California authorities sent a cellphone text alert Tuesday to two major regions to tell millions of people that the novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly and asking them to stay home except for essential activities.
The noon blast to the state-designated 11-county Southern California region and 12-county San Joaquin Valley region was sent by the Office of Emergency Services.
The text also urged people to wear masks and physically distance.
Both regions came under increased restrictions this week after the capacity of hospital intensive care units dropped below 15%. The restrictions will remain in effect for at least three weeks.
The regions will be eligible to emerge from the order on Dec. 28 if ICU capacity projections for the following month are above or equal to 15%, the OES said.