Social gatherings appears to be the major cause of a continued rise in COVID-19 cases in Tehama County, according to Val Lucero, executive director of the county’s Health Services Agency.
Lucero made this statement during her briefing to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors during Tuesday’s board meeting.
As of Tuesday, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county was 121 out of 4,932 test conducted. Of the positive cases, 24 are in active isolation and 72 under quarantine.
Lucero said 70 percent of the positive cases were symptomatic, a flip from the previous status of the patients when the majority of positive cases were asymptomatic.
Citing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most recent guidance document, Lucero urges residents of Tehama County to do their part to keep the county off the state’s “watch list” by not holding social gatherings of more than 10 guests and to limit those gatherings to family, preferably only those who live in the same household.
“Right now our county is not on the watch list, but that could change,” she added.
Not being on the state’s watch list means the county can continue its reopening of gyms and fitness facilities, places of worship, indoor protests, personal care, such as nail and beauty salons, malls and other such businesses. Not allowed open under the governor’s new guidance is indoor/sit down restaurants, indoor wineries, family entertainment facilities, movie theaters, bars, breweries and pubs, zoos, museums and card rooms.
“However, we have no jurisdiction over the American Indian owned casinos,” Lucero noted.
That includes the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, which remains open with social distancing and other limitations and protective measures.
“We really need help from the public in this effort,” Lucero said. “I certainly understand that this is the time of year when many people want to get together with friends and family. However, we are urging residents to take precautionary measures seriously.”
She encourages the wearing of face masks, maintaining proper social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing, and limiting social contact.
“These are the keys to keeping our businesses open and our county off the state watch list,” Lucero said.
In response to Newsom’s latest shutdown of businesses, Northstate lawmakers U. S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), state Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Assemblywoman Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) in a joint statement said there is no justification for the Governor’s approach as there is no evidence it is businesses causing the ongoing increase in COVID-19 cases across the state.
They went on to say, “Let’s be clear: It is imperative that we all do our part by practicing social distancing and acting responsibly in order to suppress this virus and protect our community.
“But these efforts are undermined when the Governor is single handedly and arbitrarily crushing people’s livelihoods – their ability to put food on the table, to pay rent and to pay their bills. These shutdown orders punish them, their customers and it completely misses the target, especially in our rural towns.”
Tehama County Chief Administrator Bill Goodwin said the county needs to be careful in its approach to handling the state’s requirements and guidelines regarding COVID-19 as not complying could put the county’s $6.6 million of CARES Act funding in jeopardy.
In addition, Goodwin talked about the possibly need for creating a county resolution concerning civil penalties and enforcement for public non-compliance of COVID-19 regulations in line with CARE Act funding.