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Governor Gavin Newsom lifted all regional "stay-at-home" orders, effective immediately, that have been in place in most of the state since early December. The announcement, which was expected, was made this morning (January 25th) and impacts the remaining geographic regions (Southern California, Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley regions) that were still under the regional stay-at-home orders.

The state public health officials also announced that the “Limited Stay at Home Order,” which instituted a 10 PM to 5 AM curfew on non-essential businesses and activities, expires with the lifting of the regional order, though few local jurisdictions had enforced this curfew. With the regional stay-at-home orders now lifted, effective immediately, the entire state, according to state public health officials, is moving back to the color-coded, tiered reopening system.

This means, effective immediately, restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and several other types of businesses including barbers, and hair and nail salons to resume operations.

As of an update last week, 54 of California’s 58 counties — combining for 99.9% of the state’s residents — were still in the purple tier. Across the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, all but Mariposa County are in purple, according to state public health officials. Tier assignments are updated weekly on Tuesdays.

The announcement came as the state's COVID-19 cases and and hospitalizations are showing what state officials believe are signs of significant improvement from the dramatic record increases in December and earlier this month, stating in a news release that the COVID-19 pandemic is “far from over,” but that there are “positive signs that the virus is spreading at a slower rate across the state.” The California Department of Public Health in a news release announced that new projections covering the next four weeks show ICU (intensive care unit) availability in all three regions above 15%, allowing the order to end effective immediately.

“Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, California Department of Public Health director and the state's public health officer, said in a prepared statement. “COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”

According to state public health officials on Sunday, California’s rolling two-week average for new COVID-19 (lab-confirmed) cases has fallen from about 40,500 to about 31,000 in the past 10 days, with the test positivity rate crashing from 13.4% down to 9.8%. The statewide total for patients hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 has fallen from a peak of nearly 22,000 on Jan. 6 to a little over 17,800 by Sunday (January 24th). The ICU total is declining more slowly, but has trended consistently downward for about two weeks, according to state public health officials. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said in previous updates that regions will be released from the regional stay-at-home order when ICU projections looking four weeks ahead show their aggregate ICU availability at or above 15%. The department also said that the regional stay-at-home orders would be lifted statewide only once all five regions were simultaneously projected to meet or exceed the 15% mark, as is now the case. Current ICU capacity as of Saturday (January 23rd): * Southern California remained at 0% capacity. * San Joaquin Valley now at 1.3% capacity. * Bay Area now at 23.4% capacity * Greater Sacramento at 11.9% capacity. * Northern California at 41.2% capacity

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