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Surge In Coronavirus Cases Will Mean Tighter Restrictions In Shasta County

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Shasta County
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More cases of the coronavirus in Shasta County will mean a step backwards for businesses and opportunities to gather in public. Health officials announced on Tuesday that a recent surge in COVID-19 cases has moved the county into a more restrictive phase of California’s reopening framework.

Health officials identified 167 new cases of the coronavirus in Shasta County over the weekend. The daily rate of positive cases more than doubled in the past week, from 6.5 cases per 100,000 residents to 13.9 cases per 100,000 people today. The county’s test positivity rate also increased from 4% to 6.9% in the past week.

Those criteria caused Shasta County’s reopening status to be reclassified from “moderate” risk of COVID transmission to “substantial” risk on Tuesday.

“It’s hard for everyone. Unfortunately, our numbers are just not going in the right direction right now,” says Kerri Schuette with Shasta County Health and Human Services. “We need to buckle down and really make sure that we can get those numbers back down.”

The new classification means non-essential businesses will have to operate at 50% capacity, bars will have to close, and indoor places where people gather including restaurants, places of worship, and gyms will have to reduce their capacity until the spread of the virus can be slowed. School reopenings in Shasta County are not automatically affected by the tightened restrictions.

Schuette says there have been other local coronavirus spikes in communities during the pandemic but Shasta’s current increase is not shared by other nearby counties at the moment.

“[In] Shasta County you’re seeing a big, steep uptick right now,” she says.

Recent outbreaks include 123 cases in recent weeks at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, an institution affiliated with the Bethel Church. Another 80 cases over the past month have been linked to residents and health workers at a skilled nursing facility called Windsor Redding Care Center.

Erik Neumann is the interim news director at Jefferson Public Radio. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.