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Billboards such as these are being erected throughout Plumas County to alert residents and visitors to the important steps they can take to protect themselves and others from coronavirus. The agency thanked Plumas County Public Works and its road department for installing the informational signs. Photo courtesy of Plumas County Public Health

Public health seeks to get the message out

Plumas County Public Health officials are worried. The weather is warming up and the county — a popular tourist destination – is filling up with visitors. Those officials realize there is a lot about the influx of out-of-town guests that can’t be controlled — but there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the increased threat of the coronavirus spread.

“We need to emphasize the things that we can control,” said Environmental Health Director Jerry Sipe this morning, June 3. “Staying six feet apart, wearing face masks, washing our hands are all important.”

That same message was emphasized by Public Health Director Andrew Woodruff during the Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday. “The incredible number of people visiting concerns me,” he said. “When people socially mix, the disease spreads.”

He also emphasized social distancing, face masks and hand washing as being key to stopping the spread of the virus, and acknowledged the county’s Public Works Department for hanging the banners that will be visible throughout Plumas County.

While both men have been working closely with Plumas Unified School District and Plumas Charter School on graduation ceremonies, they are also receiving a lot of calls about Fourth of July activities, including the fireworks celebration for Lake Almanor and the Taylorsville Rodeo. (Other popular events held over that weekend — the High Sierra Music Festival and the Graeagle Independence Day celebration, including its parade and fireworks, have been canceled.)

Plumas County has moved more quickly through the state’s stages of reopening because it has been able to attest to having testing and tracing capabilities, hospital bed and PPE capacity, as well as a stable number of cases. But it can only proceed further as the state provides guidelines to do so, and thus far the state has not released guidelines for large gatherings.

Sipe said that they will “advocate for what’s safe and what’s legal” but it doesn’t appear likely that those types of events will be allowed anytime soon.

In the meantime it’s important to practice the safe practices outlined in the banners because officials warn that if Plumas County sees a spike in cases, then the county could see a setback in what it has been able to open thus far.

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