LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California health officials — in conjunction with their West Coast counterparts in Oregon and Washington state — have issued a travel advisory requesting that those arriving in the state quarantine for two weeks.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the advisory Friday morning requesting anyone who arrives in California from another state or country voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days.
On Thursday, California became only the second state in the nation to reach 1 million coronavirus cases after Texas also did so earlier in the week.
"Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians," Newsom said in a statement. "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."
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary, said that cases are rising in the state 20% faster than they were toward the beginning of the pandemic.
Less than two weeks out from Thanksgiving, the advisory urges Californians to avoid non-essential travel. It also recommends people "limit their interactions to their immediate household."
"With the self quarantine for 14 days, it should really be limited to interactions with their immediate household and not mixing with households that they've come to California to visit," Ghaly said.
Some travelers at Hollywood Burbank Airport who spoke with KCAL9/CBS2 said that they think the suggestion is a good one, but they are not sure if people will follow it.
"I don't think a lot of people will listen to it, but I do think it's logical just to have that out there for the people who need to travel," said Janine Aspey.
Some said they'll be staying at home for the holidays celebrating within their own households, which state officials are encouraging.
"We had a trip planned for Hawaii in January but I'm thinking about cancelling that trip, it's just too risky," said Juan Apolinar. "So it's probably better just to stay home."
State health officials have said that the advisory could be made a ban if conditions continue to worsen.
Grocery stores, meanwhile, have been urging shoppers to plan ahead and avoid crowded lines on Thanksgiving and Christmas, which could create superspreader situations.
California has recorded at least 1,005,832 cases of COVID-19 and 18,137 deaths from the disease. Los Angeles County alone has accounted for about one-third of those cases, with 330,514 recorded through Thursday. L.A. County health officials said that they could be forced to tighten restrictions if the case count continues its current trend.
"If collectively we fail to stop the acceleration of new cases, we will have no choice but to look at additional actions,'' L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer told reporters Thursday afternoon. "All around the country, elected officials and public health leaders are introducing new requirements to protect health care systems from becoming overwhelmed."
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