Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Projections based on the number of people now testing positive for COVID-19 show Southern California will go from zero capacity in hospital intensive care units to 33% by late February, the governor said Monday in a media briefing.

“We’re not out of the woods, but we are seeing a flattening of that curve,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

Early Monday, the state lifted a strict health order for the majority of the state that banned all dine-in service, closed personal care businesses and restricted other activities.

The decision, however, doesn’t mean nail salons and restaurants will open immediately in Long Beach and Los Angeles County. Those jurisdictions will have to make that decision themselves.

County health officials said in an afternoon news conference that they would align with the state and allow more businesses to open by the end of this week. Long Beach officials had not yet responded to questions Monday.

Newsom said the decision to lift the order is based on projections that are largely based on caseloads and positivity rate among those who are tested. Statewide, the 14-day average positivity rate fell to 9.4% Monday; the seven-day positivity is even lower at 8%.

ICU capacity, he said, is a “lagging indicator,” meaning hospitals are not impacted until weeks after an area sees high caseloads. And the opposite is true: When cases start to decrease, officials can predict the demand on hospitals will diminish.

By Feb. 21, hospital ICU capacity is expected to markedly improve in every region of the state.

Caseloads have decreased slightly in Los Angeles County and Long Beach. The most recent figures from Long Beach are from Thursday, when 472 people tested positive; more current data is expected today. Just two weeks ago, the city was seeing caseloads close to 1,000 per day, with the highest in mid- to late-December.

Newsom said Monday that the state is beginning to see “a light at the end of the tunnel” given vaccinations happening across the state and diminished community spread.

Counties will now return to the previous color-coded tier system, which tracks positivity rate and cases per 100,000 in determining how fast counties can reopen.

Los Angeles and most counties in the state remain in the most-restrictive purple tier, which denotes the virus is “widespread.” Before the regional stay-at-home order plan went into effect, the purple tier rules allowed things like outdoor dining and limited operations at salons, barbershops and gyms.

“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer, said in a statement. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”