With COVID-19 surging across the nation, hospitals already at capacity and the new, more contagious strains of COVID having been detected in California, the Los Angeles County Health Department is now mandating that all people who have traveled out of the Southern California region must quarantine for ten days when they return home.
Additionally, anyone arriving in the county from outside the Southern California region must also quarantine for the ten days upon their arrival.
These new quarantine requirements are now mandatory, whereas before it was strongly recommended. However, the county does not appear to have a mechanism to check to see if people are following the quarantines.
Nonetheless, the City of West Hollywood is also reminding residents to heed these quarantines.
“The number of COVID-19 cases we’re seeing in the region is staggering. None of us can afford to be complacent or reckless right now,” said Mayor Lindsey Horvath in a statement. “We’re all counting on one another to stay safe and reduce community spread and it’s vital that West Hollywood’s community members take every step possible to protect themselves and others during this surge.”
County health officials issued this mandatory quarantine on Dec. 30 in response to the high number of people who traveled over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
“It’s absolutely vital that people observe the mandatory ten-day self-quarantine period following their arrival or return to Los Angeles County. Our healthcare workers are stretched to the limit right now and our region’s ICUs have been overwhelmed in working to meet demand for patient care,” said Horvath. “We must work together to fight this virus. Our future depends on it.”
People in self-quarantine are required to stay home or find other lodging and avoid contact with others during the ten-day period. People in quarantine are not allowed to go to grocery stores or restaurants for take-out food. Instead, they must have food and groceries delivered to them.
Under the state-mandated regional safer-at-home lockdown order, hotels and motels are not allowed to rent rooms to people for leisure or tourism. However, under the public health department’s order, they would be allowed to rent rooms to people who must self-quarantine.
People who are merely in transit through Los Angeles County are not required to quarantine.
Healthcare professionals coming to the area for work in a health facility are exempt, as are people coming to the area to care for a friend/loved one. Likewise, essential workers are also exempted.
As of Tuesday, there were a record-breaking 7,898 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. The county also recorded 244 new deaths and 13,512 new positive cases on Tuesday, both some of the highest numbers the county has ever seen.
With so many people hospitalized with COVID-19, it is feared that hospitals may not be able to treat other people who need emergency medical care – people who have a stroke or heart attack or have a traumatic injury from a car crash, etc. Thus, the county is taking steps trying to prevent the spread of the virus.