Shasta County Moved To Most Restrictive Pandemic Category
Shasta County has been moved into California’s most restrictive reopening level after another increase in coronavirus cases. Health officials announced the shift to California’s “purple tier” on Wednesday.
The county’s case rate has increased from 7.5 to 10.4 daily cases per 100,00 residents following several days of around 50 cases per day. 33 people have died from COVID-19 in Shasta County since the start of the outbreak.
Shasta County Health Officer Karen Ramstrom says COVID transmission is happening throughout the community right now. She says while K-12 schools can remain open, a series of new infections are forcing some schools to consider whether to move to distance learning. And they’re seeing more cases in places where vulnerable adults live like nursing homes, group homes for people with disabilities and assisted living facilities.
“Those are related to people who work at facilities and bring it into facilities,” Ramstrom says. “The individuals there don’t have a lot of movement in the community and so [this is] another caution to people who work in those kinds of facilities to take extra care in your own personal lives.”
Moving into the purple tier means tighter restrictions. Businesses will have to operate at reduced capacity, higher education will have to go fully remote and gathering places like houses of worship and movie theaters can only operate outdoors.
Shasta County has three days to comply with state regulations, according to county health officials. COVID transmission will have to be reduced to a lower tier for two consecutive weeks before the county can be reassigned to a less restrictive level.
Ramstrom and other health officials emphasized that social gatherings are playing a leading role in the increase in COVID cases. And they said it’s an especially important time to limit close contacts to members of one’s household.
“The risk of encountering the virus has gone up in our community,” says Donnell Ewert, Shasta County HHS director. “When there’s higher risk, we need to change our behavior accordingly.”
Ramstrom says people need to think about what personal sacrifices need to be made for the good of their local community.
“We have to make individual choices,” she says. “Do we want kids in school or do we want to go to that social gathering? Those are the choices that we have to make. Do we want our businesses open or is it more important to have that social gathering?”