New 'Stay at Home' Order Coincides With New More Contagious Covid Variant Found in LA

Times Staff Report
Staff Writer

Due to accelerating Covid-19 cases and zero remaining ICU capacity in most of the state’s hospitals, on Dec. 29, the state of California’s Public Health Department extended the ‘Stay at Home’ order in the Southern California Region, where Mono and Inyo also counties lie, indefinitely, and in many other regions as well.

The order will not be lifted until ICU capacity in each region assigned by the state to measure ICU capacity are above 15 percent, and for several weeks.

The order came despite the pleas of locals and others across the state, worried that their very livlihoods were about to be destroyed due to the prolonged closure of most local businesses (see story on p. 3) and short-term rentals, especially because this is the very holiday weeks that are usually the busiest of the year in Mammoth and other resort areas.

But the virus, which was surging unabatedly as the Times went to press, was not deterred by pleas or economics and the numbers continued their grim, exponentially-growing downward spiral this week, just like they have for the past few weeks.

Not only that, but the new, more contagious variant of the virus, first discovered in Colorado this week, was found in Southern California on Wednesday afternoon just as the Times was headed to press.

So, the Stay at Home order is now, once again, in effect.

Although the state said it would be ‘indefinite,’ at a recent press conference on Tuesday, it also noted that the Stay at Home can be lifted once ICU capacity gets to, and remains, above 15 percent for more than a few weeks (see more on this below).

“It is a reminder that this virus continues to spread through our communities,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency.

“Hospitals are full, ICU beds are few, people are dying,” he said.

“The simplest thing we can do, but also the most significant, is to stay home,” he said. “We are the first line of defense against this virus and we must act now,” he said.

So, to that end, the local Mono County/Town of Mammoth Lakes Unified Command Emergency Operations Center (EOC) said this week in a news release that it “is advising Mono County residents and visitors that the Southern California Region four-week projections provided by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) demonstrate adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) demand continues o exceed capacity resulting in the indefinite extension of the Regional Stay-at-Home Order (RSAHO).

“The state officially announced the Region’s four- week adult ICU projections at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020,” they said. “Based on four regional inputs, including ICU capacity, seven-day average case rates, transmission rate (Reff), and rate of ICU admission, the four-week projections for the Southern California Region exceeds current ICU capacity. Projections are made on a daily basis and published on the State’s website.”

The Regional Stay-at-Home Order will be lifted when regional available adult ICU bed capacity is greater than or equal to 15 percent, the EOC said, and when it is projected to remain above that level for the subsequent four weeks. At the end of the Stay-at-Home period, each county within the Region will be assigned to a Tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The indefinite extension of the RSAHO means that the Mono County Public Health Officer Order related to Lodging Facilities issued on Dec. 5, 2020, (or as amended) remains in effect and shall be in effect until the Southern California Region is no longer subject to the RSAHO, or Mono County is otherwise released from the coverage of that Order.

Lodging reservation restrictions: The Dec. 5, 2020 Mono County Public Health Officer Order (or as amended) clarifies the State Order prohibiting the use (renting or leasing) of short-term lodging for recreational or leisure purposes, and limits lodging to people engaged in essential services (support of critical infra structure sectors including pandemic response). This applies to lodging facilities operating within the Town of Mammoth Lakes and unincorporated Mono County, with a limited exception in the RSAHO applicable to travelers from out of state who must quarantine for 14 days unless approved as providing essential services. Travelers in quarantine will need to demonstrate their ability to provide for all of their needs without leaving their lodging for the 14-day quarantine period. Homeowners are permitted to utilize their property during the RSAHO, however, no other guests or individuals outside of the owner’s immediate family household may occupy the property on a short-term basis (i.e., less than 31 days), unless they fall within an exception to the Stay- at-Home Order.

Town of Mammoth Lakes info: Lodging reservations during the RSAHO are only permitted as identified in the Dec. 5, 2020 Lodging Order (or as amended). The Town has provided a Transient Rental Restriction Exemption Claim Form to facilitate lodging for essential workers. This form and the required supporting documentation are required to be submitted for approval to the Town Finance Department via email:documents@ Please contact the Town of Mammoth Lakes Finance Department at (760) 965-3660 for additional information or for assistance completing this form.

Mono County info: Lodging operators in Mono County are responsible for ensuring nightly rental guests meet one of the exemptions under the Order. The “Mono County COVID-19 Overnight Rental Guest Registration Questionnaire” form (accessible from the Business section on the Mono County COVID-19 Portal) must be filled out completely and signed by both the guest and lodging operator, or the lodging operator must track compliance using a comparable system with similar detail. Mono County may request tracking forms and the required documentation to audit compliance and respond to complaints. For questions, please email To report violations, please email Violation complaints are confidential and are more effective if evidence, such as photos or other documentation, are provided along with details such as date, time, and address.

• Business sector status, such as retail, restaurants, offices, or places of worship and political expression can be found on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy website, below.
• Details on the CDPH’s Regional Stay-at-Home Order can be accessed here: stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/#regional-stay- home-order.
• Additional information regarding the Blueprint for a Safer Economy is available online: https://covid19. or by visiting the Mono County COVID-19 Portal in English: Coronavirus or Spanish: coronavirus-es.