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Shasta County's Response to Local Emergencies

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

Schools

That decision is up to each school district. Here are some links with state guidelines: State guidance and FAQs, and Shasta County School Planning Guidelines in English and Spanish

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people
  • Monitor symptoms
  • If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces every day

Yes. Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. Staff and students need to wear masks unless they have an exemption. Studies have shown that face coverings do not hinder breathing or cause heat-related illness. If you cannot find a cloth face covering for your child, one can be provided by their school. More information about this is available in the school guidance.

There are many reasons people don’t wear a mask. Please do not judge others if they are not wearing a mask. Individuals have different types of cognitive, intellectual disabilities, health conditions, and hearing problems that make it difficult to wear a mask. When we wear masks, we are protecting those who cannot.

Yes. Schools are creating cohorts for after-school participants like they are doing in the classroom setting.

Yes. The California Office of Emergency Services partnered with the California Department of Public Health to send personal protective equipment to schools throughout the state.

There will be medical exemptions for students with asthma with a doctor's note, people who are deaf or hard of hearing (or need to communicate with someone who is), and possibly other conditions. Masks will not be required when students are eating or when they are outside and more than six feet apart.

Schools will offer remote learning options.

Schools where positive cases have been identified have reached out to families to let them know.

All students will wear face coverings and there will be 6 feet of distance between the driver and students. The buses will be cleaned after each trip.

Yes. Details will vary by school district.

In elementary school, the biggest changes will be that children will be in masks and remain in the same group throughout the day with the same teacher. They’ll go out to the playground by class to play and do physical education. Cafeteria use will also be staggered. In high school, cohorting is more difficult, as students have up to six different classes and teachers. High school students will wear face coverings and practice physical distancing, and class sizes will be reduced, as will cafeteria capacity. Many decisions are still in the works but more information will be made available when they are finalized.

Here are some ways to help kids understand what 6 feet looks like:

  • Use a pool noodle: Foam pool noodles are normally between 4.5 and 5 feet long, and while not exactly 6 feet, they provide a way for kids to understand the distance.
  • Use a tape measure: Have your child hold one end of a tape measure while you walk out 6 feet. Talk about what that distance looks like... Can you reach each other? Can you still talk to each other?
  • Create a chalk circle: Have each person hold a simple spray bottle filled with water in the center of their circle and try spraying each other. You can explain how the water represents tiny droplets expelled while breathing and talking that could carry the coronavirus. Does any water get into other circles? If so, this could be a segue to talk about wearing masks.

Physical distancing also means no hugs or handshakes. With kids of all ages, it may be helpful to talk about other ways to greet friends.

State guidance has not been released for recreational sports, which includes high school sports. When that is released, we will know which sports can be allowed when. Counties cannot be less restrictive than the state.

Private and charter schools have been engaged in this process, and many have reached out to Public Health with their plans.

Masks at school will be a big change, so help reassure your students why we're doing this, that we’re helping each other, helping our teachers and helping our families stay safe and healthy. Set a positive tone. Also, reinforce good handwashing habits - including after using the bathroom, before eating, after playing outside, before, during and after school or activities where they interact with others outside their household, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.

Have patience, as this is a fluid situation and we'll all need to adjust accordingly. If your child is sick, keep them home. We may not know what is causing that child to be sick. Remember that what you do as a family can expose your children to COVID-19, so please don't interact in person much with people outside your household. Get flu shots for your family so we can differentiate between what is the flu and what is not if someone in your household gets sick.

What is allowed now?

It's still possible to enjoy Halloween traditions by adopting some new safety measures. Here are some tips for safe trick or treating. State guidance can be found here.

Yes, some outdoor gatherings are permitted, but they must meet certain conditions. This is because gatherings pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19.

Gatherings are defined as events that bring together people from multiple households in one space, indoors or outdoors. That space could be as large as an arena or as small as a private home. 

On May 25, 2020, in an effort to balance First Amendment interests with public health, the State Public Health Officer created an exception to the prohibition against mass gatherings for faith-based services, cultural ceremonies, and protests. Those types of gatherings are now permitted indoors in counties in Substantial (red), Moderate (orange), and Minimal (yellow) tiers, subject to certain restrictions in those counties. 

State public health directives also permit in-person outdoor faith-based services or protests as long as face coverings are worn and physical distancing of 6 feet between persons or groups of persons from different households is maintained at all times. 

As of October 9, 2020, outdoor private gatherings are allowed under the following conditions:

  • Attendees must be from no more than 3 separate households
  • Duration should be 2 hours or less

At any gathering, observe these safety protocols:

  • Wear a  mask, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently
  • Do not attend if you have COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Do not attend if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (seniors, those with certain medical conditions)

Read more details in the state’s private gatherings guidance. Be aware that local health departments may have additional restrictions.

Crowds and limited physical distancing increase the risk for COVID-19. If you attended a gathering, remember that confidential, free COVID-19 testing is available. 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.

To prevent further spread of COVID-19, Californians should not travel significant distances and should stay close to home as much as possible.

There are currently no restrictions for entering California if you are coming from another state in the U.S. The federal government has placed restrictions on certain international travelers. With specific exceptions, foreign nationals who visited certain countries during the past 14 days are prohibited from entry to the United States. All travelers should take safety precautions when considering traveling.·       

  • Don’t travel if you have been sick in the past 14 days or if you live with someone with COVID-19
  • Don’t travel with someone who is sick
  • Wear a mask in public
  • Wash your hands
  • Keep 6 feet from anyone you don’t live with

Yes, but only wedding ceremonies are allowed, not receptions. Wedding ceremonies should follow the guidance for places of worship or cultural ceremonies. As required by that guidance, social distancing should be practiced by all attendees. Wear masks, wash hands frequently, and keep 6 feet from anyone you don’t live with. 

Ceremonies have restrictions on their setting or capacity, depending on your county’s tier status:

  • Widespread (purple) tier:
    Outdoors only
  • Substantial (red) tier:
    May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Moderate (orange) tier:
    May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer
  • Minimal (yellow) tier:
    May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 50%

While wedding receptions are not permitted, consider safer options like sharing your wedding online via video conference (Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms). This protects all your loved ones, especially those at high risk like seniors or people with chronic conditions. See more details in guidance for places of worship and cultural ceremonies.

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

Blood donation is a safe and essential health care activity. Vitalant Shasta is practicing strict safety measures to ensure blood donation remains safe. Learn about their safety measures by visiting www.vitalant.org/COVID-FAQs.

To schedule a donation, visit www.vitalant.org

Here are some alternative ideas for fundraisers.

  • Virtual event through live medium (Zoom, Facebook Live, etc.)
  • Redesign sit-down meal to a drive-through/pick-up meal
  • Hold raffle/silent auction online or virtually (use platform like GiveSmart to hold virtual auction)
  • Replace event with comprehensive online communications campaign via social media and e-mail
  • Update event theme to match current situation/ needs
  • Drive-in event:
    • Gather in a location large enough to safely accommodate the number of vehicles with sufficient spacing
    • Stagger event times to limit the number of vehicles and guests
    • The event should be open only to invited guests
    • Event personnel can direct traffic to park in designated spots, 6 feet apart from other vehicles
    • Attendees stay in their vehicles
    • Event personnel must be spaced at least 6 feet apart
    • No bathrooms for public use
  • Parade:
    • Create a traffic flow plan for how vehicles enter and exit the event
    • Event could be in a large parking lot that could hold all the vehicles
    • Everyone attending would remain in their vehicles for the duration of the ceremony
    • Broadcast the ceremony via FM radio so that the families can listen in their cars
    • Limit parade to less than 3 hours
  • Virtual auction: Several online platforms support the bidding process.
    • Start with online bidding
    • Live stream the auction 
    • Live auction the package
    • Multiple devices are recommended - one to watch and the other to bid
  • Virtual bingo: Bingo cards can be purchased online and participants print them out. Emcees call out the squares, and whomever gets "bingo" wins a prize.

Resources

We all play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. 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.

The state requirements are here.

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.

Testing and what to do if you think you've been exposed

Testing is available for people with and without symptoms. Find the options here: https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/covid-19/get-tested

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.

Test results can take between 2 and 7 days to come back. If you don't have symptoms and are not a close contact of a person who has tested positive, there's no need to self-quarantine while awaiting results.

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.

Isolation: Patients with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 are isolated at home and must wait at least 10 days from the time they first had symptoms, AND at least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath). If they did not have symptoms, they are isolated for 10 days from the date of the test. 

QuarantineThrough 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.

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. 

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.

People of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19:

Based on what we know at this time, people with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

Children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.

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

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.