California updates its travel advisory as cases surge

As California coronavirus cases continue to explode, health officials updated the state’s travel advisory this week with a clear message: Stay close to home.

The California Department of Public Health is asking residents to avoid non-essential travel to any part of the state more than 120 miles from their homes.

The recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state borders for essential travel, which includes travel for work, study, critical infrastructure support, economic services, health, immediate medical care and safety.

Travelers are also discouraged from entering the state for tourism or recreation.

Those who visit California, or residents who leave and return, are required to self-quarantine for 10 days. (You can find the full order here.)

“Persons arriving in California from other states or Californians returning from other states or countries could introduce new sources of infection (potentially including new strains) to California, the department of public health said in a statement. “Intra-state travel, likewise threatens to exacerbate community spread within California—particularly because travel itself (especially the use of shared conveyances in air, bus, or rail travel) can increase a person’s chance of spreading and getting COVID-19.”

The new recommendations replace those issued before the Thanksgiving holiday and are aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

Some counties such as San Francisco imposed their own travel orders. S.F.’s health department discourages its residents from leaving the city.

California is in the midst of a COVID surge. While the daily new case rate has gone down slightly in the last week, deaths are soaring. The state reported its second-highest number of daily coronavirus deaths Wednesday with 583 lives lost, bringing the state’s death toll to 28,045. There’s concern the state could see the case rate go back up as infections related to holiday travel and gatherings are detected. Gov. Gavin Newsom has called it a “surge on top of a surge.”