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With COVID-19 conditions improving statewide, today the California Department of Public Health announced it is ending the Regional Stay at Home Order, lifting the order for all regions statewide, including Southern California. This allows Riverside County to return to the most strict purple tier of the Governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Nearly all the counties exiting the Regional Stay at Home Order are in the Purple or widespread (most restrictive) tier. Services and activities, such as outdoor dining and personal services, may resume immediately with required modifications, subject to any additional restrictions required by local jurisdictions.

Nonetheless, state health officials noted in a press release today that the pandemic is far from over and urged all Californians to continue wearing masks, wash hands thoroughly, avoid gatherings and mixing with other households and to get vaccinated when eligible.

“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. 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.”

The state, in collaboration with local health departments and health care facilities statewide, took a long list of actions to support California’s hospitals and slow the surge in cases and hospitalizations.

• The Regional Stay at Home Order urged Californians to stay home except for essential activities, which helped lower disease transmission levels and reduce burden on the hospital system.
• California deployed more than 4,100 medical professionals to facilities across the state to ease the burden on frontline health care workers.
• The state provided assistance within hospitals in the form of personal protective equipment, ventilators and help with oxygen supply.
• California also helped hospitals expand their capacity by opening 16 alternate care sites, lower-acuity facilities where COVID-19 patients get a bridge from hospital to home as they are recovering.
• Public health leaders implemented a statewide order to make it easier to transfer patients from over-crowded hospitals to those with more space and staff.
• The administration of vaccines to health care workers has meant that fewer health care workers are falling ill to the virus, which helps keep staffing levels more stable.

“California is slowly starting to emerge from the most dangerous surge of this pandemic yet, which is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been hoping for,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly in today’s news release. “Seven weeks ago, our hospitals and front-line medical workers were stretched to their limits, but Californians heard the urgent message to stay home when possible and our surge after the December holidays did not overwhelm the health care system to the degree we had feared.”

Because case rates remain high across most of the state, the state’s Hospital Surge Order remains in place to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Limited Stay at Home Order, which limits non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., expires with the Regional Stay At Home Order ending.

For more information, visit cdph.ca.gov or Covid19.ca.gov.