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Marin officials expect stay-at-home order to be extended indefinitely – Marin Independent Journal

Marin and the Bay Area will continue under a virus stay-at-home order indefinitely, officials said Friday.

“We’re waiting for the state to make the official announcement, but we fully expect that to be the case,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin public health officer, said Friday during an online town hall updating Marin’s health order and vaccine rollout. “Our numbers are going in the wrong direction.”

Willis said the new mandate extends the prior stay-at-home order issued Dec. 17 that was to expire Friday. An announcement from the state is expected Saturday.

Extension of the order would prolong complete closures of personal care services, including barbershops and nail salons; bars and wineries; and entertainment centers such as amusement parks, movie theaters, card rooms and casinos.

It would also extend reduce retail capacity, restrictions on restaurants to delivery and takeout only and keep religious services outdoors.

Schools that are already open for in-person learning may remain open. So can non-urgent medical care sites and dentist’s offices. Parks, playgrounds, beaches and open space preserves remain open. But campgrounds are closed.

Under the order, travel is also prohibited “except as necessary for permitted activities.” Hotels can only rent rooms to essential workers such as doctors or nurses.

The order is based on the ICU capacity for the Bay Area region, which includes Marin. According to Willis, the region’s ICU capacity — which is based on staffing — as of Friday was 3.5%, well below the 15% threshold the region would need to have the stay-at-home orders lifted.

“This is the lowest ICU capacity we’ve had since the pandemic began,” Willis said. “As case rates increase, ICU capacity decreases, and the numbers are still moving in the wrong direction.”

The state Department of Public Health ICU projections are based on an estimate of available regional capacity, current case and community transmission rates and the proportion of cases admitted to intensive care units, county health officials said.

Despite having the second lowest case rate in the state out of counties with 100,000 or more population, Marin still is seeing the largest surge in cases it has recorded since March, Willis said. Recently, the county had its highest number of cases — 140 — in a single day, he said.

So far in the pandemic in Marin, 115 people have died, he said.

He urged residents to strengthen their prevention measures, including masks, social distancing and hand washing and to “support our local businesses.”

Bay Area News Group contributed to this report.

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