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California Announces Major New COVID-19 Prevention Measures

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced new major measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. state just one week after millions of Americans traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Speaking via video feed, Newsom announced regional stay-at-home orders that will take effect for the next three weeks if areas of California see their hospital intensive-care capacity drop below 15 percent. The measures would limit restaurant service to takeout or delivery, limit store capacity, and encourage only essential travel.

“We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” Newsom said. “By invoking a stay-at-home order for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15 percent, we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our healthcare system.”

Newsom’s decision comes as the confirmed number of cases of COVID-19 continues to climb in the United States—reaching more than 14 million cases this week with 270,000 deaths. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said the United States could see another 200,000 people die from the disease this winter if people do not drastically alter their behavior.

“The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation,” Redfield said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, according to The Hill.

“The truth is, mitigation works. The challenge with the virus is, it’s not going to work if half of us do what we need to do. It’s not even going to work, probably if three-quarters of us do what we need to do,” he added. “This virus really is going to require all of us to really be vigilant.”

While the U.S. federal government prepares to transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, state and local leaders are taking the lead on enacting new coronavirus prevention measures. Along with Newsom’s restrictions in California, Delaware Governor John Carney issued a stay-at-home advisory on Thursday that encourages residents not to gather inside with anyone they do not live with.

Residents, however, have been pushing back against the new restrictions. Some local leaders have refused to enforce the new measures in California that the say would hurt businesses that are already struggling after a bleak 2020. And in Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a three-week shutdown of casinos, movie theaters, and in-person high school and college classes, Republican legislators introduced articles to impeach and remove her from office, The New York Times reports.

ASIS International and Security Management have put together a library of resources for security professionals in responding to COVID-19. You can find the full resource set here.