By Debra Moore
There have been nine new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Plumas County thus far this week, taking the total to 63 since the onset of the pandemic. Compared to neighboring counties, Plumas has fared well (see the map below), but such an increase could jeopardize its position in the yellow, least restrictive tier. Fortunately, the state moves counties between tiers based on what happens over two weeks, so one blip in cases shouldn’t have a negative impact.
During the Oct. 20 Board of Supervisors meeting, Public Health Director Andrew Woodruff told the supervisors that Plumas County and the state were doing well compared to the nation. (Yesterday the nation hit the highest number of new reported cases in three months.)
Woodruff also announced that the state would confirm at noon, that Plumas County would remain in the yellow tier for the third consecutive week. “I’m very proud of the hard work of the COVID team,” he told the board.
However he cautioned, that neighboring Washoe County had not leveled off and currently had 1,400 active cases. “We know a lot of our cases come from there,” he said. That statement bore out later that afternoon when Public Health announced seven new cases for the day — with four from a cluster in Greenville — all tied to a Reno resident.
Similar to health officials across the country, Woodruff is concerned about the approaching holidays. “Public Health will help the public with as much information as possible,” he said. But the holidays provide the perfect petri dish to spread the disease: indoor settings; dining together in close proximity; families from various households coming together; the tendency to let one’s guard down; and the lack of physical distancing and mask wearing.
It was also learned this week that two of the cases worked in the Superior Court Clerk’s office in the county courthouse. As a result, that office closed to the public as did some other offices out of an abundance of caution. One office that can’t close is the Election’s Office located just across the hall from the court’s first floor office. Clerk Recorder Kathy Williams called Woodruff and arranged for all of her staff to be tested the afternoon of Oct. 21, utilizing the rapid testing capability of Plumas District Hospital. “We all tested negative,” Williams said, saying they received their results by 1 p.m. on Oct. 22. Still she is recommending that voters return their ballots in the dropbox located at the front of the courthouse rather than bringing them into the office.
Woodruff asks everyone to do their part: wear a mask in public; practice physical distancing; and wash hands frequently.