Californians face possibility of new lockdown |

Californians face possibility of new lockdown

Californians not involved in essential services could be asked to remain in their homes should hospital capacity decrease further, health officials said this week.

On Thursday, Alpine County Public Health Officer Richard Johnson said the trigger for the order is when Greater Sacramento area intensive care unit beds drop below 15 percent, which is expected to occur in the next week or so.

According to Johnson, the area including Alpine County, is at 22.3 percent.

The order would be in effect for three weeks after the trigger, with Californians being told to stay at home as much as possible to reduce mixing with other households. The effort is an attempt to slow the current infection rate and prevent medical facilities from being overwhelmed.

Alpine County residents would still be allowed to travel for critical services, outdoor activities and shopping for supplies.

Like its neighbors, California’s least populated county is experiencing a surge in cases with half of the six people with the disease in the hospital.

The county has experienced 57 cases since the beginning of the pandemic with the vast majority of those coming in the last month.

In California counties are assigned tiers based on the risk of getting the virus, with both El Dorado and Mono counties in the purple tier. Alpine County is in the red tier.

On Wednesday, Mono County reported it had 37 new cases during the week before Thanksgiving. Those did not include any cases at Pickel Meadows, where health officials say the most recent outbreak appears to be over.

“Our local coronavirus cases continue to climb at an alarming rate that could severely threaten the capacity of Mammoth Hospital and hospitals throughout the state and region to provide care to those in need,” Mono County Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Boo said.