Prepare for a 6-week stay-at-home order, Sacramento County Health officials say

Forum covered the state of the pandemic in Sacramento County, vaccine availability


Christopher Michel

A sign shown prompting San Francisco citizens to abide stay-at-home orders Friday, March 27, 2020. Sacramento County Director of Health Services Dr. Peter Beilenson and Public Health Director Dr. Olivia Kasirye discussed stay-at-home order and COVID-19 vaccine availability Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 over Zoom. “San Francisco under Quarantine” by Christopher.Michel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jordan Parker

While the newest regional stay home order is scheduled to last at least three weeks, Sacramento County Director of Health Services Dr. Peter Beilenson said everyone should prepare for the order to last for about six weeks in Sacramento County at a public health and COVID-19 forum Thursday.

The regional stay-at-home order will take effect as soon as the Greater Sacramento region is below 15% intensive care unit capacity, Beilenson said. He added that Sacramento County is at 16.1% ICU capacity as of Thursday and is expected to go below the 15% threshold within the next few days.

Sacramento County has 40,305 cases with a 8.4% positivity rate and have had 359 more hospitalizations than in July, including 76 in the intensive care unit, Beilenson said.

“This surge began when people gathered outside of their household on Halloween and continued to gather on Thanksgiving, but we aren’t anywhere near done with seeing the effects of Thanksgiving gathering yet,”  Beilenson said regarding the increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

The data will still be evaluated after the three week period, Beilenson said.

Beilenson also said Sleep Train Arena can be used for non-severe cases of COVID-19 and other illnesses but all ICU patients must be at a hospital.

Under the new stay-at-home order, restaurants will only be able to offer take-out and delivery services and will not be allowed to offer outdoor or indoor dining. Other establishments such as indoor playgrounds, museums, zoos, aquariums, bars, movies, card rooms, indoor entertainment, etc. are to remain closed when the order takes effect.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are currently under review for FDA emergency use authorization, which could happen within the next three weeks.

Both vaccines are an mRNA vaccine, meaning the vaccine will use messenger RNA in your body to trigger your immune system to produce protective antibodies against COVID-19 without using pieces of the virus itself.

“The vaccines are coming and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we just have to get there,” Beilenson said.

Sacramento County will take steps to make the vaccine available to the populations that have been hardest hit by the virus, Sacramento County Public Health Director Dr. Olivia Kasirye said. 

“We are going to take special efforts to provide vaccines to minority groups and disadvantaged communities and we’ll look to work with our community testing sites to make the vaccine available to everybody,” Kasirye said.

Beilenson announced that the vaccine would be delivered in three phases:


  • Phase 1: Available in a few weeks to frontline health care workers and nursing home patients
  • Phase 2: Available in February, March and April to people over the age of 65 and those with underlying medical conditions
  • Phase 3: Available in May, June and July to the general public and those who wish to get the vaccine


Vaccines will be available at hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor offices, Beilenson said.

Before ending the forum, Beilenson addressed the attendees about the effects of the pandemic. 

“We now have over 275,000 people dead and 10%-30% of people who have had COVID-19 end up with long-term consequences no matter whether it was severe or not,” Beilenson said.

Sac County Public Health will hold another COVID-19 health forum Dec. 17.