San Francisco residents may have to quarantine if they leave Bay Area over holidays

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Health officials in San Francisco said Wednesday that residents who travel outside the area during the upcoming holiday season may be asked to quarantine when they return home to try to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases.

San Francisco officials said in a statement that they are recommending a two week quarantine for people who interact with individuals from outside their households at less than 6 feet (1.8 m) of distance and without wearing masks. They are discussing with five other Bay Area counties whether to issue a regional advisory.

The proposal comes as California has seen coronavirus cases inch up recently, though the infection rate in the nation’s most populous state remains much lower than the country as a whole.

The goal would be to prevent a rise in infections in the Bay Area, which has lower case and infection rates than many areas in Southern California. San Francisco, for example, has a positivity of less than 1%, compared with 3.3% for the state, which state health officials say is about half that of the nation overall.

“The last thing we need is people traveling outside to higher prevalence areas and bringing the virus back,” Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County health officer, said during a recent public meeting about school reopenings.

California has not seen a surge in coronavirus cases like many other states in recent months, but infections have been inching up, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services. The state reported a 7-day average of 4,471 cases, which is up from a month ago but nowhere near the levels reported after a spike in infections over the summer following a series of business reopenings.

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