SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Southern California Region’s intensive care unit capacity continued to drop below 15% on Saturday. As a result, a stay-at-home order will begin at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, in San Luis Obispo County.

The Southern California region’s ICU capacity, which includes San Luis Obispo County, fell to 12.5% Saturday afternoon, California Department Public Health reported. It was at 13.1% late Friday night, according to CDHP.

The order goes into effect within 24 hours in regions with less than 15% ICU availability. 

San Luis Obispo County is part of the Southern California region, with Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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“We are disappointed to be categorized in the Southern California region and continue to ask state officials to reconsider our regional assignment to better represent the local ICU capacity,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, SLO County Public Health Officer. “However, COVID-19 is spreading fast in SLO County, and in the past 14 days, 11 people with COVID-19 have died in our community.”

San Luis Obispo has 14 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, with one in the ICU, County Public Health officials reported Friday. Eight-one new COVID-19 cases were reported in the County on Friday. 

Under the new stay-at-home order, barbershops and hair salons must close, restaurants are limited to take-out and delivery only, and capacity inside retail stores and shopping centers maxed at 20%. Restrictions are in place for at least three weeks.

The new order prohibits private gatherings of any size.

Hotels and lodging may remain open for critical infrastructure support, as can offices.

Schools with waivers will be allowed to remain open. Places of worship are restricted to outdoor-only services.

While SLO County’s ICU capacity is higher than the rest of the Southern California region, SLO County is still seeing negative impacts of this pandemic locally. 

Local cases have skyrocketed in the past month and the County reported that six local community members died from COVID-19 since Nov. 21. Five more people with COVID-19 have died this week, but local health officials are waiting for the death certificates to confirm that they died from COVID-19.

“While we encourage people to stay home as much as possible, except for critical services, school, and outdoor activities for physical and mental health, let’s also focus on supporting our community and turning the pandemic around in SLO County,” Dr. Borenstein. “If you can: shop local online, order take-out from your favorite local restaurant, and reach out to friends and family who may need support during this temporary shutdown.”

For more information, visit www.ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at 805-788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at 805-543-2444 is available Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with questions related to COVID-19.