Publisher’s Perspective: How long do we stay home? (Opinion)

Rob Galloway
Publisher's Perspective

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s plan to divide into regions, and within those regions, if the ICU bed capacity falls below 15%, then a stay at home order would be put into place. Yes, that’s old news at this point.

But, in that same announcement meeting, it was also said that counties within the region can come off of the stay at home order if their projected four-week bed capacity exceeds 15%. So, as we set out to search for a silver lining for El Dorado County in hopes that the county would be in a position to hop out of the stay at home order sooner than later, all we found was a bunch of grey.

The county told us the region has to come off as a whole, contradicting what was announced. While this wouldn’t be the first time a government office hasn’t told us the exact truth, it only got more frustrating.

A slew of inquiries and passing along from person to person from our dear friends at the California Department of Public Health got us an answer that said they believed that counties can come off on their own.

Great. Progress. But why the contradiction? So we kept pushing.

Finally, after pulling all the possible teeth to get an answer we got confirmation attributed to the state Department of Public Health that individual counties are not allowed to leave their region, no matter what the ICU bed capacity is in any given county.

Ball. Deflated.

Counties can leave the stay at home order only as a region if they meet the projections 4-weeks out that they are above 15%. Okay, great. What exactly is factored into those projections? Oh great, here we go again.

It wasn’t that long ago, the governor’s office moved to a weekly update for counties to move tiers because the virus was surging and things we’re moving too quickly. So tell me, with the virus still surging, exactly how are you going to project four weeks?

Two weeks was the norm for reviewing data during the summer, but now it’s four weeks? Why? How? The vaccine? It just got here. The determination of four weeks was made before it arrived.

It’s like the lawmakers sat in a room and rolled a die to see what the magic number should be. Maybe there’s some data or information to show it’s easily determined, but we have yet to be given an explanation as to how their twice-weekly reviews will determine this.

On top of this, everything we’ve been told throughout the pandemic is that the virus affects people differently. How in the world is anyone supposed to project who is going to come down with the virus, and when? That person may need ICU care, they may not. Does the magic four-week sauce help predict the future?

We’ve been told the winter will be dark and to remain vigilant with our safety protocols, which I think at this point, most are okay with if it means we’ll be out of soon. But the problem is that nobody can give us an answer as to what soon actually means.

Nobody wants to make a false prediction as to when the stay at home order can be lifted for fear of being wrong and publicly held hostage for their answer.

I am not suggesting to go against the stay at home order. But I am pointing out the bush league approach to what the hell it means, and more importantly, how soon can we come out of it.

To reiterate: the region as a whole can come off the order if, again, 4-week projections are above 15%. Once that does happen as a region, then the counties within can move back to the tiered color systems we all know and love.

Yes, it is possible that regions can move back into the order and start it all over again, but the hopeful assumption would be that if we can move out, the trends are in a good enough place that we shouldn’t have to.

The only issue is that we have no idea when that actually might be. I guess at this point we have to settle for a grey lining.

Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at or 530-542-8046.

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