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COVID-19 Pandemic

Current News

Media Briefings

Shasta County posts COVID-19 Incident Updates daily.

LIVE media briefings are broadcast on Facebook on Wednesdays at 11 AM. Follow @shastahhsa to receive notifications. Captioned recordings are posted later under Current News, Facebook and YouTube.

View video for May 27, 2020

  • 0:19 – Shasta County COVID-19 numbers (current as of 6 p.m. on 5/26/2020)
  • 1:35 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom provides clarification about the recent modifications the state made to the stay-at-home order.
  • 5:49 – Donnell Ewert, Director of Health and Human Services, responds to a question about gyms that are open against the state order and how that creates an uneven playing field for gyms that are complying, and explains why indoor gyms are considered high risk environments for disease transmission.
  • 9:31 – Donnell Ewert and Mercy Redding respond to a question about if there has been an increase in people seeking mental health services.
  • 14:05 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about waiting to see how things go (related to COVID-19 data) and what that could mean for the reopening process.
  • 15:40 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about the availability of anti-body testing and talks about the research being done on the utility of the testing.
  • 19:30 – Donnell Ewert responds to a question about no cases being identified from the rodeo and what that means, saying that if that is the case we are very fortunate, but it’s possible that there were related cases, just none that were identified. Large events and gatherings are still considered high risk activties.
  • 22:08 – Shasta County CEO, Matt Pontes, responds to a question about making the Board of Supervisors more accessible for public comment while maintaining a safe, social distanced environment.
  • 24:42 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a series of questions about youth recreational activities and high school sports facilities and talks about the guidance that will soon be coming down from the state.
  • 28:20 – Dr. Ramstrom gives an explanation of the contact tracing process and how it’s possible to identify places people have been right away and how sometimes it gets pieced together later on.
  • 30:25 – Mercy Redding provides an update on their visitation policy.
  • 34:24 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about nonessential travel and people in vulnerable groups.
  • 35:50 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to the frequently asked question – “why do you not publish a list of where people have been?”

View video for May 20, 2020

  • 0:06 – An update on the numbers for COVID-19 in Shasta County.
  • 1:46 – Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about businesses reopening and the importance of doing that in a safe manner, as well as what can be done to continue to keep our numbers low, preventing a potential surge in cases.
  • 4:31 – Director of Health and Human Services, Donnell Ewert, thanks the community for their role in helping to contain the spread, allowing our businesses to reopen. Moving more quickly through phase two would not have been possible without everyone’s participation. He also speaks about the disbanding of the Unified Command. Health and Human Services is now taking the lead.
  • 8:16 – Donnell Ewert responds to a media question about the state’s role versus the county’s role with regard to the lifting of restrictions in the stay-at-home order, saying that everything that is happening is on the orders of the governor and the State Health Officer. Our local Health Officer is not imposing any restrictions greater than what the state has imposed.
  • 10:00 – Donnell Ewert and Dr. Ramstrom respond to a question about hair salons and when they might be reopening, saying that the governor hasn’t given clear direction about these particular businesses and that it could be, as the governor usually says, “weeks, not months.”
  • 11:11 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about how the governor determines what is a low or a high-risk business.
  • 12:51 – Mercy and Shasta Regional respond to a question about visitation policies at their hospitals and whether that has changed recently.
  • 16:31 – Shasta County CEO, Matt Pontes, responds to a question about the pressure on the Board of Supervisors to put pressure on the state to move things forward faster, and describes the efforts being made to continue to make our case to the governor. He also talks about the lessons learned from Modoc County’s defiance of the state order.
  • 22:22 – Dr. Ramstrom and Donnell Ewert respond to a question about faith communities being able to hold services and explain why this type of gathering is considered high risk.
  • 28:08 – Donnell Ewert responds to a question about how enforcement will be handled now that the Unified Command is disbanded and Health and Human Services is in charge, saying that educational guidance will remain the intervention of choice.
  • 29:23 – Donnell Ewert responds to a question about the growing number of health clubs that are opening against state guidance and explains why this type of business is high risk.
  • 32:35 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about the rumored opening of Waterworks Park at the end of the month, saying that HHSA has been having conversations with the business.

View video for May 13, 2020

  • 0:06 – Public Information Officer, Kerri Schuette, gives an update on Shasta County’s COVID-19 numbers (current as of 6 p.m. on 5/12/2020).
  • 1:23 – Shasta Regional and Mayer Memorial reassures the community that the hospital is taking many precautions and people should go in to get care when they need it, saying “we're prepared and we're ready and we're here to help you.” Some people have been putting off accessing medical care because of their concerns for contracting the virus.
  • 2:52 – Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about the state’s acceptance of the attestation letter, and that we are allowed to move into phase two a little faster than some other areas of California. She reminds the community that phase two still requires adaptations to be made to the way we go about our daily lives, including social distancing, hygiene, extra environmental cleaning, no nonessential travel and no mass gatherings. Businesses can find guidance on all of the practices on ShastaReady.org under the Roadmap to Recovery.
  • 6:14 – HHSA Director, Donnell Ewert talks about Hospital Week, Mental Health Month and the mental wellness resources available on ShastaReady.org under “Taking Care of Yourself.”
  • 8:34 -Sheriff Magrini responds to a question about the rodeo’s impact on the attestation letter.
  • 9:37 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about malls, saying retail stores are able to reopen with adaptations for safety and social distancing. Restaurants can open for dining in with adaptations, serving up to groups of ten, but the groups of ten should consist of people living in the same household. Businesses and restaurants can find this information about the adaptations on ShastaReady.org under Roadmap to Recovery.
  • 13:50 – Sheriff Magrini responds to a series of questions about the Cottonwood Rodeo and enforcement through education.
  • 21:29 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about everyone doing their part to keep numbers low That it is up to every single one of us to be responsible and not partake in those activities that are currently prohibited, because we're all doing that in order to let our businesses reopen and be successful.
  • 23:12 – Donnell Ewert also talks about everyone doing their part and that, with how communicable disease spread works, attending a mass gatherings can have effect on more than just the patrons of an event. It is possible to get infected and bring the virus to work or to home and spread the disease.
  • 26:26 – Dr. Ramstrom and Donnell Ewert respond to a question about the recommendation that people who attended the rodeo get tested at the state testing site, as well as a question about the cost of testing. Testing at the Shasta College site is free, but insurance may be billed for those who have it, but there’s no copay. It is free for those who don’t have health insurance.
  • 28:50 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about hair salons and how long it will take for them to reopen, saying that how quickly we move through phase two will be dependent on the COVID-19 data. We’ve kept our numbers low by staying at home, and the slow reopening is necessary so that Public Health has the resources to contain the spread.
  • 30:48 – Mayers and Shasta Regional respond to a question about visitation and when those restrictions might be loosened.
  • 35:02 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about how much testing would be needed to get a picture of how infected Shasta County is and talks about what take to have community immunity, for which a vaccine will be required.

Expand the section below to see previous media briefings.

May 2020

View video for May 11, 2020

Shasta County Health Officer, county officials and the Redding Chamber of Commerce provide an update to changes regarding phase two that happened over the weekend.

View video for May 6, 2020

  • 0:50 – Shasta County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom, gives an update on preparations being made locally in anticipation of the governor’s revision of the stay-at-home order and the gradual, careful loosening of restrictions thought to take place in phase two.
  • 3:11 – Robert Folden, Chief Operating Officer at Mercy Medical Center, and Valerie Lakey, Emergency Operations Director at Mayers Memorial Hospital give updates on the gradual increase in elective surgeries being allowed in their facilities and the possibility of changes to visitation policies.
  • 6:08 – Donnell Ewert, Director of the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency, reminds the community that several aspects of phase one of the governor’s stay-at-home order will continue into phase two – large gatherings will not be allowed, travel in or out of Shasta County should only be for essential purposes, such as medical appointments, and people in high risk groups, those over 65 and people with underlying medical conditions, are highly encouraged to continue to stay at home, only going out to take care of basic needs.
  • 8:45 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about the Roadmap to Recovery Plan, which is expected to be made available to the public shortly after the governor publishes the updated order on Thursday, May 7th.
  • 10:31 – Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about what number defines a “large gathering.” Currently, gatherings of any size are not allowed, but that may change as things move into phase two and will be based on current data, CDC and state guidelines. Still, the change would be gradual and cautious.
  • 12:15 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about what types of businesses will be allowed to open in phase two, saying that the governor’s revised order will provide detailed information once it is made public.
  • 13:28 – Donnell Ewert fields a series of questions about the demobilization of the Field Medical Station that was set up at the Redding Civic Auditorium.
  • 19:12 – Dr. Ramstrom provides some clarification about which types of essential workers, beyond healthcare workers, qualify to make an appointment at the state testing site at Shasta College.
  • 22:00 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about enforcement policies with businesses, which continues to be a “soft-touch” educational approach.
  • 25:29 – Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about the streak of days with no new positive tests, and talks about how that is a sign our area greatly benefitted from the stay-at-home order, but not an indicator that the virus is gone. Some continued low level spread of COVID-19 is expected.
  • 27:06 – Dr. Ramstrom and Donnell Ewert emphasize that we are not out of the woods yet and it will take a high degree of community immunity to return to life like it was before the pandemic started. Donnell said, “I like to think of this as the end of the beginning, the second inning of a nine-inning game.” We have a very long way to go, but also have the surveillance (testing, contact tracing, etc.) needed to move forward.
  • 29:57 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about the state’s recruitment people to help with contact tracing, and talks about how that will be a very valuable resource to us if a surge in cases occurs and it makes it difficult for the HHSA’s contact tracing team to carry the load.
  • 33:08 – Local hospitals talk about their plans for celebrating Nurse’s Day and Hospital Week.

April 2020

View video for April 29, 2020

  • 0:25 – Updated COVID-19 numbers for Shasta County (as of 6 p.m. on 4/28/2020)
  • 2:03 – Shasta County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom, talks about the first meeting of the Roadmap to Recovery Advisory Committee and the new state testing site that is opening at Shasta College (by appointment only).
  • 6:44 – Shasta County CEO, Matt Pontes, talks about the Shasta County Board of Supervisors letter to the governor asking for a little more local control over the reopening process.
  • 8:55 – Valerie Lakey from Mayers Memorial Hospital District and Robert Folden from Mercy Redding provide updates on how their hospitals are meeting weekly to make plans that will keep patients and healthcare workers safe when the state begins to loosen the stay-at-home order.
  • 11:45 – Director of Shasta County Health and Human Services, Donnell Ewert, thanks the community, especially businesses, for their efforts and sacrifices during the stay-at-home order, noting that it’s made a very big difference in our numbers, and that we need just a few more weeks of patience to help keep those numbers low. He also talks about Public Health Branch Director, Brandy Isola’s decision to leave HHSA, thanking her for her more than 18 years of service, and emphasizing to the public that her leaving does not leave a hole in the Emergency Operations Center.
  • 14:55 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about the importance of physical distancing while recreating outdoors, making sure people are staying 6 feet apart and not interacting closely with people who are not in their household.
  • 17:56 – Sheriff Magrini fields a media question about the Redding Drag Strip’s decision to hold a large event and if that would be enforced.
  • 19:49 – Sheriff Magrini and responds to another question about large gatherings. Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about contact tracing for those who are under a health officer order for isolation or quarantine.
  • 25:15 – Dr. Ramstrom and Donnell Ewert respond to a question about travel and reminds everyone that even in the phase two of the loosening of restrictions, travel should only be for an essential purpose.
  • 30:02 – Dr. Ramstrom provides more detail about the state testing site at Shasta College.
  • 34:24 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a media question about businesses opening up despite the governor’s stay-at-home order being in place.

View video for April 22, 2020

  • 1:11 – Public Information Officer, Kerri Schuette talks about the move to doing Facebook live media briefings once a week. They will now take place every Wednesday at 11 a.m., unless a pressing matter arises and the information needs to be pushed out to the media and public. Daily updates with COVID-19 numbers will continue to go out daily by 6 p.m.

  • 2:48 – Shasta County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about the newly established Roadmap to Recovery Advisory Committee that will bring together government and community leaders to provide input on the process of reopening the county, in a safe and gradual manner, once the governor’s stay-at-home order is modified.

  • 5:40 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a media question about what moving forward looks like with regard to the phased model presented by the governor. Currently, we are in “Phase One” which is the most restrictive. “Phase Two,” would involve a gradual loosening of restrictions over an estimated 12-18 months, or until a vaccine is developed and/or medications are available to treat COVID-19.

  • 8:14 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about what public gatherings would look like during “Phase Two.”

  • 11:19 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about masks and why they are still just a recommendation and not a requirement.

  • 12:55 – Donnell Ewert, Shasta County Health and Human Services Director, talks about managing expectations during the gradual reopening process. Shasta County cannot do less than what the State Health Officer has ordered. They may issue a different order or leave some flexibility. It is important that businesses open back up, but, at the same time, we need to avoid a resurgence of cases.

View video for April 20, 2020

  • 0:24 – Updated COVID-19 numbers for Shasta County (as of 6 p.m. on 4/19/2020). Local numbers are updated daily on ShastaReady.org.
  • 0:59 – HHSA Spokesperson talks about the increased availability of testing. People who experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, which are fever, cough and shortness of breath, should contact their healthcare provider to be tested. If you do not have a healthcare provider or if you’re having trouble getting a test for another reason, but you do have symptoms, the symptoms mentioned above, call Shasta County Public Health at (530) 225-5591. They will screen you over the phone and schedule you for a test if necessary.
  • 2:50 – Mark Mitchelson, Chief Nursing Officer at Shasta Regional announces a new machine has arrived at their facility and they are able to do some rapid testing.
  • 3:30 – Dean Germano, CEO of Shasta Community Health Center, talks about the clinic’s decision to require masks for all staff and patients.
  • 4:18 – Shasta County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom responds to a media question about testing for people who are asymptomatic and talks about how test kits available locally are not approved for use on an individual that is asymptomatic. Antibody tests are still being researched elsewhere in the U.S.
  • 5:34 – Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about the increased availability and accessibility of COVID-19 testing locally.
  • 9:37 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a question about the readiness of the Federal Medical Station.
  • 12:53 – Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about educating businesses to use preventative practices in their facility.
  • 14:57 – Sheriff Magrini responds to series of media questions about law enforcements planned response to protests, should they happen in Shasta County.
  • 16:43 – HHSA Spokesperson and Dean Germano respond to a question about the hotels being used to shelter homeless individuals at high risk for COVID-19 and how they are being identified.
  • 18:48 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about how, both locally and nationwide, COVID-19 testing is currently focused on identifying the people who have the virus, getting them the care they need and doing contact tracing for the people that may have been exposed.
  • 22:45 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to a media question about testing technology and whether or not HIPAA laws are a hindrance to doing more widespread testing.

View video for April 17, 2020

  • 0:19 – Updated COVID-19 numbers for Shasta County (Current as of 6 p.m. on 4/16/2020)
  • 0:50 – HHSA Director, Donnell Ewert and Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom, clarify some points about the Covid Act Now models talked about in Wednesday’s briefing.
  • 9:04 – Christy Coleman, Director of the Shasta County Housing and Community Action Agency, talks about efforts to aid vulnerable, high risk populations during the pandemic, such as people who are over 65 or with underlying medical conditions that are experiencing homelessness. They have been working with local hotels to provide shelter for these high-risk individuals and take care of their case management needs.
  • 11:36 – Donnell Ewert and Dr. Karen Ramstrom respond to a question about the Johns Hopkins data for Butte County and if there is comparable data for Shasta County.
  • 14:43 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about how HHSA and partners are beginning to evaluate a path to normalcy, which will be done in a gradual, cautious and step-wise manner.
  • 17:25 – Donnell Ewert and Dr. Ramstrom field questions about staffing the Federal Medical Station.
  • 19:58 – Donnell Ewert and Dr. Ramstrom talk about the differences between the current type of testing that is available and the kind of testing that would be needed to do a random study of COVID-19 in Shasta County.
  • 23:55 – Dr. Ramstrom addresses a question about the positive case in the Veterans home and talks about the work that is being to protect residents and staff in the facility.

View video for April 15, 2020

View Shasta County data projections at CovidActNow.org

  • 0:00 - COVID-19 response administrators and hospital partners give updates.
  • 3:33 - HHSA Supervising Epidemiologist, Daniel Walker, and Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom talk about 3-month projections for Shasta County’s COVID-19 response, comparing lax vs. strict Stay-at-Home scenarios. You can find this data when you search for Shasta County at CovidActNow.org.
  • 15:10 - Dr. Ramstrom responds to a media question about vulnerable groups, including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, and how they would have to adhere to the stay-at-home order even with the possibility of loosened restrictions.
  • 16:24 - HHSA Spokesperson, Kerri Schuette, provides updated statistics (updated at 6 p.m. on 4/14/2020).
  • 17:48 - Daniel Walker talks about the methodology used in the data he presented.
  • 21:16 - Dr. Ramstrom responds to a series of media questions about the way the COVID-19 virus behaves in comparison to influenza and describes why the 6 foot rule of social distancing is so important.
  • 25:07 - Dr. Ramstrom and HHSA Director, Donnell Ewert talk about how our community’s behavior, as a whole, is what will control a surge in cases.
  • 29:36 - Dr. Ramstrom responds to a media question about the length of time it will take to get back to “normal.”
  • 35:24 - Hospital partners answer questions about bed count, PPE, taking care of staff and preparedness.

View video for April 13, 2020

  • 0:22 – Updated COVID-19 numbers for Shasta County (as of 11 a.m. today)
  • 1:52 – Sheriff Magrini talks about the way the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office RPD and APD are working together on “stay-at-home” violations.
  • 2:58 – Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom, talks about how the community’s efforts to slow the spread has helped keep the number of positive cases down and the importance not easing up on social distancing practices for the time being.
  • 4:35 – Mercy Redding announces that they have received COVID-19 testing kits and will now be assisting with testing in our area, in addition to private labs and the Public Health Lab. However, there is limited supply. Testing results come back within about an hour of being run through the machine.
  • 6:58 – Mayers Hospital talks about the measures they’ve taken to protect both residents and healthcare workers in their skilled nursing facility.
  • 9:32 – Mercy Redding provides more specific details on number of testing kits they have available.
  • 10:43 – Sheriff Magrini answers questions about the inmates being released per the Governor’s order.
  • 13:45 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about the possibility of having to stay-at-home longer than the rest of the state and being thoughtful about the steps we take to return to our usual lives.
  • 16:32 – Sheriff Magrini fields a question about the jail’s ability to isolate an inmate if they test positive for COVID-19.
  • 18:52 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about travel and highly recommending that people who are coming back into Shasta County quarantine themselves for 14 days as a precaution and reminds us all to not travel unless it’s for an essential purpose.
  • 21:22 – Dr. Ramstrom addresses a question about lodging services, such as AirB&B, being open and reiterates that no one should be traveling for a non-essential purpose, urging people who have traveled out of the area to quarantine themselves for 14-days upon return.
  • 22:43 – Sheriff Magrini responds to a question about testing inmates that will be released (per the governor’s order), stating that there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 in the jail, but if an inmate were to show symptoms, they would follow guidelines to have them tested.
  • 24:17 – Dr. Ramstrom responds to another question about Air B&Bs staying open and recommends that AirB&B owners cancel reservations for non-essential travelers.
  • 26:42 – Sheriff Magrini fields another question about inmates being released and whether that could lead to an increase in crime, saying that the possibility exists and the department’s ability to hold people accountable is hindered by the actions of the state.
  • 29:03 – Hospital partners and HHSA Director, Donnell Ewert, field a question about how many COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.

View video for April 10, 2020

  • 0:24 – Updated numbers for COVID-19 in Shasta County, as of 11 a.m. (see ShastaReady.org for updated numbers at 6 p.m.)
  • 1:05 – Community partners give updates and urge the community to enjoy any Easter celebrations in their own backyard, being mindful of social distancing. Do not have family and friends over for gatherings. Keep the celebration within the household.
  • 13:54 – What is all involved in quarantine practices?
  • 17:11 – What is being done to staff the Field Medical Center?
  • 18:29 – What is the Crisis Stabilization Unit being established at HHSA Mental Health on Breslauer Way?
  • 20:06 – Can employers can require an employee be tested before they return to work?
  • 21:35 – Do hand washing stations need to be available at construction sites? If a person is tested when they are NOT symptomatic is it a valid test?
  • 22:34 – Update on plans to shelter homeless individuals who test positive for COVID-19, and the community partners involved in the effort.
  • 26:14 – How close are we to being able to model data that would give us an idea of when the “peak” will be for Shasta County?
  • 29:02 – Are there plans to release inmates out of the Shasta County jail because of COVID-19 and orders coming down from the state?
  • 31:04 – Are there concerns about being overconfident since there has been a day with no positive tests?
  • 33:34 – Why is it that Shasta County may be a few weeks behind the state with regard to the virus?
  • 34:24 – What will flattening the curve look like for our community? Will our uptick in cases be later? Does modeling data change over time? More to come next week.

COVID-19 updates for Thursday, April 9:

  • Confirmed cases: 24
  • Negative tests: 568
  • Isolation: 19
  • Quarantine: 66
  • Recovered: 2
  • Deaths: 3

Shasta County Health and Human Services: The North State Federal Medical Station is making great progress. Processes are being developed and staffing is being secured.

We will be opening a four-bed crisis stabilization unit for people who are in our emergency departments with mental health conditions. This will free up our emergency rooms while still providing our mental health patients with appropriate care.

Shasta County Probation has taken on a leadership role in enforcing the stay-at-home order that requires non-essential businesses to be closed.

Isolation and quarantine both help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

It’s very important to care for your mental health during this time of crisis, and we have some tips to help you do so. Visit www.shastaready.org and click on “Taking Care of Yourself.”

Shasta Regional Medical Center: Shasta Regional Medical Center continues to administer health screenings to all employees prior to starting of shifts, including temperature checks. Our visitor policy remains that no visitors are allowed until further notice. Planning for reallocation of trained staff, if necessary, also continues ensuring quality of care. Shasta Regional Medical Center continues to work closely with our community partners in planning and preparing for any potential surge. Shasta Regional Medical Center continues to support the CDC guidelines and recommendations and updates internal policies as necessary. Shasta Regional Medical Group has broadened its Tele-Medicine access to new patients. Now any person in the community with health questions can talk with a provider over the phone. Visit www.shastaregionalmedicalgroup.com for more information.

Mercy Medical Center Redding: Mercy Medical Center Redding continues to review and verify the various aspects of the patient surge plan, resources, equipment and patient areas to ensure that we are as prepared as possible. We continue to monitor appropriate usage of PPE, and track our daily use of PPE. In accordance with CDC guidelines, we are trying to procure more cloth masks. Visitation restrictions and employee screenings remain in place, with daily temperature screenings. Mercy Medical Center Redding continues to offer a free virtual visit with a provider to anyone who is concerned about having COVID-19 related symptoms by visiting: www.dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere or download the Virtual Care Anywhere app.

Mayers Memorial Hospital: Mayers continues with procedures that were put in place in early March regarding visitors and employee screening. The reality that this is a marathon, not a sprint, has set in and a focus on employee well-being is a priority. Mayers continues to collaborate with other county hospitals on surge plans.

View video for April 8, 2020:

  • 0:39 – Update from CAL FIRE’s Chief Gouvea.
  • 1:35 – Update from Shasta County Sheriff, Eric Magrini
  • 2:09 – Update from Health and Human Services Director, Donnell Ewert; includes a summary on all of the partners involved in the Emergency Operations Center.
  • 4:09 – Updated COVID-19 numbers for Shasta County.
  • 4:45 – Update from Shasta County CEO, Matt Pontes.
  • 7:00 – Updates from hospital partners.
  • 12:28 –Shasta County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about suspending all non-essential travel (i.e. vacations).
  • 14:21 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about the possibility that Shasta County may have to continue social distancing practices for longer that other areas of the state.
  • 15:23 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom provides an update on testing criteria and supplies.
  • 18:38 – HHSA gives an update on the Emergency Operations Center, including information on the Field Medical Hospital, plans being put in place to assist the homeless population and an explanation of what it means to be “in isolation” vs. “quarantine.”
  • 24:10 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about how HHSA epidemiologists are working on projections for how long Shasta County will have to “stay-at-home.”
  • 26:51 – Dr. Ramstrom addresses a question about the struggle to get access to testing supplies.
  • 29:58 – Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about whether or not mask use for all will become required for Shasta County.
  • 32:03 – Dr. Ramstrom addresses a question about the possible existence of COVID-19 in Shasta County before January.
  • 37:47 – Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about whether or not there are COVID-19 hotspots in the community.
  • 39:52 – Sheriff Magrini fields a media question about prison capacity.
  • 42:09 – Cal Fire Chief Gouvea fields a question about preparing for fire season.
  • 45:10 – HHSA Adult Services Branch Director, Paige Green, talks about caring for your mental wellness during the pandemic.
  • 50:12 – Donnell Ewert talks about how HHSA is continuing case management activities during the pandemic, including those being carried out by Child and Family Services.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ll be posting written daily updates instead of a media briefing.

The following healthcare partners submitted reports for today:

Shasta County Health and Human Services:

  • Total cases: 21
  • Total negative tests: 462
  • Isolation: 16
  • Quarantine: 71
  • Recovered: 2
  • Deaths: 3

Mercy Medical Center Redding: We continue to review and verify the various aspects of the patient surge plan, resources, equipment and patient areas. We continue to monitor appropriate usage of PPE, and track our daily burn rate of PPE. In accordance with CDC guidelines, we are trying to procure more cloth masks. Visitation restrictions and employee screenings remain in place. A free virtual provider visit for anyone with COVID-19 related symptoms can visit www.dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere or download the Virtual Care Anywhere app.

Shasta Regional Medical Center: We continue to screen all employees before starting shifts, including temperature checks. No visitors are allowed. We are planning for reallocation of trained staff, if necessary. We are working closely with community partners to prepare for any potential surge. We support the CDC guidelines and recommendations and update internal policies as necessary. We have broadened our Tele-Medicine access to new patients and anyone with health questions can talk with a provider over the phone. Visit www.shastaregionalmedicalgroup.com for more information.

Mayers Memorial Hospital District: We continue to make changes as needed according to guidance. We are focusing on staff and employee needs in order to continue to be prepared for what may come. We inventory PPE and resources daily and are tracking a daily burn rate to submit data to the real-time state hospital dashboard.

Watch the video for April 6, 2020

  • 0:56 - Updated statistics on COVID-19 in Shasta County.
  • 1:45 - Updates from hospital partners.
  • 7:03 - Shasta County Sheriff, Cal Fire and Shasta HHSA talk about the move to a Unified Command between local agencies and the new Emergency Operations Center that has been set up over the weekend.
  • 11:00 - HHSA Director, Donnell Ewert, talks about the Field Medical Station (FMS) being set up at the Redding Civic Center.
  • 14:28 - Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about isolation orders, quarantine orders and masks.
  • 17:05 - Sheriff Magrini and Cal Fire Chief Bert Couvea talk about their roles in the Unified Command.
  • 21:39 - Sheriff Magrini and Donnell Ewert address a question about Public Health and law enforcement's efforts to deal with stay-at-home violations.
  • 24:28 - Donnell Ewert addresses a question about child abuse reporting during the pandemic.
  • 26:20 - Hospital partners and HHSA field questions about the field hospital and why it is for non-COVID-19 patients.
  • 30:15 - Mercy and Shasta Regional field a question about their capacity to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients.
  • 32:13 - Donnell Ewert addresses a question about staffing the field hospital.
  • 35:10 - Dr. Ramstrom talks about the increase in testing capacity.
  • 37:35 - Dr. Ramstrom and and Donnell Ewert talk about why Public Health protects patient privacy and does not provide specific information on those who test positive for COVID-19.
  • 40:41 - Dr. Ramstrom talks about PPE supplies, how they are distributed throughout the county and what is being done bring in more supplies.

View video for April 3, 2020

  • 0:17 - Updated statistics for COVID-19 in Shasta County.
  • 1:27 - Updates from Shasta Community Health Center, Mercy, Mayers and SRMC.
  • 5:34 - HHSA reiterates the importance of following the stay-at-home order, asks residents to suspend all nonessential travel to or from Shasta County and talks about the new CDC recommendation to wear cloth masks when carrying out essential tasks.
  • 7:08 - Dr. Ramstrom talks about the contact tracing process.
  • 9:08 - HHSA talks briefly about the COVID-19 patients that have recovered.
  • 9:50 - Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks more about contact tracing and what being a "close contact" can mean.
  • 16:40 - HHSA talks about the tremendous work the Public Health Lab is doing in processing the tests they receive in a timely manner.
  • 18:40 - HHSA and Karen Ramstrom talk about the CDC's Tier 1 testing criteria the Public Health Lab is using.
  • 21:30 - HHSA and hospital partners talk about the field hospital coming to Shasta County that will be placed at the Redding Civic Center.
  • 25:35 - SRMC and Mercy talk about the negative pressure isolation units at their respective facilities.
  • 29:03 - Dr. Karen Ramstrom fields a question about the time it takes to get test results back in the Public Health Lab vs. private labs.
  • 35:15 - HHSA and hospital partners talk more about the field hospital.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ll be posting written daily updates instead of a live press briefing.

The following healthcare partners submitted reports for today:

  • Shasta County Health and Human Services
    Today’s numbers:
    Positive: 7
    Negative: 370 (150 in the public health lab, 220 in other labs)
    Isolation: 4
    Quarantine (ordered by the health officer): 26
    We’re happy to share that our third patient, a man in his 40s, has recovered.
    Please remember that it is critically important to follow the statewide stay-at-home order and not travel. Learn more at

  • Shasta Regional Medical Center: We continue to administer health screenings to all employees prior to starting of shifts, including temperature checks. Our visitor policy remains that no visitors are allowed until further notice. Planning for reallocation of trained staff, if necessary, also continues ensuring quality of care for our patients and potential patients. Shasta Regional Medical Center continues to work closely with our community partners in planning and preparing for any potential surge.

  • Mercy Medical Center Redding: We continue to review and verify the various aspects of the patient surge plan, resources, equipment and patient areas to ensure that we are as prepared as possible. We continue to monitor appropriate usage of PPE, and as a result, currently have adequate supplies to protect our staff and patients. Visitation restrictions and employee screenings remain in place. Mercy Medical Center Redding continues to offer a free virtual visit with a provider to anyone who is concerned about having COVID-19 related symptoms by visiting: www.dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere or download the Virtual Care Anywhere app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or call 855-356-8053 and use the coupon code COVID19.

  • Mayers Memorial Hospital: We continue to follow all information that is being put out daily and are working to be prepared. We just completed our comprehensive COVID-19 Plan for the Skilled Nursing and Long Term Care Facilities. We are continually evaluating and reviewing guidance as related to PPE, staffing and other challenges. We would just like to take the time to thank our counterparts for the amazing collaboration. We would also like to thank our staff who has not wavered in this process.

View video for April 1, 2020

  • 0:30 – Updated statistics for Shasta County
  • 0:47 – Updates from Shasta Regional, Mercy Redding, Shasta Community Health Center and Public Health.
  • 7:38 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about the field hospital that may be coming to Shasta County.
  • 9:10 – Mercy Redding clarifies what cross-training medical staff means.
  • 11:38 – Dr. Ramstrom talks more about the field hospital.
  • 14:14 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about masks and DIY masks.
  • 16:23 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about contact tracing efforts.
  • 22:38 – Dr. Ramstrom talks about the challenges in getting all the supplies needed for test kits and the important of being judicious about testing criteria.
  • 26:20 – Shasta Regional, Mercy Redding and Shasta Community Health Center field a question about enlisting the help of retired and volunteer healthcare workers.
  • 34:17 – HHSA responds to a question about the community response team that is handling stay-at-home violations.

March 2020

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ll be posting written daily updates instead of a live press briefing.

The following healthcare partners submitted reports for today:

  • Shasta County Health and Human Services: After a thorough investigation, Shasta County Public Health is documenting its first case of community transmission of COVID-19. The patient, a man in his 80s, did not have travel history or contact with a known COVID-19 case. He remains hospitalized in isolation. Shasta County tests: 6 positive, 230 negative.
  • Mercy Medical Center Redding: Mercy Redding continues to refine our surge capacity, including patient placement, equipment and supply deployment, identification of additional negative pressure/isolation rooms, staffing needs for those identified locations, and staff training. Visitor restrictions remain in force, and employees are screened when coming to work. We continue to work with our vendors and suppliers to ensure our clinical staff can safely and appropriately take care of patients. Dignity Health Connected Living continues to serve thousands of high-risk residents with food distributions. Mercy Redding is offering a free virtual visit to anyone concerned about coronavirus. To access a free virtual urgent care visit, visit www.dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere, download the Virtual Care Anywhere app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or call 855-356-8053 and use the coupon code COVID19.
  • Shasta Regional Medical Center: Starting today, Tuesday, March 31, all employees will be screened prior to starting shifts, including temperature checks. We have also streamlined entrance to the hospital to only Main Entrance and our no visitor policy remains in place. We continue to monitor supplies and plan for any potential surge, including the setup of our Negative Pressure Unit that was completed last week. Current patients at Shasta Regional Medical Group may make appointments utilizing our Tele-Medicine system by calling 530-605-4260.
  • Shasta Community Health Center: All campuses are open including Shasta Lake City and Anderson. We have closed all of our dental facilities except for dental emergencies for our patients at our downtown location in the Shasta College Health Sciences complex. We continue to screen all patients entering our facilities and have established a secondary screening facility at our main campus at 1035 Placer Street. We continue to make plans for a surge of patients with respiratory needs. We have moved many more of our visits (and we routinely do over 500 a day) to telephonic where we can. We are holding steady on personal protective equipment, watching our inventory and burn rate but looking for more items as an edge against a large surge of patients later on. We await the Abbott Labs-announced COVID point of care test kits that promise a positive result in 5 minutes and a negative result in 13 minutes. We await information on its sensitivities, however.
  • Redding Rancheria Tribal Health Center: We have been screening all patients and staff at all three health campuses since March 10. We are currently running two shifts, each shift is working 1 week on and having 1 week off in an effort to conserve staff, and keep them healthy both physically and emotionally. We have been doing phone call visits between providers and patients and will be allowing patients to schedule virtual visits with their providers starting Monday. We have an ample supply of personal protective equipment, but are running low on test kits. Our urgent care at Churn Creek Health Care is still operating 7 days a week with 2 doctors per day.
  • Mayers Memorial Hospital District: We began a no-visitor policy on March 6, primarily because of our 90 skilled nursing residents. We have suspended all communal activities in the skilled nursing facility as of March 27. Our social workers and activities department are working to keep avenues of communication open to families and provide alternate activities for the residents. Mayers started screening all employees on March 16 and has a policy in place for screening and employee health. We continue to utilize only one entrance to our facility. We are able to use an isolation trailer to screen, evaluate and collect test specimens on patients if deemed necessary. Collaboration continues with Shasta Regional Medical Center and Mercy on our surge planning, close monitoring of inventory and burn rate of personal protective equipment and supporting our valuable workforce. Mayers has also been active in helping our community with the Groceries to Go program.

View video for March 30, 2020

  • 0:10 - Updates from Shasta Regional Medical Center, Mercy, Mayers, and Public Health.
  • 5:19 - Public Health Branch Director, Brandy Isola, talk about the importance of limiting nonessential travel, especially to areas with widespread community transmission.
  • 6:25 - Updated local COVID-19 statistics.
  • 7:30 - Brandy Isola talks about negotiations being made with the State and Federal government to bring a field hospital to Shasta County.
  • 8:49 - Hospital partners address questions about healthcare worker concerns related to accessing adequate Personal Protective Equipment.
  • 14:04 - Dr. Ramstrom and Brandy Isola address questions about the availability of testing supplies and talk about current outreach to clinics addressing barriers to testing and drive thru testing.
  • 18:21 - Dr. Ramstrom fields a question about screening medical staff for symptoms before they are allowed in to work.
  • 20:37 - HHSA and Dean Germano from Shasta Community Health Center talk about the effort to support people who are experiencing homelessness if the virus spreads within this vulnerable population.
  • 25:41 - Hospital partners and Public Health talk about the number of ventilators available to patients in the event of a surge in cases and the constant effort by local medical providers to collaboratively ensure medical equipment is in good supply.
  • 30:40 – Mercy and SRMC clarify how their visitor restrictions work.

View video for March 27, 2020

  • 0:16 – Updated COVID-19 statistics for Shasta County and updates from Mercy, SRMC, Mayer’s Memorial Hospital, Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom and HHSA Public Health Branch Director, Brandy Isola./li>
  • 6:09 – Mercy, SRMC and Mayer’s hospitals talk about the supply of ventilators and how they are working together to meet the needs of patients, should an increase in hospitalizations occur.
  • 9:38 – Mercy, SRMC and Mayer’s talk about surge plans and enlisting the help of local doctors and clinics if it needed to address COVID-19 in Shasta County.
  • 10:30 – Mercy and Dr. Ramstrom field a question about recruiting volunteer healthcare personnel.
  • 12:00 – Dr. Ramstrom fields the question, “Will anti-body testing be available in the future?"
  • 12:55 – Brandy Isola talks about how Shasta County HHSA epidemiologists are working across county lines to investigate cases of COVID-19 and share data.
  • 13:48 – Shasta County hospitals talk about keeping staff safe and supplied with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • 15:55 – Shasta County hospitals talk about what they are doing to increase the number of hospital bed availability.
  • 17:18 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom fields a question about whether Advil or ibuprofen is effective against COVID-19.

View video for March 26, 2020

  • 0:01 – Updated statistics for COVID-19 in Shasta County and updates from local hospitals.
  • 3:04 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom, Shasta County Health Officer, talks about testing.
  • 4:41 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom talks about test kits and why there is a need to prioritizing testing.
  • 8:19 – Brandy Isola, Public Health Director, talks about the ways the Public Health Community Mitigation and Education Team is improving social distancing practices in Shasta County and working to ensure nonessential businesses are in compliance with the “stay-at-home” order, using the Governor’s ”soft-touch” enforcement.
  • 12:28 – HHSA responds to the previous day’s Facebook chatter regarding returning to work after being ill, reminding business owners to follow the CDC guidelines and not overwhelm medical providers with employees seeking “return to work notes.”

View video for March 25, 2020

  • 0:08 - Updated statistics for COVID-19 cases in Shasta County.
  • 0:48 – Robert Folden, Chief Operations Officer for Mercy Medical Center Redding, gives and update on the hospital's efforts to respond to COVID-19.
  • 1:13 – Mark Mitchelson, Chief Nursing Officer from SRMC, gives an update on the hospital’s efforts to respond to COVID-19.
  • 1:32 – Valerie Laley, Executive Director for Mayer’s Memorial Hospital, gives an update on the hospital’s efforts to respond to COVID-19 and talks about a new inventory tracking tool they are using.
  • 2:38 – Shasta County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Ramstrom, gives an update on the status of COVID-19 cases in Shasta County, including the first death related to the disease, as well as the importance of following the stay-at-home order and social distancing.
  • 4:53 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom, Health Officer, and Brandy Isola, Public Health Director, addresses a question about COVID-19 and helping the homeless population.
  • 7:30 – Dr. Karen Ramstrom addresses a question about the first COVID-19 death and if that means our situation is becoming worse.
  • 9:02 – Brandy Isola, Public Health Director, explains the process of contact tracing and clarifies why it looks different for COVID-19 vs. the way cases were tracked during the 2019 measles outbreak.
  • 12:47 – Brandy Isola explains the difference between quarantine and isolation.
  • 13:45 – Barry Tippin, Redding City Manager, addresses a question about social distancing and parks, and talks about how permit services are still being utilized during City Hall’s closure.

View video for March 24, 2020

  • 6:55 – Updated statistics for COVID-19 cases in Shasta County.
  • 7:32 – Mark Mitchelson, Chief Nursing Officer from SRMC talks about the “no visitor” policy and deferral of elective surgeries.
  • 9:31 – Valerie Laley, Emergency Preparedness Director for Mayer’s Memorial Hospital, gives an update on protective measures being taken at their skilled nursing facility, their no visitor policy, and the grocery program for residents living within the hospital's district.
  • 10:35 – Joe Ayer from Vitalant talks about the continuous need for blood donations, encouraging everyone to make an appointment if they are healthy.
  • 12:46 – Shasta County HHSA gives and explanation of what “contact tracing” is and what being in quarantine means.
  • 17:50 – Robert Folden, Chief Operations Officer for Mercy Medical Center Redding, talks about how the medical community and Public Health are collaboratively working together to address the “what if” scenarios and better prepare if/when there is a surge in cases.
  • 21:16 – Community partners discuss mask donations and how each hospital prepares for emergency situations.
  • 25:05 – HHSA talks about how Shasta County HHSA epidemiologists are gathering data on COVID-19.
  • 26:46 – HHSA fields the question, “Will you be releasing information about the locations where people who tested positive will be?”
  • 30:00 – HHSA reviews COVID-19 testing criteria.

View video for March 23, 2020

  • Summary of topics pending...

View video for March 20, 2020

  • Shelter-in-place instituted by Governor Newsom and the state website: covid19.ca.gov
  • Updates on hospital and clinic care
  • Public Health staffing situation
  • Current cases and contact tracing
  • Resources for those who are out of work or need other assistance
  • Current influenza situation, steps to take to avoid the flu and how it complicates COVID-19 testing
  • Transfer of COVID-19 patients to other hospitals
  • Current hospital supplies and the use of face masks
  • Recommendations for those who may share a home with someone who has COVID-19

View video for March 19, 2020

  • Visitor restrictions at hospitals
  • Changes at local clinics
  • COVID-19 scams and price gouging, how to report it and consequences for illegal activity
  • Shelter-in-place and social distancing criteria
  • More information on the COVID-19 testing process and the difference between a testing kit and an extraction kit
  • Prepared emergency response plans
  • COVID-19 assistance for the homeless population
  • COVID-19 and pregnancy concerns
  • Dignity Health's telemedicine program and telehealth options at other facilities
  • Getting information from reliable sources

View video for March 18, 2020

  • Social distancing and social isolation for those with symptoms
  • Hospital visitation limits and other planning measures
  • When to see a doctor
  • Basic information about test kits (more information available on 3/19/20 briefing)
  • Emergency preparedness planning measures done by the hospitals and Shasta County
  • COVID-19 and transmission through food
  • COVID-19 testing criteria and the potential for updated criteria
  • Shasta County and hospital stance on COVID-19 testing for general public
  • Suggestions for wiping down deliveries through the mail
  • Effects of weather on COVID-19
  • COVID-19 and wearing masks.

View video for March 17, 2020

  • A brief overview of COVID-19 and testing supplies
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 and immunity
  • COVID-19 testing criteria through the Public Health Lab
  • What to do when you're sick
  • Local hospital staffing and equipment, triage screening and visitation policy
  • Definition of a high-risk individual and how they should act differently
  • COVID-19 and transmission through food
  • Current status of COVID-19 vaccine
  • Disease containment measures
  • COVID-19 incubation period and ability to spread

What is contact tracing?

 

  

From the Health Officer

Press Releases

Press releases are published daily by 6 p.m.

Expand the section below to see previous press releases.

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020