As California passed 1 million COVID-19 cases and infections continued to increase across the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued travel advisories on Friday urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The travel advisories urge against non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country.
“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”
Late Thursday, Newsom gave the state an idea of what’s happening. He posted a tweet reporting that the state’s 7-day rolling average of new cases stood at 6,927, the highest since the virus’s peak in August. Even more frightening, COVID-related hospitalizations had jumped 36% and coronavirus-infected ICU patients are up 37% in the past 7 days.
-Positivity rate: 3.9%
-Daily case average: 6,719
-Hospitalizations: 36% increase
-ICU: 37% increase
We absolutely must take these increases seriously.
Wear your mask. Physically distance. Do not let your guard down.
Your actions could literally save lives.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 13, 2020
California is only the second state in the country to pass 1 million cases of COVID-19. Texas breached that barrier earlier in the week. State officials are obviously looking ahead and taking action to prevent spread from becoming exponential.
This week, California’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, presided over the announcement that 11 of the state’s counties would be sliding back into more restrictive coronavirus regimes. It was the first time since Newsom announced his Blueprint for a Safer Economy that none of the state’s counties moved forward, according to Ghaly. He also offered a preview of what’s to come.
“As we look forward to next week and we see which counties may have missed their current tier threshold this week, we anticipate if things stay the way they are, that between this week and next week over half of California counties will have moved into a more restrictive tier,” Ghaly said. “And so that certainly is an indication that we’re concerned and that we have to keep a close watch on what’s happening.”
Los Angeles County has had a similar advisory in place urging people who travel out of the area to quarantine for 14 days when they return, although the recommendation wasn’t widely publicized. Word of its existence spread last week as when Dr. Paul Simon, Chief Science Officer for the L.A. County Department of Public Health, was asked about residents planning to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving and winter holidays. L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer later confirmed the news.
“If you’re traveling out of state, please pay attention to the many restrictions other states have introduced to limit travel and limit transmissions,” Ferrer said on Thursday. “Public Health does recommend that those who travel out of state quarantine for 14 days once you return to our county.”
In addition to urging individuals arriving from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, the states’ travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household. The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security.
City News Service contributed to this report.