Flood Watch
from FRI 11:00 AM MST until SAT 11:00 PM MST, Coconino Plateau, Yavapai County Mountains, Little Colorado River Valley in Coconino County, Little Colorado River Valley in Navajo County, Little Colorado River Valley in Apache County, Western Mogollon Rim, Eastern Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, Northern Gila County, Yavapai County Valleys and Basins, Oak Creek and Sycamore Canyons, Western Pima County including Ajo/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tohono O'odham Nation including Sells, Upper Santa Cruz River and Altar Valleys including Nogales, Tucson Metro Area including Tucson/Green Valley/Marana/Vail, South Central Pinal County including Eloy/Picacho Peak State Park, Southeast Pinal County including Kearny/Mammoth/Oracle, Upper San Pedro River Valley including Sierra Vista/Benson, Eastern Cochise County below 5000 ft including Douglas/Wilcox, Upper Gila River and Aravaipa Valleys including Clifton/Safford, White Mountains of Graham and Greenlee Counties including Hannagan Meadow, Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains including Mount Graham, Chiricahua Mountains including Chiricahua National Monument, Dragoon/Mule/Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountains including Bisbee/Canelo Hills/Madera Canyon, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains including Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven, Baboquivari Mountains including Kitt Peak, Kofa, Central La Paz, Aguila Valley, Southeast Yuma County, Gila River Valley, Northwest Valley, Tonopah Desert, Gila Bend, Buckeye/Avondale, Cave Creek/New River, Deer Valley, Central Phoenix, North Phoenix/Glendale, New River Mesa, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Rio Verde/Salt River, East Valley, Fountain Hills/East Mesa, South Mountain/Ahwatukee, Southeast Valley/Queen Creek, Superior, Northwest Pinal County, West Pinal County, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Tonto Basin, Mazatzal Mountains, Pinal/Superstition Mountains, Sonoran Desert Natl Monument, San Carlos, Dripping Springs, Globe/Miami, Southeast Gila County

‘URGENT ALERT’: CDC urges mask use, social distancing ‘NOW’ amid COVID-19 surge

A woman wearing a mask and a cold weather jacket walks her dogs in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

As COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket across the country, the CDC posted an “urgent alert” tweet calling on people to wear a mask and follow other safety precautions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to Johns Hopkins, the world had reported more than 56 million positive cases and 1.3 million deaths as of Nov. 19. In the United States alone, more than 11 million people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and more than 250,000 people had died.

The CDC’s tweet took on the toughest tone Americans have seen yet from the agency over the course of the pandemic. The CDC urged people to wear a mask, stay six feet away from each other, wash hands, and stay home if possible.

“COVID-19 is the most significant public health challenge our country’s faced in more than a century,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told reporters last month. “That is why it’s so important that all of us remain diligent in our efforts to defeat this virus and to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.”

In a telebriefing held Thursday, the CDC warned against traveling to visit relatives and friends this Thanksgiving and holiday season and urged those with possible coronavirus symptoms or other illnesses to stay home.

“With Thanksgiving approaching our hearts and minds turn to visiting family and friends,” said Dr. Henry Walke, the agency’s COVID-19 incident manager. "Amid this critical phase, the CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period."

RELATED: CDC updates coronavirus Thanksgiving guidance, urges against travel

Walke added that for those who do decide to travel, the health agency recommends doing so "as safely as possible," which includes wearing a mask while in public, maintaining social distancing and washing hands often with soap and water.
 
The CDC also recommends that travelers consider whether someone they may see during their visit is at risk for severe illness, whether community spread is high where they live, or at their destination and if there are local quarantine requirements. If plans require bus, train or air travel, the agency said people should consider what social distancing measures will be implemented.

An updated version of the guidance was posted to the CDC website on Thursday. Citing the 1 million new cases of coronavirus reported in the U.S. last week, the agency said the safest way to mark Thanksgiving this year would be "to celebrate at home with the people you live with."

This story was reported from Los Angeles. FOX News contributed.