SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California could see hospitalizations for coronavirus triple by Christmas and is considering stay-home orders for areas with the highest case rates to try to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed.
Governor Gavin Newsom warned Monday that without more restrictions or changes in behavior, the number of coronavirus patients could double or triple in a month.
Right now nearly 7,800 patients are hospitalized. But the biggest concern is intensive care cases, which increased 67 percent in the past two weeks. If that continues, it would push ICU beds to 112 percent of capacity by mid-December.
The state’s top health official says ICU capacity will be the primary trigger as state officials consider more restrictions.
With businesses suffering from the current restrictions, California will provide temporary tax relief and $500 million in aid to small businesses struggling because of coronavirus outbreak restrictions.
Gov. Newsom also announced those measures on Monday, which he says could be worth billions of dollars to businesses. Many are struggling to stay afloat after months of restrictions and lower sales because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which in recent weeks has surged to record levels.
Newsom says the tax relief and grants are designed to provide aid until the Legislature can meet in the new year and work with him to provide more relief.