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Bay Area ICU Capacity Tops 23%, Unclear When Lockdown Will Lift

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Bay Area has experienced the largest ICU capacity swing in several weeks -- jumping to 23.4% availability from just 6.5%.

So when will the restrictive COVID-19 surge stay-at-home order be lifted?

"I really want to stress this, that I firmly believe this is our last surge and this is the last time that those restrictive lockdowns will occur, because of the availability of the vaccine," said UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. "Because of the new administration and the federal government pushing it out, signing the National Defense Act."

Gandhi is encouraged by the region's ICU availability. She is seeing hospitalizations drop first-hand at Zuckerberg San Francisco General, where she also works.

"We did not see the surge that was predicted. We did from Thanksgiving, and then it was not as bad at Christmas and New Year's at all that was predicted," she added.

The state's COVID dashboard says the Bay Area's 4-week ICU capacity projection is still "below the threshold."

The stay-at-home order is supposed to be lifted by the state when the availability crosses 15% looking a month ahead.

"It seems like a pretty strong upward trend. I would love to see what that graph looks like, what model they're using, I am mind-blown completely," said Danielle Rabkin.

Rabkin owns CrossFit Golden Gate, and has been holding limited classes outdoors.

"My business has been absolutely decimated since March. First, the biggest thing that has hurt me is how many people have left the city. It's just destroyed - all my members are gone, I have no business," she said.

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa does not want people to start loosening their grip on safety.

"People need to continue to wear their damn mask, continue to be socially distant," he said. "On the one hand it's super news, the question is how long can we sustain it."

In a statement to KPIX 5, the San Francisco COVID Command Center said:'

"The City, along with the entire Bay Area, is currently under a state mandated regional stay at home order. The state will have to remove the regional stay at home order for the entire region for any activities not permitted under the regional stay at home order. The state will determine when our regional stay at home hits and maintains the thresholds for the regional state order to be lifted."

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