The new travel rule comes as the COVID-19 surge in California continues to worsen

By Ashley Boucher
December 28, 2020 11:14 PM
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Travelers wait in line to check in for a flight at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
| Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to worsen in Los Angeles, the county has issued a new quarantine order for travelers.

Anyone traveling into Los Angeles County will be required to quarantine for 10 days, the Department of Public Health announced Monday.

The department outlined exactly why it issued the mandate, which comes just days after the Christmas holiday — and the busiest day for airport travel since March on December 23. Thousands of people are expected to travel back this week, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

"For those who traveled outside of L.A. County and recently returned, you may have had an exposure to COVID-19," the department's announcement stated. "The virus can take up to 14 days to incubate, and for many people the virus causes no illness or symptoms."

"If you go back to work, go shopping or go to any gatherings at any point over the next 10 days, you could easily pass on the virus to others. All it takes is one unfortunate encounter with an individual with COVID-19 for you to become infected, and sadly, for you to go on and infect others."

"Because of the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling outside of L.A. County, for everyone that traveled or are planning to travel back into L.A. County, you must quarantine for 10 days," the department said, adding that anyone experiencing symptoms or with a positive test is required to isolate for 10 days until fever-free for 24 hours.

The new travel rule comes as targeted stay-at-home orders were extended in several regions of California, including the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, where hospital ICU capacity is at zero percent.

The Department of Public Health said that the orders will stay in effect until capacities at hospital ICUs remain below 15 percent.

Gathering with non-household members is prohibited, everyone is required to stay at home as "much as possible," business occupancy must be limited and masking and social distancing are required, among other rules, per the new orders.

L.A. County is currently consistently exceeding 13,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, the Department of Public Health said. On November 1, the average number of daily cases was around 1,200.

The death rate in the county has increased by 600 percent since early November, when there were about 12 deaths on average per day related to the virus. By mid-December, the average deaths per day was up to 84.

"Since November 9, average daily hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 increased more than 670 percent. These are the highest daily hospitalizations we’ve ever seen," the department said. There are currently 6,914 people hospitalized from the virus, and 20 percent of those people are in the ICU.

There have been more than 19.3 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 335,000 deaths related to the virus.

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