KEY POINTS

  • California officials immediately issued a stay-at-home directive in mid-March
  • Governor Gavin Newsom said the coronavirus spread was not as fast as anticipated as a result
  • San Francisco is further enhancing its physical distancing guidelines

California officials' call for the public to stay home and observe social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic is reportedly paying off. Governor Gavin Newsom said in a press conference on Tuesday, March 31, that the spread of coronavirus did not come as fast as anticipated.

Two weeks earlier, Newsom projected a worst-case scenario where he said that over 25 million Californians would have COVID-19. San Francisco Bay officials immediately issued orders to stay at home. Los Angeles and the rest of the state followed a few days later.

Though the state's coronavirus cases remain unstable, Newsom believes that they were able to buy some time to prepare for the pandemic's peak to avoid crashing medical facilities.

"We have the time to prepare,” Newsom said. “That was the whole point on moving early in physical distancing.”

47998168401_71b02a9290_k Governor Gavin Newsom said that they are able to buy more time and prepare for coronavirus' peak in California by social distancing. Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

California has added about 50,000 more hospital beds to the current 75,000. Newsom thinks that, because of social distancing, California's peak may likely come in May.

Staying home and practicing physical distancing also proved helpful, considering the challenges of COVID-19 tests. As of Saturday, March 28, California has done 84,000 tests, but 70 percent of these have pending results. Thus, Los Angeles County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer reiterated staying home is still the most important step to help flatten the curve.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is further enhancing its social distancing rules to ensure that the healthcare system won't be overwhelmed with patients. City officials released a new directive on top of the initial March 16 orders.

San Francisco will now ban residents from visiting playgrounds, picnic, and recreational areas, as well as dog parks. Sports facilities, including golf courses, have been ordered closed while essential businesses are required to have social distancing protocols effective April 3.

Violators will be fined and cited, but authorities are expecting the residents will comply.

The Bay Area has more than 2,300 confirmed cases and 59 deaths as of the end of March. Under the new directive, physical distancing in San Francisco will be in effect until May 3, extending its original April 7 end.