Coronavirus infections in California are racing upward at a level not seen since the summer, with the state surpassing 1 million cases on Thursday, and health officials are warning dire action must be taken to stop the spread of the illness.
If the surge continues in Los Angeles County, “additional actions” could become necessary to bring the rate of transmission back under control, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
Though she didn’t elaborate on what potential new measures could be implemented, Ferrer emphasized that L.A. County remains on a knife’s edge and that everyone needs to do their part to keep conditions from worsening. The warning comes as California joins Texas in becoming the only two states to have officially surpassed 1 million infections.
“We all need to act now,” she said during a briefing. “The actions we take today, tomorrow and next week have tremendous impact on the health and well-being of many, many people across the county. If, collectively, we fail to stop the acceleration of new cases, we will have no choice but to look at additional actions.”
Thanksgiving is shaping up to be a particularly painful choice. The county is recommending that residents don’t travel out of state for the holiday and, if they do, that they quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
“If you are going to travel — which we are recommending you not do, we are actually recommending this Thanksgiving be a stay-at-home Thanksgiving — but if you are going to travel, we do ask when you come back that you quarantine for 14 days,” Ferrer said. “And the tighter you can restrict your activities over those 14 days, the better off we all are.”
Though the idea of not seeing family and friends after such a difficult year may strike some as untenable or unreasonable, health officials have repeatedly warned that gathering with those outside your household heightens the risk of transmitting the disease.
Ferrer acknowledged it was a sacrifice, saying she won’t get to see her grandchildren this year because they live in another state.
“Like all of you, I wish things were really different. But they’re not,” she said. “And my feeling is I don’t want to be one of the people that’s contributing to not only increasing cases that restrict our ability to continue with our recovery journey, but increasing cases that could result in other people getting sick and even dying.”
California has generally banned large gatherings, and says smaller ones of no more than three households may be held outdoors with limitations, including time limits and requirements that attendees physically distance and wear face coverings.
L.A. County, like California as a whole, is seeing a renewed spike in coronavirus infections that currently shows no signs of dissipating. As of Nov. 3, the average number of daily cases in the county was 1,464