In response to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, the state issued a month-long curfew for Sacramento County and 40 other counties placed in the most restrictive Purple Tier 1 status. This curfew starts on Nov. 21, and will be directed at non-essential work, activities, and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The order will be in effect until Dec. 21, but it could be extended or revised, state officials said. This measure will impact an estimated 37 million Californians during the holiday season.

Acting State Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan on Nov. 19 issued this “limited” stay-at-home order a few days after the state placed 94% of California’s population in the Purple Tier 1 status.

“Every intervention to decrease mixing of households is critical during this unparalleled

increase in (COVID-19) case rate rise of about 50% during the first week in November,” she wrote in her order.

Regarding the curfew’s timeframe, Pan wrote that late night or early morning activities are often non-essential social gatherings, and are likely to reduce people’s inhibitions and cause them to not practice social distancing or wear face coverings.

She noted that people can still leave their homes or lodging during the curfew as long as they don’t gather with those from other households. The curfew does not apply to the homeless, the public health officer wrote.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Nov. 19 that it was critical for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the increase in hospitalizations related to that virus.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge,” he said in a press statement. “We are sounding the alarm.”

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary, said that the stay-at-home order that the state issued this spring had “flattened the curve” or reduced the spread of COVID-19 early in the pandemic.

“We may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly,” he said in a press statement. “Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.”

California had 1.04 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 18,360 deaths since February, the California Department of Public Health reported.

Elk Grove experienced an increase of 289 confirmed COVID-19 cases between Nov. 10 and 17, according to a Sacramento County public health staff report. As of Nov. 17, Elk Grove had 3,136 cases and 47 deaths since March, while on Nov. 10, the city had 2,847 cases and 45 deaths since that month.

Sacramento County’s public health staff reported that as of Nov. 17, the county had 31,387 cases and 533 deaths since March. Of those cases, they estimated that 25,602 county residents “likely recovered” or more than 21 days had passed since they tested positive. On Nov. 17, the county had 191 hospitalized cases and 48 of them are in intensive care units.

EG police to continue education approach on health orders

When state officials announced the curfew on Nov. 19 they did not release details on how the order will be enforced.

Elk Grove Police Chief Tim Albright told the Citizen that his staff will continue their approach of educating the public about health orders related to the COVID-19 situation.

“We are proud of the response from our community as they have demonstrated a genuine desire to work collectively to slow the spread during this pandemic,” he said. “As the current health order changes, we will continue an approach that is focused on education – an education that extends to the new, statewide, limited stay-at-home order. Our community is resilient, and I am confident we will meet these new challenges together.”

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said that his agency will not enforce the curfew in their county. He also said they will not determine if people are following health or emergency orders related to mask mandates, maximum occupancy, and Thanksgiving or other social gatherings.

“Of course, if there is potential criminal behavior or the potential for impacts to public or personal safety we will continue to respond appropriately,” Jones wrote in his press statement.

Sacramento County spokesperson Janna Hayes on Nov. 19 said that the county’s public health officials are reviewing the state’s new stay-at-home order and they will decide if the county’s public health order needs to be updated.

“Sacramento County has continued to take an education over enforcement stance with the local public health order,” she stated. “We will continue to work on communicating with businesses and residents to stay in compliance with the (public health order).