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19. Sierra View has had a total of 543 positive tests.
Newsom also announced a plan for the rollout of the first vaccines which will be distributed to six regions in the state that are differing from the five regions for the stay-at-home order. He didn't state the areas the regions cover but said the 327,600 Pfizer vaccines would be distributed as follows:
Region I, 126,750; Region II, 80,497; region III, 8,592; Region IV, 35,145; region V, 16,705, Region VI, 59,910.
He said frontline health workers would be prioritized as the first ones to receive the vaccine. He added the state will be “very aggressive” in making sure those who think they have “means” or “influence” don't go to the front of the line.
Newsom said each region will put in their orders for the Pfizer vaccines Friday. It's been reported the first vaccines could become available as soon as mid-December. Those administered the vaccine must take two doses, taking the second dose 21 days after the first.
As far as the status of COVID-19 in Tulare County, the overall stats for the most part continue to get worse.
Tulare County's preliminary unofficial rate of cases per 100,000 residents over a 7-day period continues to rise and has reached its highest level yet. Tulare County Health and Human Services reported on Thursday the preliminary unofficial rate was 33 cases per 100,000 residents, an increase of 3.1 over what was previously reported.
Tulare County's official case rate as last reported by the state on Tuesday is 21.5 per 100,000. But that number is likely to go up based on the preliminary numbers.
One small consolation is when it comes to its overall positive test rate, Tulare County is back in the red tier, the next least restrictive tier after the most restrictive tier, the purple tier. Tulare County's positive test rate is 7.4 percent, which is below the 8 percent threshold for the red tier.
Tulare County continues to report its in the purple tier as far as its equity metric positive test rate for its most disadvantaged areas.
And Tulare County is nowhere near moving into the the red tier when it comes to its case rate. Tulare County must lower the case rate to 7 per 100,000 residents to move into the red tier.
When Tulare County meets all the standards it must maintain those numbers for two weeks before it can move into the red tier. Restaurants could then open indoors at 25 percent capacity, churches could ope indoors at 25 percent capacity, movie theaters could open on a limited basis and schools could reopen for all students.
The number of active cases in Tulare County continues to rise at a significant rate. The health department reported an increase of 226 active cases on Thursday. There are now 2,141 people in Tulare County who have COVID-19.
The health department reported an overall increase of 310 cases on Thursday. Since March 11 there have been 22,088 cases in Tulare County.
The number of recoveries increased by 83 on Thursday. There are now 19,632 people in Tulare County who have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.
The health department reported one more death on Thursday, bringing the total of deaths in Tulare County due to COVID-19 to 315. Tulare County has data on 308 deaths of which 240 were 65 or older, 64 were between the ages of 41 and 64 and four were under the age of 41.
There have been 120 deaths related to nursing homes and 188 deaths not related to nursing homes. The state model projects Tulare County to have 344 deaths by January 2.
Tulare County's R number also remains which measures the rate of increase of the virus remains high at 1.26, indicating the county continues to be in the “likely increasing” category. The number 1.26 represents the average number of people who would be infected by one infected person. The state's R number is 1.07.
Since March 11 there have been 3,952 cases in the Porterville area, 255 cases in Terra Bella, 318 cases in Strathmore, 789 cases in Lindsay, 79 cases in foothill-mountain communities, 163 cases in Richgrove, 28 cases in Alpaugh, 387 cases in Pixley, 150 cases in Tipton, 900 cases in Earlimart, 632 cases in Farmersville, 483 cases in Exeter, 366 cases in Woodlake, 425 cases in Cutler, 771 cases in Orosi, 47 cases in Goshen, 711 cases in Traver, 2,225 cases in Dinuba, 3,606 cases in Tulare, 17 cases in the Reedley area and 11 cases in Orange Cove.
In Visalia there have been 2,561 cases in one region, 1,519 cases in another region and 1,856 cases in a third region.
There have been 3,136 cases ages 0-17, 3,502 cases ages 18-25, 6,337 cases ages 26-40, 6,846 cases ages 41-64 and 2,255 cases ages 65 and older.
There have been 12,702 cases who are Hispanic, 2,359 have been Caucasian, 409 have been Asian, 118 have been African American, 102 have been Native American, 458 have been multi-race and 5,940 are unknown.
There are 731 people in Tulare County under self-quarantine being monitored by public health officials.
With a population of nearly 466,000 people Tulare County has a rate of 4.7 cases per 100 residents or 4.7 percent.