Still on Covid for a minute, Associated Press report that California’s coronavirus cases are at their highest levels in months, a disquieting reality Gov. Gavin Newsom said was “obviously sobering” and that led San Francisco Bay Area health officials to urge people who travel outside the region to quarantine for two weeks upon return.
Newsom said some of the increase could be tied to Halloween celebrations while Barbara Ferrer, the health director for Los Angeles County, urged people who gathered during the weekend to celebrate Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race to quarantine to avoid fueling the spread.
LA County is home to 10 million people, roughly one-quarter of California’s population, and was seeing 750 cases per day in September. Last week, four days saw case counts above 2,000.
“Recovery just doesn’t continue when you have thousands of new cases each day,” Ferrer said. “And many of these cases stem from people taking risks that are frankly not appropriate. It isn’t that hard to play by the rules, especially since these rules are what keep some people alive and allow our economy to improve.”
The positivity rate the number of people who test positive climbed from 2.5% to 3.7% in about three weeks, hospitalizations are 29% over 14 days and “that trendline continues up,” Newsom said. Meantime, California is nearing two grim milestones: 1 million cases and 18,000 deaths.
Now, health officials for 10 Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley expanded a recommendation last week by San Francisco recommending residents self-quarantine when they return home from outside the state to try to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases.
In a joint statement, the officials said people who insist on getting together for the holidays should keep their visits outdoors and lasting no more than two hours, and include a maximum of three households.
“This surge in COVID-19 cases is not what we want to see going into the fall and winter holiday season,” Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.
Cody said the increase is largely among people between the ages of 18 and 34 and could be because people are letting their guards down on safety measures such as wearing masks and staying socially distant.
Aside from unmasked family gatherings, the upcoming holidays and simultaneous flu season, Newsom injected a new worry: That people will drop their guard because of positive news regarding testing of coronavirus vaccines.
“This vaccine is not going to be readily available for mass distribution … likely well into the next year,” he said. “I am concerned, truthfully, that we may get overexuberant … and people may go back to their original form. That would be a terrible mistake.”