Health and Science

California governor issues statewide order to 'stay at home' as coronavirus cases soar

Key Points
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to 'stay at home' amid a coronavirus outbreak. The stay home order is in place till further notice.
  • Essential services will stay open, however, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks.
  • According to the order, Californians in 16 critical sectors are to continue working despite the order. Those include emergency services, energy and food and agriculture.
Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to 'stay at home' amid a coronavirus outbreak.

"We need to bend the curve in the state of California," Newsom said, as he announced a statewide order for Californians to stay home.

"There's a social contract here, people I think recognize the need to do more ... They will begin to adjust and adapt as they have been quite significantly. We will have social pressure and that will encourage people to do the right thing," he said, in addressing how this order will be enforced.

Newsom added: "Home isolation is not my preferred choice ... but it is a necessary one ...This is not a permanent state, this is a moment in time."

The stay home order is in place till further notice.

All dine-in restaurants, bars and clubs, gyms and fitness studios will be closed, according to the order. Public events and gatherings are also not allowed. Essential services will stay open, however, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks.

According to the order, Californians in 16 critical sectors are to continue working. Those include emergency services, energy and food and agriculture.

Newsom said he made the decision "based upon some new information" and projections that came in from Johns Hopkins University.

He reiterated throughout the press conference and in response to questions from reporters: "We need to meet this moment and flatten the curve together."

The Freeway 110 is pictured with downtown Los Angeles, California on March 19, 2020.
Apu Gomes | AFP | Getty Images

"We have 416 hospitals in CA, but within the hospital system we have a capacity to surge beyond the 78,000 currently staffed beds by an additional 10,000," Newsom said. "If we change our behaviors that inventory will come down, if we meet this moment, we can truly bend the curve."

"It's now just time to absorb and recognize that we need to change our behaviors in a way that meets this moment and allows a recognition that this moment will pass," he added. 

"The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions and healthcare," the order said. "When people need to leave their homes, whether to obtain or perform the functions above, or to otherwise facilitate authorized necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing."

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California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks, according to a letter sent by Gov. Gavin Newsom to U.S. President Donald Trump.

"In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase. In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days," Newsom wrote in a letter dated Wednesday. Newsom asked Trump to dispatch the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship to the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 to help with the influx of expected cases.  

At Thursday's press conference, Newsom said, "We believe the virus will impact about 56% of California's population ... You do the math, that's a particularly large number ... We believe with a 20% hospitalization rate, that's about 19,543 people that would need to be hospitalized – above the existing capacity of our system."

California reported nearly 699 confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night, according to the California health department. Newsom said the virus is spreading in the community in 23 counties across the state. It is the third hardest hit state in the U.S., behind Washington state which has 1,376 cases as of 6 p.m. EDT Thursday and New York which has at least 5,000 cases. 

Earlier this week, Newsom ordered all non-essential businesses to close, including bars, beer pubs and wineries. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, cannabis clubs and other businesses deemed as essential are still open, state and local officials say.

San Francisco Bay area officials on Monday became the first in the country to issue a "shelter in place" order that will affect nearly 7 million residents of six counties in the Bay Area as the region tries to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

California Street, usually filled with iconic cable cars, is seen mostly empty in San Francisco, California on March 17, 2020.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

The order asks all residents of six Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda, to remain home as much as possible. It takes effect at midnight and will last until April 7, the order says.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday also issued a "Safer at Home" order, asking residents to stay home and limit all "non essential activities."

CNBC's Dawn Kopecki and Yasmin Khorram contributed to this story

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