An image of the novel coronavirus, which is now known as COVID-19. Image courtesy of USA Today

Positive cases in Lassen County force retractions

Lassen County Incident Command and Lassen County Public Health Department announced today, May 26, that thanks to the actions of its citizens  there were no confirmed cases of the virus for three months, but that has changed.

The county was able to open businesses and expand services, but as the public’s diligence, the risk of the virus coming into the community increased with people traveling between counties, states, or even countries. “Unfortunately, we now have a serious problem in our community,” read a portion of the press release.

Late Friday night, the Public Health Department received the results of two positive tests from Lassen County residents. The staff immediately began to identify any individuals who were in close contact with the two residents. The process is called “contact tracing investigations” and is used 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. Kenneth Korver, the Public Health Officer for Lassen County, 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 need to determine the magnitude of COVID-19 within Lassen County and take measures to isolate those individuals to 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 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 facilityo 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,” the statement read. “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 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 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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