West Coast governors issue travel advisories ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Three West Coast governors on Friday issued travel advisories Friday, just ahead of the Thanksgiving holidays and as coronavirus cases are surging throughout the country. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee made the joint announcement, urging visitors entering their states or returning home from travel outside these states to self-quarantine for 14 days to slow the spread of the virus. 

The travel advisories also urge against non-essential out-of-state travel and encourage residents to stay local.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” Newsom said in a statement. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

California's COVID-19 case numbers as of Nov. 13 were at 6,893, slightly above the state's seven-day average of 6,773. 

The Western states’ travel advisories also recommend people limit their interactions to their immediate household.

The advisories define essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, safety and security.

Doctors support this message.

Dr. Angela Rogers, Stanford’s Critical Care Task Force for COVID-19, also made a plea this week to rethink holiday travel.

Rogers is anticipating a third wave following peaks in April and August. She said the peak could occur after the holidays if people don't heed the warnings. She’s especially nervous given the sudden rise in cases in the past week.

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“ICU doctors and ER doctors that have been really focused on the last seven months looking at what's happening even in the Bay Area right now,” said Rogers. “We’re scared.”

Others are scared, too. But they said the spread of the virus can be curbed, if people step up and make the necessary sacrifices. 

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines," said Oregon Governor Kate Brown in a statement. "As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them."

She noted that these restrictions "will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home."

This story was reported in Oakland, Calif. KTVU's Azenith Smith contributed to this report. 

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