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First confirmed cases bring COVID-19 home

Time to ramp up our efforts

Now that there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Plumas County (at least as of this writing) it brings the pandemic to our doorsteps. Thus far, it’s in Eastern Plumas and Indian Valley, but there’s little doubt that other areas could soon be impacted. The highly contagious nature of this disease and the fact that it spreads even while individuals are asymptomatic, will inevitably lead to new cases. Public Health is isolating patients and tracing their contacts, but we have to do our part as well

For the first time since the outbreak, it is now becoming more common to see people wearing facemasks out and about in the county. We have been receiving mixed messages on the topic from every level of government for a number of reasons.

First of all there is a shortage, and officials want health care providers and front line responders to have an adequate supply of protective equipment.

Second, they want to ensure that wearing a facemask doesn’t give individuals a false sense of protection. Maintaining social (physical) distance is still the best way to avoid contracting the virus coupled with frequent hand washing.

Third, now that it’s fully realized how an asymptomatic person can spread the virus, a facemask can help stop a person from unwittingly spreading COVID.

Since there is a shortage, it’s up to individuals to make their own masks. There are several how-to videos online, or simply tie a kerchief or scarf around your mouth and nose. However, it’s important that whatever you do it remains secure, so that you aren’t needlessly fussing with it and bringing your hands more in contact with your face. The Plumas County Public Health Agency regularly publishes press releases and videos highlighting the latest information on best practices including advice on facemasks.

This week’s newspaper is full of information relating to COVID — from school plans to the fate of popular summer events to the latest on COVID cases and testing. Because we are a weekly paper and the news surrounding COVID and our responses changes rapidly, be sure to go to plumasnews.com regularly.

Last week we gave a shout out to our county leaders who are coordinating the COVID response, but we also need to address the doctors, nurses, clinic and hospital personnel, the EMTs, firefighters, law enforcement, delivery people, store clerks, and more who every day do jobs that put them in more danger of contracting the virus all while serving us.

There are now enough personal accounts of people who have battled COVID and survived that we should be aware that this is not your average cold or flu. Even those with so-call mild to moderate cases, which do not require hospitalization, are described as being “the worst sickness I have ever had.”

This isn’t the time to be cavalier about our health or other people’s health. That’s the thing about COVID — what we do or don’t do can mean life or death for all of those whose paths we cross. Let’s all do our part and come through this as well as we can. Plumas County residents have always risen to a challenge, and this might be the biggest one yet.

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