Despite public health officials’ repeated pleas for Yuba-Sutter residents to refrain from attending large social gatherings until there’s a better handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, some local residents continue to defy the guidance. With that, local numbers continue to rise on a daily basis – in recent weeks, that’s been anywhere between 20-50 cases per day.

Just this weekend, local contract investigators were notified about a case involving a birthday party in which 44 adults and children were invited and potentially exposed to an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We do not have direct names or phone numbers for most of these contacts,” said Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu. “This again highlights that people cannot be cavalier and gather. Don’t gather – don’t host parties, get-togethers, period. Each Yuba-Sutter resident needs to take the responsibility to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 so that our region can safely reopen.”

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the area increased by 39 on Monday, bringing the Yuba-Sutter total to 1,067 cases.

Nine local residents have died from COVID-19 to date – two local deaths were reported on Monday. 

A third death was also reported at Adventist Health/Rideout, however, this individual resided outside of the bi-county area. 

“The loss of two more lives from this virus is painfully tragic, and our hearts go out to the families of these two individuals,” said Russ Brown, Yuba County media and community relations coordinator. “We understand there was also a third person being cared for at Adventist Health/Rideout who passed away from COVID-19 during the same period, although that person actually resided outside the Yuba-Sutter area. Even though that third loss of life will not be counted on the local dashboard, it is no less tragic.”

Sixteen people recovered from the virus and 19 residents were hospitalized as of Monday evening.

On Friday, local Assemblyman James Gallagher said the intensive care unit at Adventist Health/Rideout was full and that hospital officials had indicated the facility would be opening up a new room with surge ICU bed space. He said Adventist Health/Rideout has 24 ICU beds, 10 of which had COVID-19 patients using them.

Luu said the area has been planning for surge capacity since the pandemic broke out locally in March. She said planning includes more staffing, alternate care sites, and partnering with regional hospitals that may have more capacity.

“While public health staff, in partnership with the area’s sole hospital and local healthcare facilities, have been working hard to ensure area residents are well taken care of, this is why it is so important for everyone to do their parts to avoid getting sick and making others sick,” Luu said. “Not getting sick in the first place is the most effective action we can take to protect our hospital, the local economy, and each other.”

A total of 10,776 local residents have been tested to date. Luu said it’s promising to see more residents getting tested. She said people who have symptoms of the virus or are in close contact with someone who has tested positive should get tested and isolate at home until they receive test results.

“We understand the emotional and mental health toll this pandemic is taking on everyone – public health staff included. We have to try to get creative in our socializing in order to keep each other safe,” Luu said. “No one wants to be responsible for getting someone else sick, especially if you don’t know how their body will react. If you don’t want to have the burden of potentially influencing whether someone becomes hospitalized, has long-term, lingering symptoms, or even dies from COVID-19, please be more mindful and deliberate in your actions.”

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