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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. Schools are not universally affected by a county's change in tiers. Regardless of what tier a county falls into, it is recommended that a school closes when at least 5% of staff and students test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days, and school districts should close if one-quarter of schools in the districts are closed due to COVID-19 cases. 

Schools will offer remote learning options.

Schools where positive cases have been identified will reach 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. 

The sports that are allowed in a county depend on the tier that county is in.

What is allowed now?

In the era of COVID, there is no such thing as a perfectly safe way for people from multiple households to gather – family or not. Getting together with people outside your household is risky business. But there are ways to reduce the health risks to you and the people you care about by weighing the risks of gathering against the potential benefits. To clarify, minimizing your risk does not eliminate your risk. When it comes to COVID, there are no guarantees. The key is to know the risks, make a plan, and commit to sticking to the plan. Yes, it will be hard. It will take commitment from everyone who will be attending. If we all commit to keeping risk levels low, we can have gatherings that are safe and joyful.

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.

Stay in your county if you can, and we recommend that you don’t drive more than 2-3 hours.

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 traveling 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.

You should check with the local health department where you are starting from, along your route, and at your planned destination for information. Know that local rules are constantly changing and may change even after you start your trip. Check for travel updates before you leave your home.

Before traveling 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 covering, keeping 6 feet of physical distance from those not in your household, and washing your hands frequently.  

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. Learn more about antibody testing.

This page provides an overview of isolation and quarantine and explains what to do in either situation.

In Shasta County, tests most commonly used to confirm COVID-19 are molecular (PCR) tests. Data published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PCR tests show that false positives and false negatives are unlikely to occur with this type of test, especially false positives. However, it is possible that false negatives may occur if the person is very early in their illness, or if the sample collected from the person was not adequate.

The PCR tests that are used in all confirmed COVID-19 cases in Shasta County only identify COVID-19. Flu shots do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. You will not test positive for COVID-19 if you have the flu, a cold or another coronavirus.

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. The virus is spread through close contact with an infected person, so please stay home as much as possible, stay physically distanced when you do go out, wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, and stay home when sick. If you are in a store, gym, restaurant, etc. where most people are not wearing face coverings, we would recommend that you go back at a less busy time or choose another store or restaurant. 

Our county has been broken into six regions so people can see how COVID is affecting various parts of the county. Groups needed to be as close to 20,000 people as possible to comply with privacy requirements, so census tracts were grouped together. 

About the Virus

Yes, this is recommended. The vaccine is more reliable than infection when it comes to immunity. People should use all available prevention measures until we have enough immunity that prevents community spread.

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.