The coronavirus surge across the state showed no signs of abating as deaths spiked and hospitals continued to fill to the breaking point, prompting health officials Saturday to maintain the Bay Area’s stay-at-home order indefinitely.
California health authorities reported a record one-day total of 685 coronavirus deaths on Friday, as many hospitals, particularly in Southern California, strain under unprecedented caseloads. That was far beyond the previous record of 560 deaths, set Wednesday.
The flood of cases continued, with the state reporting another 49,319 new infections on Friday. On Saturday, San Francisco added 451 new cases, its highest daily figure yet.
Hospitals reported a record low availability of intensive care beds since the pandemic began, with just 1,147 spots left for critically ill patients — 63 fewer than the day before.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations are nearly 22,000 and state models project the number could reach 30,000 by Feb 1.
The Bay Area’s ICU beds dipped to 3% capacity on Friday, well below the 15% needed to relax restrictions and reopen restaurants or other services.
The region’s stay-at-home order could have been lifted as early as Friday, but given the ongoing surge, no one had expected that to happen. San Francisco health officials decided last week to preemptively extend the order indefinitely. It’s unknown when projected ICU capacity will allow that.
“Our case rate and numbers are at an all-time high and some of our hospitals are already being pushed to extremes,” Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s public health officer, in a statement. “The fact that regional Stay-Home Order for the Bay Area has been extended is further evidence of how quickly the virus is spreading in our region and throughout the state.”
Under the order, residents are directed to remain at home except for essential activities like work, shopping or medical appointments. Outdoor recreation remains allowed.
The vaccine roll-out remained slow, with 652,128 doses administered in California out of 2,060,800 shipped to local health systems — enough for about one out of every 40 people in the state to get the required two doses.
Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @jilltucker
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