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  • KQED's Political Breakdown (Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos): Dr. Anthony Fauci on California's New COVID Restrictions and Lessons from the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (2020-12-04)
  • Cap•Impact (Chris Micheli @ McGeorge School of Law): Convening the New Legislative Session (2020-12-04)
  • Inside Golden State Politics (Bill Boyarsky and Sherry Jeffe): The Myth of the Latino Monolith with journalist Pilar Marrero (2020-12-03)
  • Then There's California (Senate Democratic Caucus): Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) (2020-11-24)
  • Capitol Weekly Podcast (John Howard and Tim Foster): Doug Moore, Executive Director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 (2020-11-30)

The Nooner for Friday, December 4, 2020, presented by SYASL Partners

  • COVID-19
    -The numbers
    -Tiers for Fears and Stay-at-Home
  • Travel ban?
  • Counties
  • Wildfires
  • No juice for you
  • Governor's Office
  • Orange County Board of Supes
  • Cakeday and classifieds

Happy Friday! What a week, but at least it's heady enough to facilitate sleep. Wednesday night it was seven hours and last night it was eight. The last two nights combined are about what the previous seven totaled.

As expected, last night was all about sorting through the details after the public health order was posted along with the current data of ICU capacity for each region. Indeed, even official sources had some facts wrong with what was in the final order.

Clearly, the press conference was rushed. While originally a 12:01am commencement of the order tomorrow morning, it's now 12:59pm. Still, the presser had to be done on a Thursday, because conventional wisdom is that you don't drop good or important to be read news on a Friday because people don't watch the evening news on Friday and don't read newspapers on Saturday. I don't know how much that still is true, both because of the way we consume news and particularly in 2020, when most Californians are mostly at home anyway.

Anyway, we'll get in to what we know below, and I'm reprinting the special email I sent out yesterday afternoon.

COVID-19: Yesterday, 148 deaths were reported in the state, (increase of 32 yesterday) bringing the total to 19,594. From the LAT:


TIERS: No changes to county tier assignments. Purple/Widespread=52; Red=5/Substantial; Orange/Moderate=1

STAY-AT-HOME: In the write-up yesterday, I used ICU utilization. That's because when I was unit secretary in the Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital of Orange County back in 91-94, that's the reports we would fill out. I'll switch to using ICU capacity, since that's what the state public health care and reports refer to.


Press conference on 12/03 with Governor Newsom and HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly:

The below has been revised based on the official state order released late yesterday.

Main points:

  • The existing state color tier system with restrictions based on counties remain in place, with some local counties/cities (particularly the Bay Area and Los Angeles) having stricter restrictions then the state requires.
  • There is an additional system that looks at ICU utilization based on five regions with groups of counties, with a hard cap within each region of 85% of ICU beds being occupied, regardless of cause for hospitalization.
  • The new Stay At Home order is effective on Saturday, 12/05/20 at 12:59pm.
  • No regions are currently subject to the new Stay At Home requirements, although some counties are "within days" said Governor Newsom. The data for the regions as of 12/03 are displayed below.
  • After a region hits the 15% ICU capacity (85% ICU utilization) hard cap, all counties in that region within 24 hours.
  • Regardless of ICU utilization after placed on Stay At Home, the region will remain there for at least three weeks. At that point, the state will look at current SARS-CoV-19 transmission rates for each county in the region and project ICU utilization in the four weeks ahead. Only at that point might the region be removed from Stay At Home.
  • When a region is lifted from Stay At Home, each county will returned to the color tier system based on that counties data at the time. 

Regions: Here are the five regions, which are based on existing regions used to assess utilization and capacity of critical hospital resources. For example, it may sound silly to have Mono County in with San Diego County, but if there is a tragic accident in Mammoth, victims are likely being taken by ambulance or air to San Bernardino County or the greater Los Angeles.

Generally, rural and small counties have very few ICU beds for both resource and staffing issues, and in normal times rely on hospitals in larger counties for more than a few critical patients. Equipment statewide for COVID-19 is very much available, but it requires trained staff to manage patients on a ventilator.

If someone gets in a bad accident on I-80 between Sacramento and San Francisco, they could be hospitalized in Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, or even San Joaquin counties. Those are counties in three different regions. Play that around the state, such as if a person is being lifeflighted after a bad accident on the 405...

Thus, regional capacity is what public health officials (state and local, urban and rural) are looking at and, regardless of pandemic, their job is to be prepared for calamities that can happen at any time.

  • Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
    ICU capacity as of 12/03: 18.60%
  • Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
    ICU capacity as of 12/03: 25.30%
  • Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
    ICU capacity as of 12/03: 22.20%

  • San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
    ICU capacity as of 12/03: 19.70%

  • Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
    ICU capacity as of 12/03: 20.60%

    Cite: COVID19.CA.GOV: About COVID-19 restrictions (Under "Regional Stay Home Order")

Restrictions when a region falls under Stay At Home order:

  • "All gatherings with members of other households are prohibited in the Region except as expressed" in the order.
  • "All individuals living in the Region shall stay home or at their place of residence except as necessary to conduct activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure, as required by law, or as specifically permitted in this order."
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from the above two points.
  • Worship and political expression are permitted outdoors, consistent with existing guidance.
  • Retailers are limited to indoor operations at 20% capacity with "strict metering" and must follow existing industry guidance. Food and beverages may not be sold for in-store consumption.
  • Restaurants are allowed to offer take-out and delivery and must follow existing industry guidance. Outdoor dining is not permitted.
  • Bars, wineries, personal services, and hair salons/barbershops must be completely closed (no outdoor operations).
  • Hotels or lodging entities must not accept or honor any out of state reservation for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for the current period of quarantine and the persons identified in the reservations follow requirements for the period of the quarantine.
  • Schools that are currently open under a waiver previously granted, or ones granted a new waiver under the existing process, by a county health officer may remain open under the terms of that waiver.
  • Nothing in the order prohibits individuals from leaving their homes or other lodging as long as they "as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted" by the order. 
  • All other restrictions, such as under the state tiers or local public health orders, not expressly covered by the Stay At Home Order not expressly covered or that exceed the new order remain in effect.

This is not meant to be exhaustive list but rather a summary of key points of the new order. Consult the Stay At Home Order and all county or city orders for complete information.

TRAVEL BAN? There's been a big question as to whether there is a "travel ban" under a Stay At Home order. Short answer no. However, state officials are strongly encouraging residents to cancel holiday travel plans.

The reason there isn't a travel ban is because Supreme Court jurisprudence has found a "right to travel" for persons in the United States as part of liberty in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and, by extension, the Fourteenth Amendment extending such right prohibiting restrictions of travel to the states. Restrictions to the right to travel thus can not be deprived of the right without Due Process.

Thus, the state strongly suggests staying at home, but can't prohibit you from going over the river and through this holiday. However, it could require a fourteen-day quarantine upon returning from another state. For now, it is a "should" and not a "shall."

The state can prohibit hotels and other lodging from accepting or honoring any reservation from those coming from out of state, as outlined in the order points above.

LOCALS: There are thoughts that some counties will take additional actions to help their region stay out of Stay At Home. A sign of that is found in the Chron's Lauren Hernández story about Alameda County.

Alameda County officials said Thursday they may impose the state’s new strict coronavirus stay-at-home order even before the county’s available ICU beds dwindle down to the state’s threshold of 15% of capacity.

The county had 33% of its total intensive-care unit beds available as of Thursday — and 71.3% availability of mechanical ventilators, according to county public health data last updated on Wednesday.


Alameda County officials said that “If this situation worsens, we may need to enact the State’s Stay-at-Home restrictions before the Bay Area region meets the threshold in order to protect ICU bed availability and save lives.”

Officials also said Alameda County's own hospitals could be impacted if neighboring counties’ hospitalizations rise because county hospitals “provide aid to overwhelmed hospital systems elsewhere.”

The county is in California’s most restrictive purple tier in the state’s reopening plan, but county officials said Thursday that they were encouraging “all businesses and residents to plan now for further restrictions.”

If individual counties implement an order before the state shuts down a region for a minimum of three weeks, they could reopen sooner. Of course, they could also tailor the restrictions differently than the state's order.

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WILDFIRES: While there are several wildfires that are below 1,000 acres (generally my threshold), the most significant is the Bond Fire burning in the hills and canyons above central/southern Orange County. The latest we have this morning is 6,400 acres and 10% containment. While OC Fire Authority previously had an estimate of 7,200 acres, the OCFA PIO reports that better mapping reduced the acreage. There is not estimates on property damage yet.

NO JUICE FOR YOU: As of 10am, Southern California Edison's PSPS outage was down to 2,971 customers, 44% of which were in Ventura County, primarily in Thousand Oaks. In SDG&E territory, 36,278 customers were currently under a PSPS, primarily in north and east county (not San Diego proper).

GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: Politico's Carla Marinucci has the scoop that Angie Wei will be the new legislative secretary in the Office of the Governor. Wei is currently cabinet secretary and previously was the top lobbyist for the California Federation of Labor. I first met Angie when she was with the California Welfare Rights Collaborative and I was a kid lobbyist for community colleges during welfare reform (TANF) implementation. She succeeds Anthony Williams, who departed September 1. Wei finished off the bill signing period as acting legislative secretary.

OC BOARD OF SUPES: With Michelle Steel's election to CA48, the largely coastal Orange County district, there is now a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors until the regular election in 2022. Former state senator John M.W. Moorlach (R) has declared and several others expressed interest, with Huntington Beach councilmember Mike Posey and Newport Beach councilmember Kevin Muldoon declared. However, with Costa Mesa mayor Katrina Foley's (D) entrance, local GOP organizations are getting behind Moorlach and discouraging others from running to keep the nonpartisan seat in GOP hands.

As Steel can remain as chair of the Board of Supervisors until she is sworn in to the House on January 4 or 5 (the Constitutionally prescribed date of January 3 falls on a Sunday), there is no special election date. Supes make $150,000/year and in OC have a very nice benefits and retirement package, so it's unlikely she'll resign early. 

More tomorrow I am sure, but the clock has run out on me.

...cakeday and classifieds after the jump


Probolsky Research


CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jon Fleischman, Justin Hyer, Bob Mulhulland, and Rep. Grace Napolitano!


Add your classified now both in The Nooner and online for $50/week or $150/month by emailing, with a headline, a summary of up to 200 words, and what you'd like the end date to be. You can attach a PDF or provide a link for a bigger job description/info to apply. [Other advertising options]

CCST Expert Briefing: Carbon Neutral California: Blue Carbon Sequestration along California’s Coast
Join the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) in partnership with the Office of Assemblymember Mark Stone and the California Ocean Science Trust on Wednesday, December 9th from 1:30-2:30pm for our latest Virtual CCST Expert Briefing: Blue Carbon Sequestration along California’s Coast. A panel of experts from San Diego State University, USGS, Silvestrum Climate Associates, and LandSea Science will discuss strategic ways to increase blue carbon sequestration in California’s coastal ecosystems. RSVP
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