The state released its weekly tier designation on Tuesday, though nothing changed for the Yuba-Sutter area, which remains in the most restrictive tier.
Considering recent trends in the local testing numbers, Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said she is hopeful the area will be able to move into the next less restrictive tier within the next few weeks.
“The number of new cases each day has been dropping, which is great, we just have to make sure those lower numbers continue to hold,” Luu said.
In order for either county to be removed from the top tier, it must drop down to seven new cases per day per 100,000 residents and have a test positivity of less than 8 percent. Luu said residents with even the mildest of symptoms should get tested for COVID-19. While there are no barriers to getting tested – even not having symptoms – her office is recommending that people without symptoms should only get tested if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case or have engaged in high-risk respiratory behavior like attending a social gathering where no one social distanced or no one wore facial coverings.
The process for getting tested has also gotten much easier since it first began. Initially, those getting tested were subjected to the nasopharyngeal swab – a 6-inch swab that goes deep into the nasal cavity to collect material. Many described the process as uncomfortable.
“Now, OptumServe testing sites use superficial nose swabs – which are much shorter and only go about midway into your nose to collect specimen,” Luu said. “In any case, the tester has to roll the swab around your nose for about 10-15 seconds to ensure they collect a good sample with enough material to test correctly.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by seven on Tuesday, bringing the total count to 2,892 cases.
Fourteen people were hospitalized as of Tuesday evening, while 42 residents recovered from the virus. Nineteen local residents have died due to the virus to date.
“We are now in the midst of flu season, and you can get sick with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which certainly would lead to more severe symptoms. Let’s cut back on the potential to overwhelm our hospitals and avoid having to suffer from severe symptoms by getting our flu shots as soon as possible,” Luu said. “Flu shots are easy, quick, and covered by most insurance. Most retail pharmacies offer flu shots – like Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS – and take walk-ins.”