On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that all non-essential travel in Los Angeles should be stopped beginning Wednesday as Los Angeles and Los Angeles County brace for a large rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
While not a direct order, Mayor Garcetti’s announcement of asking for all of LA to stay home and cancel travel plans for a major holiday unless they absolutely had to was unprecedented. In his announcement, he also mentioned his Monday order of having all air and rail travelers coming into Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport, and Union Station to fill out travel forms to help out in contact tracing should cases be linked back to those passengers.
‘We’re asking everyone to cancel non-essential travel,” tweeted Mayor Garcetti on Tuesday. “If you must travel, travelers arriving at LAX or Van Nuys Airport from another state or country will be required, starting tomorrow, to fill out an online form to acknowledge California’s recommended 14-day self-quarantine.”
We’re asking everyone to cancel non-essential travel. If you must travel, travelers arriving at LAX or Van Nuys Airport from another state or country will be required, starting tomorrow, to fill out an online form to acknowledge California’s recommended 14-day self-quarantine. https://t.co/FEMThw4OnX
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) November 24, 2020
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) also asked LA County citizens for something similar on Tuesday, urging people to only spend time with other people in their household and to gather virtually if there are multiple households involved, rather than travel and gather together under a single residence.
“It is critical that everyone follow the simple public health safety measures that provide protection from COVID-19 and minimize spreading it to friends and family,” said the LAC DPH in a Tuesday statement.
“Everyone should stay home as much as possible and limit going out to what is essential for the next two to three weeks to slow the surging cases and save lives. Staying home as much as possible, always wearing face covering securely over your nose and mouth when out and avoiding being near anyone not in your household are the simple actions that slow the spread of COVID-19. Public Health urges residents to connect virtually with friends and family members you do not live with.”
#COVID19 is surging in LA County and across the country. You can help slow the spread at your own Thanksgiving dinner table by only including members of your immediate household who currently live with you. If you wish to celebrate others this year, please do so remotely. pic.twitter.com/EjNmjNYViM
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) November 24, 2020
COVOID-19 new cases, deaths skyrocket in November
The LAC DPH also noted that rates have already been skyrocketing up in recent weeks with the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients nearly doubling in two weeks from 888 to 1,575. 26% of all hospitalizations in the County are in ICUs due to the severity of their COVID-19 cases. 51 new deaths and 3,692 new cases were also announced on Tuesday, having the highest one day total for new cases in the county in months.
“These restrictions probably seem crazy to many people, but these are last ditch efforts to prevent a huge surge of cases during the Christmas weeks,” said Dr. Daniel Rawlings, a Los Angeles doctor who has been helping with COVID-19 patients since March, to the Globe. “Remember, there can be asymptomatic carriers and people who are healthy who can still spread it anyway due to moving around from people who have it to people who don’t have it.
“LA can’t force people to stay at home, but they’re doing the closest step they can legally do without alarm, and that’s pleading with people to stay home and having people fill out forms to trace the virus. Seeing all this, they know a surge is happening anyway regardless because they’re preparing for it. The question will be just how bad it will be and what success, if any, the county had in trying to limit it.”
The new regulations are expected to be in place in Los Angeles throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. However, it is likely, due to an expected surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases, that they will remain in place until January.
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