SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said that California, like much of the country, is seeing big record-setting virus spikes and if the trends continue, he warned there could be a stay-at-home order enacted for the 51 counties in the most restrictive purple tier.
Monday also marked the first day a new safer-at-home order was in effect in Los Angeles County, which brings more restrictions on gatherings and businesses, in addition to the temporary ban of all in-person dining.
The next big COVID-case increase is expected within the two weeks, when the spread of the Thanksgiving holiday will hit. By Christmas, Newsom expected hospitals in California to reach 78% capacity.
Newsom said he is looking at possible "drastic action," which includes a new stay-at-home order. California is already under a limited curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. When the first stay-at-home order was issued in March, most businesses, except grocery stores, were closed. Now, businesses are open with limited capacity.
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the order would be in effect "for as long as we need to," so as not to overburden the hospitals.
Newsom's statements come after California counties have enacted stricter COVID-19 restrictions and the state broke a record with more than 7,400 coronavirus hospitalizations.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has estimated that the county’s COVID-19 death toll could reach over 11,500 by the end of the year — meaning that more than 4,000 residents could die in over the next five weeks, the Los Angeles Times reported. A record number of people in the county were infected last week.
California has had nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with 19,121 virus-related deaths.
The state reported 7,415 coronavirus hospitalizations on Sunday, citing the most recently available data from the previous day. More than 1,700 of those patients are in intensive care units. The number of hospitalizations broke the state’s previous record of 7,170 in July.
The figures are expected to rise in the coming days as similar trends happen nationally.
The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States topped 200,000 for the first time Friday. The highest previous daily count was 196,000 on Nov. 20, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Since January, when the first infections were reported in the U.S., the nation’s total number of cases has surpassed 13 million. More than 265,000 people have died.
"The big unknown here is what actions were people taking over this long holiday weekend," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
If people engaged in high-risk activities, she said, "we’re in for a very rough time because we will have a surge on top of a surge."
FOX 11's Kelli Johnson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.