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Shasta County's Response to Local Emergencies
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COVID-19 Pandemic

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have many questions about what is happening and how it affects you and your loved ones.  Below is a collection of common questions from the community.

Do you have unanswered questions?

Call 211 for frequently asked questions about coronavirus, or email COVID19@co.shasta.ca.us

When can we get back to normal?

Here's a list of business types that can open now. Shasta County is a variance county, and therefore has been allowed to open more quickly than some counties. Once the state issues new guidance for how a specific sector can reopen safely, the county decides when that new sector can open locally. Because our numbers have remained low, we have been able to allow businesses to open as soon as the state has given the green light. Right now, it is our intention to continue to open sectors as soon as allowable.

Right now, it is best to stay connected with your loved ones through phone and video calls, as visiting family and friends outside your household still presents a risk of spreading COVID-19. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people that are at higher risk of getting very sick, including older people, and people of any age who have underlying medical conditions. If you do visit family or friends that don’t live in your home, take steps to keep everyone safe, like:

  • Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering
  • Visit outdoors instead of indoors when possible
  • Wear a face covering or cloth mask
  • Wash your hands often
  • Clean and disinfect commonly- touched surfaces

Crowds and limited physical distancing increase the risk for COVID-19. If you attended a protest, remember that confidential, free testing is available. Find a testing location near you. If you test negative it does not mean that you may not develop COVID-19 later on. Therefore, it is advisable that you self-isolate for 14 days if possible.

You can travel for urgent matters or if such travel is essential to your permitted work. Even though businesses around the state are opening up, avoid travelling long distances for vacations or pleasure as much as possible. This is to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Do not travel if you are sick, or if someone in your household has had coronavirus in the last two weeks. Do not travel with someone who is sick.

Before travelling away from your community, consider these questions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel guidance:

  • Is coronavirus spreading where you are traveling?
  • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very sick from coronavirus?
  • Will you be able to keep 6 feet of physical distance from others during or after your trip?

If you do travel, take steps to keep everyone safe like wearing a face cloth covering, keeping 6 feet of physical distance from those not in your household, and washing your hands frequently.

Wedding ceremonies can follow the religious/cultural ceremonies guidance, but as of now, gatherings and social events (including wedding receptions) are not permitted. The state is still discouraging non-essential travel, and the facial covering mandate is still in place.

For now, teams can practice - the guidance is here.

Face coverings

Because our community is opening back up and the North State has seen an increase in cases, we need to protect each other from COVID-19 exposure and infection. The state of California has mandated that face coverings are now required state wide by the public when outside the home. The timing of the release of this guidance will help address the increase of COVID-19 in our county.

We have a joint responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can keep our businesses open and continue to enjoy doing the things we like to do. Face coverings help contain infected droplets when someone talks, coughs or sneezes. This does not take the place of the need to maintain physical distancing, handwashing, staying home when sick (even with mild illness) and other safety measures.

Wear a mask. Protect yourself and others.

You should wear face coverings when in public places, particularly when indoors or in other areas where physical distancing is not possible.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is spread mainly from person to person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). It spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land on the mucus membranes of the eyes, mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

The prolonged use of masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.

At this time, we don’t know how state agencies will enforce this order. However, we all share the responsibility to protect each other from the spread of the disease, especially the most vulnerable.

Testing

Testing options (all by appointment only):

  • People with or without symptoms: Visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting to make an appointment for walk-up testing option. Appointments are available Monday through Friday at Shasta College.
  • People with COVID-19 symptoms: Contact your healthcare provider for testing, or call Shasta County Public Health at (530) 225-5591 to be screened and scheduled for a mobile testing appointment in Redding, Burney or Fall River Mills.

Symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

There are lots of reasons someone would be tested even without symptoms. Some people want to know their current status now that more people are out in public. Some employers request that their employees get tested, either on a regular basis or before returning to work after an absence. Some places require travelers to prove they’ve tested negative before entering their state. People who have been to large gatherings should also be tested due to increased risk of exposure. Testing is an important surveillance tool that helps public health know how the disease is spreading in our community.

Antibody tests check your blood to see if you have previously been infected by the virus. Some laboratories are offering antibody testing, but they are not widely available here yet. You can learn more about antibody testing here.

Patients with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 are isolated at home and must wait at least 7 days from the time they first had symptoms AND be 72 hours symptom-free without the use of medicine before being released from isolation. If they did not have symptoms, they are isolated for 10 days from the date of the test.

Through the contact tracing process, our disease investigation team determines if the patient was in close contact with anyone. If so, those people are quarantined for 14 days. After that, if the patient's contacts are not showing symptoms, the quarantine is lifted. If they do develop symptoms, the Shasta County HHSA Public Health Department determines if they needed to be tested for COVID-19. Learn more about isolation and quarantine. When someone is isolated or quarantined, public health staff work with the person to ensure that they have everything they need to remain safely and comfortably at home, including access to groceries, medication and other essential items.

The CDC is not reporting numbers for recovered patients because we still don’t know a lot about reinfection, and many people who have been removed from isolation remain ill well beyond the isolation period. 

Balancing privacy and public health protection

We always need to balance patient privacy with the need to protect the public's health. In some instances, we may need to be specific about the location of a cluster of COVID cases, but in most cases, issuing isolation orders for the COVID patient and quarantining their close contacts is adequate to contain the spread.

We have community transmission here, so it should be assumed that people could contract it anywhere, though our case numbers are still relatively low. Sometimes our communicable disease team can determine where a patient became infected, like if they were in contact with another person who had tested positive, and other times they can't.

About the Virus

COVID-19 is another name for the novel coronavirus that has recently been circulating and was first identified in Wuhan, China. There are many different types of coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans.

COVID-19 is spread through the transmission of respiratory droplets. If a person infected with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, they put anyone within six feet of them at risk of developing the virus.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

You should wear a cloth face covering while in public. Wearing a cloth face covering is an added layer of protection for those around you, and it does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others. Learn more about face coverings guidance here.

It depends on the severity of your symptoms. If the symptoms can be managed at home, we encourage you to do that. If your symptoms are severe enough that you need to seek medical care, or if you have underlying healthcare conditions, please contact your primary care provider or seek care wherever you would normally seek care. Either way, if you are sick, it is important to isolate yourself from others whenever possible.

It’s unclear if those antibodies can provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This means that we do not know at this time if antibodies make you immune to the virus.

Yes. Shasta County hospitals have emergency plans in place for situations such as COVID-19. Local hospitals have been preparing contingency plans that are specific to this situation. Teams at the hospitals are collaborating on a daily basis to ensure that the most up-to-date recommendations are followed.