SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — The governors of all three states along the west coast issued a joint travel advisories Friday as cases of COVID-19 continue to rapidly increase across the nation.
The advisories urged visitors heading to the west coast or returning home from other states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. They also recommended postponing all non-essential out-of-state travel and were requesting everyone 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,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “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.”
Officials noted that the advisories were not a mandate or order by the respective states. There won’t be any checkpoints at airport or borders in regards to travel out of state.
The top health official in California is urging residents not to travel if it’s non-essential.
One person KPIX 5 spoke with said they had already canceled any possible planned holiday visiting due to the surge in COVID cases.
“I have three children and grandchildren. We normally do get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not this year because of COVID,” said Eureka resident Steven Cavin.
Another felt that visiting would be fine if protocols were followed.
“As long as you’re taking the necessary precautions — wearing masks and hand sanitizers and all the good stuff — I think it’s okay,” said Santa Cruz resident Dima Loutfi.
COVID-hospitalizations across the state have risen by at least 50 percent in the last month, according to the California Department of Health.
“It’s like little coronavirus bombs going off the rate of increase is exponential after it looks gradual and that’s what I’m worried about. But if we try to mitigate risk as community, we’re going to prevent that surge,” said UCSF Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
The advisories come as the nation sees a second COVID-19 surge, with the U.S. hitting 10 million cases this week.
“We absolutely must take these increases seriously,” Gov. Newsom said during a recent press conference where he noted that the state’s daily case average reached 6,719.
State health officials recommend all travel remain local, except in cases when the travel is considered essential. Essential travel includes treks for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security.
“If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said.
The governors took to social media to spread the message.
“We have to rethink spending time with people from outside our households right now, including Thanksgiving and the December holidays,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wrote on social media. “This is temporary. We will get back to normal. But right now, it is just too dangerous to gather.”
Triple AAA estimates 50 million Americans will hit the road for the holiday this year. That is down from 55 million in 2019, and constitutes the largest drop since the Great Recession in 2008.
Nearly half of the states in this country have some type of travel restriction.
Some are more stringent than others like Hawaii, which requires COVID testing and travelers to submit documents proving negative tests during travel.
The CDC is also advising people to travel as little as possible.