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Stay-at-home order expected to last into new year
COVID vaccine
Turlock Fire Department began receiving their first round of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of TFD).

The stay-at-home order issued earlier this month will likely be extended into the new year as state health officials plea for people to forgo gathering for the holidays.

The three-week stay-at-home order for the San Joaquin region would have ended Dec. 28, but since the ICU capacity remains far below the 15% threshold and COVID-19 cases continue to mount, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the order would likely be extended beyond the initial three weeks.

“Based upon all the data and based upon all these trend lines, it’s very likely that we’ll need to extend,” Newsom said.

The stay-at-home order closed down bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons and barbershops. Retail stores are allowed to remain open, but with occupancy set at 20%. Restaurants are only allowed to do take-out or delivery. Gyms must operate outdoors. Schools and critical industries, like grocery stores, will be allowed to remain open. Residents are asked to stay at home unless out to buy groceries, go to pharmacies or are essential workers.

On Tuesday, healthcare officials from several hospitals in the state held a joint teleconference to spread the message that the hospitals are experiencing surges that are not sustainable. They asked people to not gather with people outside their households.

The healthcare officials from Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health said the current surge is fueled in large part by people who gathered for the Thanksgiving holiday. They’re championing the campaign Don’t Share Your Air to keep hospitals from being overrun after the holidays.

“California is in a crisis mode in its health systems,” said Dignity Health spokesman Thomas McGinn.

As of Tuesday, Stanislaus County had recorded 31,106 positive COVID-19 cases and 544 deaths. There are 355 people hospitalized with the virus and 65 in intensive care units. The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency said ICU bed availability is at 3.3%.