Plumas County is number one — number one in the state of California for having the highest case rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. At a time when the state as a whole is enjoying declining case rates (the lowest in the nation), Plumas is experiencing an all-time high. Plumas County is at 130 per 100,000 people compared to the Bay Area counties that are in the single digit. Counties such as Lassen and Shasta that have notoriously high case rates are at 40 and 45 respectively.
Much of the increase is being driven by cases within the schools. Quincy High School had 50 cases within a five-day period as of this morning Oct. 11. No doubt those numbers will increase as state assistance arrived this week to conduct widespread testing on campuses. Neighboring Sierra County, with a case rate of 58 per 100,000 (the third highest in the state) shuttered its schools for two weeks to stem the spread.
During this morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Oct. 12, Public Health Director Dana Loomis said that the schools are “united in a strong desire to stay open” and that Public Health is doing what it can to provide information and support to make that happen.
At this point the contact tracing is exceeding local capacity and Loomis told the board that’s why his agency has asked the state for assistance. The state’s Outbreak Response Team can provide a range of services that includes testing, case investigation, contact tracing and vaccination. The request for contact tracing help was made officially today, and is for assistance beginning this week through Nov. 12.
The state is also helping Plumas County in the form of a $250,000 grant to provide a local vaccination van, which will allow Public Health take vaccines to remote areas of the county, to those who have been displaced due to the fire, and perhaps to the schools.