By Debra Moore
With COVID-19 numbers continuing to increase in Plumas County, Public Health Director Dana Loomis is imploring residents to wear a mask and get vaccinated.
Plumas County will be reporting its latest COVID 19 numbers on Thursday, Sept. 9; having skipped the normal Monday reporting period due to the Labor Day holiday. However, according to figures reported to the state yesterday, Plumas County has had 1,088 total cases, with 112 individuals currently in isolation, five now hospitalized and 10 reported deaths.
Public Health Director Dana Loomis discussed the escalating numbers during the Sept. 7 Board of Supervisors meeting. He said that last week the county surpassed 1,000 COVID cases with up to six people in the hospital at one time — an all-time high. The incident rate sat at 48 per 100,000, which compares to the state average of 28 per 100,000.
Loomis told the supervisors that there is some disinformation circulating as to the cause of the increased number of cases. “Some people blame firefighters; some blame the shelters,” he said. While there were some cases associated with both of those circumstances, there were no significant outbreaks with either.
“This is mostly due to community transmission,” he said, adding that the displacement of individuals because of the fires hasn’t helped.
As a result, Loomis, in conjunction with Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Satterfield, brought back the local mask mandate Aug. 30, which will be in effect until further notice. “It’s not a decision that we took lightly at all,” he said, but he is encouraged by the “emails, phone calls and letters in support of it.”
Though the mask mandate is back in force, not everyone is adhering to it. Even during the board meeting, an audience member who stood to read a letter opposing vaccinations didn’t wear a mask — and no one addressed the situation.
Loomis said he would be meeting with the Sheriff and District Attorney this week to coordinate outreach efforts — the focus has been to educate people and not be punitive.
Loomis noted that there has been an outpouring of support for fellow community members during the fire; and the same care needs to be taken with COVID. “Ten people have died,” he said. Wear a mask; get vaccinated, he added.
The mask mandate order directs that face coverings must be worn over the mouth and nose — regardless of vaccination status — in all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and businesses, including but not limited to: retail stores, restaurants and bars, theaters, family entertainment centers, and government offices serving the public.
Individuals, businesses, venue operators, hosts, and others responsible for the operation of indoor public settings must:
Require all patrons to wear face coverings in all indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status; and
Post clearly visible and easy-to-read signage at all entry points for indoor settings to communicate the masking requirements to all patrons.
In addition, those responsible for indoor public settings are strongly encouraged to provide face coverings at no cost to individuals required to wear them.
Exemptions from face covering requirements. Individuals are not required to wear face coverings in the following circumstances:
- When alone in an office or room;
- When actively eating and/or drinking;
- When swimming or showering or engaging in water-based sports
- While actively engaged in other sports where masks create imminent risk to health (e,g wrestling, judo);
- When obtaining a medical or cosmetic service for which temporary removal of the facecovering is necessary to perform the service;Additional exemptions:
- Persons younger than two years old must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation;
- In a school setting, for medical, developmental or pedagogical reasons as outlinedin CDPH guidance for K-12 education;
- Other persons exempted according to CDPH guidance on the use of masks persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask; who are hearing impaired or communicating with a hearing-impaired person, or for whom wearing a mask would create a risk related to their work.The decision to mandate face masks indoor at public places was not made lightly. The benefit to our community of stopping this virus outweighs the short-term personal inconvenience of wearing a mask in public. The success of slowing the spread, therefore, lessening the impact to our local healthcare system, will depend on everyone’s willingness to follow the health officer’s mandate.Vaccines for COVID-19 are free and available at local hospitals in Quincy and Portola, pharmacies in Chester and Quincy, and from the Plumas County Public Health Agency. More information about how to get the vaccine can be found on the Plumas County Public Health Agency web site: https://www.plumascounty.us/2839/COVID-19-Home.
For a copy of the Health Officer’s Order go to www.plumascounty.us or you can go to Plumas County Public Agency located at 270 County Hospital Road Suite 206, Quincy. If you have any questions you can call Plumas County COVID-19 informational line at 530-283-6400 or e-mail [email protected]