Virus Outbreak California Reopening

Health services worker Summer Deibert, left, checks the temperature of James McCluskey, right, as he arrives for work before the reopening of the San Diego Zoo, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in San Diego. California's tourism industry is gearing back up with the state giving counties the green light to allow hotels, zoos, aquariums, wine tasting rooms and museums to reopen Friday.

(The Center Square) – California reported nearly 48,000 new cases of coronavirus last week, more than double the 23,000 reported during the second week of October.

The recent surge has state and local officials considering a number of options to slow the spread and prevent another complete shutdown.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a travel advisory Friday, asking people to avoid nonessential travel, particularly over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“We’re asking Californians to stay close to home, to avoid nonessential travel to other states, other countries and, frankly, across the state if it’s avoidable.” Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of Health and Human Services, said at a news conference.

The advisory also recommends that those traveling to California, as well as residents who travel outside the state and return, to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians,” Newsom said in a statement. “We must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

Ghaly also noted that the state is not looking at another stay-at-home order at this time.

“All of that said, this is a quickly, rapidly evolving situation, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure we appropriately protect the public health of California,” he said.

Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California-San Francisco, said at a campus townhall meeting last week that people should not have Thanksgiving gatherings with anyone outside their immediate household.

“And whatever the hell you’re doing, don’t do Black Friday,” he added, noting that large crowds out shopping could become super-spreader events.

Aside from the large uptick in weekly cases, hospitalizations for coronavirus patients have increased 50 percent over the past month and the seven-day average for positive tests is at 4.3 percent compared to 2.6 percent a month ago.

Since the pandemic began, California has reported 1,030,975 cases, including 6,771 Sunday, and 18,263 deaths, including 11 Sunday.

Los Angeles County continues to be the hardest hit area of the state, reporting 3,780 new cases Saturday – the highest daily count since mid-July – and another 3,061 on Sunday.

The county Department of Public Health will submit a series of recommendations this week to the Board of Supervisors.

“Potential options could be instituting a curfew so businesses do not have to completely close down again, but are more limited to essential activities,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.

The county might also implement a limitation on business’ hours of operation. Other options include further reducing occupancy levels and encouraging employees who can work from home to continue doing so.