SACRAMENTO — As California sees the fastest rate of growth in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday an advisory urging anyone traveling to California or returning from out of state to quarantine for two weeks.
The advisory is voluntary, not mandatory. It comes as several Bay Area counties are moving to shut down or restrict indoor dining and other activities to try to quell the rising number of cases, and as many Americans are preparing to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The travel advisory issued by the California Department of Public Health encourages Californians to stay home and avoid nonessential travel to other states and countries.
Travelers arriving in California, including residents returning home from trips, should quarantine for 14 days, the state said. During that time, they should limit their interactions to their immediate households.
“California just surpassed a sobering threshold — 1 million COVID-19 cases — with no signs of the virus slowing down,” 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.”
California is reporting the fastest weekly rate of growth in coronavirus case since the pandemic began, state health officer Dr. Erica Pan said Friday. Cases grew 47% the first week of November — a steeper rise than the 39% jump the third week of June, when the summer surge was taking off. The daily average of new coronavirus cases in California is nearing 7,000, about twice as many as a month ago. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions related to COVID-19 are also rising, each increasing about 34% over the last two weeks, Pan said.
“The peak will be even higher (than the previous July peak) if we don’t act,” Pan said.
Nationally, the U.S. is breaking records daily for new infections, averaging more than 134,000 cases a day over the last week — a 72% increase from two weeks earlier, according to The New York Times.
The Bay Area is faring better than most major U.S. metropolitan areas. But even here, coronavirus cases started ticking up in mid-October, and began a steeper and more concerning climb the first week of November.
On Friday, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties announced plans to close indoor dining Tuesday. They join San Francisco, which earlier this week said it would halt indoor dining starting Friday and pause school reopenings. Marin County this week asked restaurants to voluntarily reduce indoor dining capacity from 50% to 25%.
“It’s absolutely imperative we take action now, each and every one of us, in order to get through this,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said at a press conference Friday announcing the new restrictions.
Santa Clara next week will move back from the orange to the red tier in the state’s reopening structure, indicating the virus is spreading more quickly. That will mean that indoor fitness centers will operate at 10%