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Governor Warns Of Pre-Christmas Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Order; Hospitals Prepare For Surge

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is warning another stay-at-home order could be on the way before Christmas if California's surging coronavirus cases don't slow down.

The governor's warning comes as Sutter and Yuba counties announced their biggest one-day increase with 238 new coronavirus cases. Sutter County currently has the highest covid positivity rate in the state.

Together, Yuba and Sutter counties have only one hospital, Adventist Rideout Memorial, serving their communities. It is overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

"We have an overloaded hospital right now," Rideout Memorial Hospital spokesperson Monica Arrowsmith said.

As of Monday evening, Rideout Memorial hospital has no ICU beds available. Staff is now treating 42 COVID patients after having zero COVID cases just two weeks ago.

"We're going to be going into something we call our surge capacity, our overflow this evening, likely," Arrowsmith said.

Now Gov. Newsom is warning another surge is expected to impact Rideout Memorial and the rest of California's health care system.

"We could see an increase just in hospitalizations, that are two to three times greater than the current census in just one calendar month," Newsom said during a press conference Monday.

Newsom's models show California's state-wide ICU capacity jumping from 75 percent now, to 112 percent capacity by Christmas Eve. He warned a pre-Christmas shelter-in-place order may be on the way.


"If these trends continue, we're going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action," Newsom said.

In March, the first shelter-in-place order shut down all but essential businesses. Malls were closed and clothing retailers were restricted to minimum basic operations.

Some businesses in Yuba and Sutter counties chose to defy the governor's orders last spring when the Yuba-Sutter Heath Officer, Dr. Phuong Luu, announced businesses like malls, salons, gyms and restaurants could reopen.

READ MORE: Yuba, Sutter Counties Set To Reopen Despite Governor's Order; Some Businesses Already Open

Yuba County public health spokesperson Russ Brown said for many, the warnings have not worked.

"Some people believe it's still fake. And that's with this hospital filling up behind me," Brown said.

Now, they're preparing for California's biggest surge in coronavirus cases, just as Christmas hits.

"We're on the kind of edge at all times right now," Arrowsmith said.

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