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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Neetu Balram December 16, 2020 Public Information Manager Alameda County Public Health Department

[email protected]

Statement on the Bay Area Region Falling Below 15 Percent ICU Capacity Threshold

Stay At Home Order Extended and Continues to Align with State’s Restrictions

ALAMEDA COUNTY, CA – The State announced today that the availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds has fallen below 15 percent in the Bay Area Region. This means that the Stay at Home restrictions adopted by Alameda County and seven other Bay Area jurisdictions earlier this month remain in effect for a minimum of three weeks, starting today. Because Alameda County’s restrictions already match the State’s restrictions, there are no additional changes to permitted activities at this time.

After the minimum three weeks (January 7, 2021), the State’s order could be lifted once the region’s projected ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent. As with local Health Officer orders, easing of restrictions will also depend on local disease conditions.

The Bay Area region encompasses 11 counties: Alameda (including the City of Berkeley as a separate health jurisdiction), Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma. Alameda County’s communities and health systems are intertwined with those of the entire region, and our epidemics are connected. We have fewer beds than we think because when our neighbors run out of hospital beds, patients will need to come to our hospitals.

The State updates regional ICU capacity data here: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential- needs/#regional-stay-home-order.

We are at a critical point in Alameda County. The week ending December 12 was the single worst week of the pandemic so far in Alameda County, with more than 5000 new COVID-19 cases reported and over 1000 cases reported on each of the last two days. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and in intensive care units (ICU) are five times higher than one month ago and increasing daily.

“By every measure, the state of the pandemic in Alameda County is the worst it has ever been,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Health Officer. “Over the last 10 months, we have learned a lot about how we can protect ourselves and each other from this deadly virus. Now is the time to use every tool we have to ensure the work we’ve done and the months away from our loved ones will have been worth it.”

Alameda County will begin vaccinating hospital workers and 911 first responders at highest risk for exposure to COVID-19 within 24 hours following receipt of the first shipment of vaccine later this week. It is

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important to note that we are only at the starting point of vaccination, and the impact of vaccines on our daily lives will not be felt for some time.

We all must continue to take precautions that are proven to bring case rates and hospitalizations under control: stay home as much as possible, wear a mask, and avoid all gatherings. If you are less than 6 feet from someone outside your household for 15 minutes or more, please monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested.

We continue to be grateful for our community’s efforts throughout this difficult year and we must ask for everyone to help again. If we all do our part, stay-at-home restrictions will work and save lives. The individual and collective sacrifices of our families and local businesses can make the difference between a short or prolonged period under the Stay At Home Order. Staying home now will save lives and allow us to get back together again soon.

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