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COVID-19 Update: Increase in Positive Cases Forces Slowing of Recovery Plan

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Two additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Lassen County have forced the county’s Public Health Department and Public Health Officer Kenneth Korver to retract steps put in place last week to reopen businesses and allow certain gatherings. The new order, signed by Korver this morning, effectively takes us back to the second phase of reopening with restaurants returning to curbside or delivery only, no in-store retail services and no worship services for at least the next seven days.

Late Friday night, according to details released by Incident Command, the Public Health Department received the results of two positive tests from Lassen County residents. This brings the total confirmed cases in Lassen County residents to four.

“The staff immediately began the investigation process to identify any individuals who were in close contact with the two residents. The process is called “contact tracing investigations” and it is a strategy to identify the source of the virus and how many people may have been in contact with a person who is carrying the virus.”

The investigation and testing confirmed two more community members had been infected with the virus. This is the first example of community spread within in Lassen County.

“It is important to note, these cases are unrelated to the five positive, non-resident cases. At this time, no Lassen County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from close contact with these individuals.”

Dr. Korver released an order today outlining the dire need to contain the spread of the virus in Lassen County. To do this, the Public Health Department needs to test people who have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. People tested in connection to the investigation need to remain in self-isolation until they receive their results. If they test positive, they will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.

To stop community transmission of COVID-19, Dr. Korver explained that we need to determine the magnitude of COVID-19 within Lassen County and take measures to isolate those individuals so we can resume reopening businesses in Lassen County. Therefore, his order retracts the Lassen County Roadmap to Recovery Reopening and restricts businesses and social activities to the following safety guidelines for the next seven (7) days:

  • Restaurant delivery and curbside pick-up only. No dine-in service at this time.
  • No in-store retail services, curbside pick-up only
  • No salon services or places of worship services at this time

In addition, all essential businesses and services must practice the following safety measures:

  • Employees or patrons who are sick must not work or enter the business facility
  • Social distancing of 6 feet throughout business
  • Regular sanitization of contact surfaces
  • Wearing face coverings are recommended but not mandatory

“We understand the impact these decisions make on local economy and mental health, but we cannot compromise the safety of our residents. This order is only in effect for 7 days. This measure will be used to identify the spread of the virus and stop the transmission of the disease in Lassen County and to vulnerable populations. If the situation stabilizes, the Incident Command will move swiftly to reopen businesses. You can aid in this process by continuing to practice social distancing, staying at home if you are sick, and deciding not to travel to areas that have widespread COVID-19 confirmed cases.”

The Lassen County Incident Command and Lassen County Public Health Department commended residents of Lassen County for practicing social and physical distancing, washing their hands, and avoiding non-essential travel.

“Your actions prevented the spread of the virus to Lassen County for 3 months. With no confirmed cases, the county was able to open businesses and expand services. As the diligence of the public relaxed, the risk of the virus coming to our community increased with people traveling between counties, states, or even countries. Unfortunately, we now have a serious problem in our community.”

The Public Health Department is working together with Verily and Project Baseline to offer free COVID-19 testing. Please register at www.lassencares.org and the LassenCares Facebook page. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please call the Lassen County COVID-19 call center at (530) 251-8100 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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