Due to a dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases recently, the California Department of Public Health has ordered modifications for various business operations within the Yuba-Sutter area, including prohibiting in-restaurant dining and ceased operations of all bars, effective Sunday.
The amended local public health order released on Friday comes after both counties were added to the state watchlist just days earlier.
“Both Yuba and Sutter counties created specialized teams that began working with local restaurants as soon as we learned the timing of the restrictions, to help them do whatever was necessary to weather the pause in their ability to conduct business,” said Yuba County community relations coordinator Russ Brown on Saturday. “Our own Yuba Enterprise Solutions Team has been working with many restaurants to look at ways to enhance takeout order capabilities and creating outdoor seating, which is allowed under the state mandate.”
Yuba and Sutter Counties join a number of other counties required to close indoor operations for restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms. Under the order, outdoor operations are still permitted with modifications, including physical distancing and facial coverings requirements.
All bars, breweries and pubs within the bi-county area have also been ordered to cease all operations, both indoor and outdoor, until further notice.
As of Saturday afternoon, there were 29 new COVID-19 cases reported in the bi-county area, bringing the total to 581.
Of the new cases, 18 were reported in Yuba County - bringing the total count there up to 198 - and 11 reported in Sutter County, raising the total count there to 383.
Twenty-five individuals are currently hospitalized, up two from Friday evening. According to Brown, there are six individuals currently in the intensive care unit locally in addition to one Yuba-Sutter resident who is in a hospital outside of the region.
“We are seeing that about one-third of those entering the hospital end up in the ICU, because of the severity of COVID-19,” said Brown. “People need to understand that hospital stays caused by COVID-19 are rarely short, especially for those in ICU. The effects of the virus are significant and patients can linger in those beds for weeks at a time.”
Since Friday, four people have been discharged from the hospital and eleven people were reported to have recovered.
According to Brown, the State will be monitoring Yuba-Sutter’s virus numbers continually during the next three weeks.
“If by then we don't drop our numbers below the metrics established by the state, we will continue with the restrictions until such a time as we manage to get those numbers down,” said Brown. “Really, given the lag time we are seeing in getting testing appointments and testing results, plus the current trajectory of increasing positive cases, we don't expect to see anything change after three weeks. If residents from the bi-county region really step up and embrace the precautions of staying home when sick, social distancing, wearing facial coverings and washing hands, we can hopefully get the affected businesses back up and operating soon afterwards. The survival and success of these businesses is truly in the hands of our community.”
In response to the rising number of cases, Brown said both counties will reopen the Call Center to address community questions regarding COVID-19. The Call Center will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at 749-7700.