Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said she can start accepting waivers for in-person learning for elementary schools.

As of late last week, Sutter County reached 14.3 new cases per 100,000 people daily and Yuba County reached 14.4 new cases per 100,000 people, which Luu said meets the threshold for allowing submission of applications for waivers for grades K-6.

Luu said the submitting superintendents or principals must show evidence of consultations with labor and parent organizations, and publication of the elementary schools’ plans on their websites.

The schools’ plans are also required to address California Department of Public Health guidelines which include cleaning and disinfection; cohorting (keeping students in small, stable groups for all activities); entrance, egress and movement within the school; facial coverings; health screenings; identification and tracing of contacts; physical distancing; staff training; testing of students and staff; triggers for switching back to distance learning; and more.

“After my review, I then need to elevate each waiver submission to the California Department of Public Health for their review and whether they agree with my final decision to approve or deny the waiver,” Luu said.

Doreen Osumi, superintendent of Yuba City Unified School District, said they are taking the topic to the board for discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 22. 

In the meantime, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 16 on Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,700.

As of Tuesday evening, 21 residents were hospitalized and 29 recovered on Tuesday.

Seventeen coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the Yuba-Sutter area to date.

“We’d like to remind people to get tested for COVID-19 if they have any symptoms, even if they’re mild,” Luu said. 

“Those symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills or body aches, headache, diarrhea, fever, new loss of taste or smell, and nausea or vomiting. 

“On a hopeful note: the case counts are both trending down. Sutter County test positivity is also trending down, but Yuba County’s test positivity is trending up possibly due to residents not going to get tested.”

Luu said she’s seen on social media where some residents are encouraging others to not get tested in order to drive down the case counts. That instead actually drives up the test positivity, she said.

“Avoiding testing works against us as the state has outlined test positivity metrics counties must reach. Test positivity includes how many negative test results come back.”

For more local COVID-19 information, visit www.bepreparedyuba.org or www.bepreparedsutter.org. 

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