Gov. Newsom considering stricter stay-at-home order as COVID-19 projections worsen

Gov. Gavin Newsom is considering a more restrictive stay-at-home order covering much of California, something similar to what residents dealt with as the coronavirus pandemic started in the spring.

The order would impact those in the state’s purple reopening tier or "deep purple counties," as the governor said Monday. He made the comments during a media briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, in which he also described major concerns over lessening ICU capacity and growing hospitalizations.

"We intend to bend this proverbial curve and impact these statistics favorably," the governor added.

The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 89% over the last two weeks. Current projections show the state will run out of ICU beds by Christmas Eve "if these trends continue" and "in the absence of making better decisions," according to Gov. Newsom.

Both San Francisco and San Mateo counties joined much of the Bay Area in the state’s purple reopening tier over the weekend. Counties in the purple tier, which includes much of the state's population, are currently under a limited curfew.

"We should expect those case numbers to be high in a state this large," Gov. Newsom said of California's latest surge in new coronavirus cases.

Health experts have predicted another surge in cases in the coming weeks as families continue to gather for the holidays, despite warnings to avoid such activity.

"Certainly this has to do with that COVID fatigue, that COVID resentment," Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. "People just want to be done with this. But it doesn't take a break just because we're tired of it."

California reported more than 15,000 new coronavirus cases Sunday.

"This is a dynamic week. This is an incredibly important week in the history of this pandemic for this nation, not just this state, and I can assure you that we will be coming out with some additional information, some additional recommendations in the very, very near future," Gov. Newsom added.

The governor also announced a Small Business Emergency Relief Package aimed at providing immediate relief for businesses hurt by the pandemic. Hair salons, restaurants and bars will have access to the programs, including an automatic three-month extension for taxpayers with less than $1 million in sales tax.