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Yolo County issues coronavirus travel advisory for residents returning to California

Sacramento Bee logoSacramento Bee 11/21/2020 Rosalio Ahumada, The Sacramento Bee

As the Thanksgiving holiday weekend approaches, Yolo County has issued a coronavirus travel advisory asking anyone returning from outside California to quarantine for 14 days to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

The county’s Public Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson issued the travel advisory Thursday, the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced an overnight curfew in counties in California’s purple tier, where coronavirus transmission rates are widespread. About 37 million Californians are in that highest tier, including residents in Yolo, Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yuba and Sutter counties.

The travel advisory recommends that anyone returning to Yolo County after travel to a higher-risk area outside of California should quarantine in their home for two weeks after they return. County officials said a negative COVID-19 test result during quarantine period does not shorten the 14-day quarantine.

“People who travel to areas outside California with higher COVID risk than in Yolo County could be bringing the coronavirus back into the Yolo community,” Sisson said Thursday in a news release.

The county’s advisory is similar to a Nov. 13 California Department of Public Health travel advisory that recommends anyone arriving in the state, including California residents, should quarantine for 14 days.

Yolo health officials on Friday afternoon reported 71 new COVID cases after reporting 53 new cases Thursday and 43 Wednesday, according to the county’s coronavirus dashboards. The county reported two new COVID-19 deaths Friday and one new death each on Thursday and Wednesday. The county has reported a total of 4,050 cases and 74 deaths.

On Friday morning, state health officials reported that 13 people infected with COVID-19 in Yolo County were hospitalized; seven of them were in intensive care units. Hospitals in the county did not have any more ICU beds available.

County officials said the local travel advisory is a recommendation, and not a requirement. They stressed that residents should quarantine no matter the reason for their travel, since the COVID-19 risks are identical for essential and non-essential travel.

Since Yolo is already in the most restrictive COVID-19 tier and so are most other counties throughout the state, county officials said there is no need for residents to quarantine after travel within California. Residents, employers and employees were advised to refer to maps of COVID-19 risk levels before traveling.

Late last month in an amended health order, Yolo County put a strict limit on attendance for social gatherings: No parties or get-togethers of more than 16.

State officials are hoping to stop the same type of non-essential social gathering with the month-long curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. that goes into effect Saturday night. They say these events have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and compliance with safety measures, such as wearing a face covering and maintaining safe distancing from others.

Some law enforcement agencies in the Sacramento region have already announced they would focus on an educational approach when confronted with residents or businesses not complying with this curfew.

In response to the curfew, called a “limited stay-at-home order” by state officials, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday it will continue to focus its efforts on education and compliance.

“We encourage everyone to cooperate with the guidance set-forth by the state. Our primary objective, which began in March and continues today, is to ensure the safety of everyone in Yolo County,” according to the announcement from the Sheriff’s Office. “We will continue to work with our residents and business owners to educate and inform them to the best understanding we have of this constantly shifting environment.”

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©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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