By Andrea Nakano

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) – A surge in coronavirus cases has prompted a crackdown in California just a week before the Thanksgiving break, a time when many had planned to travel and celebrate with family and friends.

Local public health officials are making a plea for residents to reconsider those plans. But one health expert KPIX spoke with has very little hope that enough people will change their plans to stop the spread of the virus.

Holiday shopping is in full swing in downtown Walnut Creek but some feel the Grinch has stolen Thanksgiving as public health officers throughout the Bay Area make a plea.

We strongly discourage travel outside the Bay Area. Strongly discourage travel,” said Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Sara Cody.

In Contra Costa County, people are also being asked to stay close to home as hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last month. Epidemiologist Dr. Art Reingold is concerned not enough people will heed the warning.

He says, “I am afraid that we will see a worsening in the coming month or two or potentially the whole winter but I hope I’m wrong,” said Dr. Reingold.

In Walnut Creek, Governor Newsom’s orders issued on Monday have at least forced some to rethink their holiday plans.

“We’re giving it a second thought. Possibly staying home and doing nothing,” said Vanessa Tomasello.

Others have already committed to celebrating at home, like Gaby Agheli.

“We’re such a huge family so it’s very difficult. We’ll probably be FaceTime-ing everyone,” said Agheli.

Others say they plan on getting tested for COVID-19 before gathering with their families but health experts remind folks testing doesn’t stop the spread.

“Just because I have a negative test today, by the time I get my results two days later, it doesn’t mean I’m still negative. It doesn’t necessarily mean I was negative at the time I got the test,” said Dr. Reingold.

Contra Costa County Health Department recommends that if you are gathering with those outside your household, keep it to just three families, outside and less than two hours.

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