SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – California health officials are begging residents to stay home on New Year’s Eve, warning it could be a matter of life of death.

More than nine months into the pandemic, state and county public health officials know fatigue has set in, especially with the latest round of stay-at-home orders. Some public health officers say there is evidence that suggests we might have hit our peak of this latest surge. What concerns them the most is we haven’t seen the real impacts from the Christmas and New Year’s surge, yet.

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Since March, those in the Bay Area have rolled with the waves of coronavirus and the stay-at-home orders that have come with them. This latest order came at a time when families hoped to gather with loved ones during the holidays.

“We might have been able to do it for a few months, getting to this point feels long for many people,” says Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary.

With ICU capacity hovering at 10% in the Bay Area region, Dr. Ghaly adds, “You can certainly stretch many rubber bands very far and we’re stretching our hospitals very far but we know that stretch has a limit before it breaks.”

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Public health officials say it is more important than ever to slow the spread. Vaccines are trickling in, providing relief to many of the frontline workers in the state. When broadly available, pharmacies like the ones at Safeway will provide them to the general public. For now, those we spoke to say they will make changes as they ring in the new year.

“We all wish we can go out and do the things that we used to but the reality is this is not a situation that reflects the way things used to be so we need to modify our behavior appropriately,” says Lafayette resident Lee Zimmerman.

“While we are all frustrated, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s going to start getting better,” adds Dick Atkinson from Orinda.

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Public health officials say they could see the worst of the cases and hospitalizations starting early in January, and hospitals are preparing for those increases.