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Public Health releases report documenting impacts of fire and COVID on residents

What are the cumulative effects of fire and COVID on Plumas County residents? A new report released by the Public Health Agency details some of the impacts.

Public Health Director Dana Loomis appeared before the Board of Supervisors on April 18 to tell the board about the updated report and to briefly share some information. “Our communities have suffered a lot over the past three years,” he said, and enumerated some impacts on the population:

  • Damage to mental health
  • Loss of social connection
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of food
  • Loss of access to medical care
  • Loss of housing

“Look at the report,” he told the supervisors. “It demonstrates the level of harm that has been experienced.” He added that many respondents asked for better coordination and communication, such as a “public information officer at the county level to funnel communication, and faster real-time data would have been helpful to keep residents informed.”

The new report is actually an addendum to the 2020 Community Health Assessment. Loomis said it became necessary to amend the original report due to the twin threats of fire and Covid. A portion of the report reads: “As the pandemic continued into 2021, wildfires burned large areas of Plumas County, degrading air quality, displacing thousands of residents, and destroying communities. One of those fires, the Dixie Fire, overlapped in time with the pandemic’s second major wave. During that period, Plumas County experienced the highest incidence of Covid cases and deaths seen up to that point. The simultaneous occurrence of these two major disasters and the potential for events related to the fire to have contributed to Covid transmission led us to conclude that the public health impacts of the fires should also be assessed in this addendum to the 2020 CHA.”

The document provides a history of both events and detailed data — both in narrative form and in graphs. The document provides an excellent summation and timeline of both COVID and the Dixie Fire. It also includes the various methods it used to collect the information.

The report can be read here.

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