South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)
Public seeing new COVID-19 restrictions after Thanksgiving
Americans returning home from Thanksgiving break faced strict new coronavirus measures around the country Monday as health officials brace for a disastrousworsening of the nationwide surge because of holiday gatherings over the longweekend.
Los Angeles County imposed a stay-at-home order for its 10 million residents, and Santa Clara County, in the heart of Silicon Valley, banned high school, college and professional sports and decreed a quarantine for those who have traveled more than 150 miles outside the county.
In Hawaii, the mayor of Hawaii County said transPacific travelers arriving without a negative COVID-19 test must quarantine for 14 days, and even those who have tested virus-freemaybe randomly selected for another test upon arrival. NewJersey is suspending all youth sports.
The outbreak in Santa Clara County “is like a high-speed train,” health officer Dr. Sara Cody said.
“Our projections tell us that we are on target to derail by around the third week of December if we don’t apply the brakes right now with all our collective might,” Cody said.
Health experts had pleaded with Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving and not gather with anyonewhodidn’t live with them. Nevertheless, almost 1.2 million people passed through U.S. airports Sunday, the most since the pandemic gripped the country inMarch, and others took to the highways to be with family and friends.
Nowthey’re being urged to watch for any signs of illness and get tested right away if they experience symptoms.
PinkeyPatel, 24, is isolating at her parents’ home in San Antonio after visiting friends over the weekend and coming down with a sore throat.
Patel, whoworks in public health inNewYork City, said she had been careful, wearing masks in public and staying out of restaurants and bars. But she went to a vineyard and a friend’s home inTexas over Thanksgiving.
“I’m an extremely extroverted person and there is just so much time I can spend with my parents at home,” said Patel, who will stay away fromher parents, both of whom have preexisting medical conditions, and wear a mask inside their home for the next 14 days.
Kate McPherson, who lives inWashington, is getting tested after spending time in her home with friends who were in town over the holiday, though they all had been tested before arriving. Her family did not gather for Thanksgiving afterher brother had an exposure scare.
“I try to be very safe,“saidMcPherson, who stays out of crowded venues. She lives near her parents and gets tested every two weeks, “for their sake, but also for the sake of the community.”
Health officials are urging people to remain vigilant until a vaccine becomes widely available, which is not expected to happen for at least a few months.
The coronavirus is blamed for over 267,000 deaths and more than 13.4 million confirmed infections in the country.