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Shasta County's Response to Local Emergencies

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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

What is allowed now? 

California has moved Beyond the Blueprint to reopen the economy. The new public health order effective June 15 supersedes all prior health orders. The order has limited restrictions, only related to masking and mega-events, as well as settings serving children and youth pending an expected update to the K-12 schools guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Travel within California is allowed by the state travel guidance. Out-of-state travel should follow CDC travel guidance. Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to test or quarantine before or after travel unless they have symptoms of COVID-19.

The state requirements are here.

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

Testing is free for anyone, with and without symptoms. Find the options here.

Testing is an important surveillance tool that helps public health know how the disease is spreading in our community. Test results should just take a few 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.

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.

No. 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.

About the Virus

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.

We do not test for the variant strains in our lab (or any lab in Shasta County). Sequencing is the only way to know for sure if a virus is a variant. Select Shasta County specimens are sequenced through the CDC's NS3 surveillance program and CDPH's CovidNet.

Public Health reviews every death certificate, and it has not seen any deaths that have been both COVID-19 and influenza. An influenza death is an influenza death, not a COVID-19 death. COVID-19 deaths are displayed on a death certificate in the sequence of events that led to the death. The attending physicians, based on what they observed while the patient was in their care to the time of death, notes the cause of death. The county coroner confirms cause and the manner of death, and then Public Health reviews the death certificates.

Accurately classifying deaths is a top priority for public health professionals, and this video explains the process. When a person dies, all conditions, diseases, or injuries are evaluated and considered according to medical rules. When a person with COVID dies, the cause of death receives extra scrutiny. COVID, as it relates to a death, can be classified in three different ways:

  1. As the cause (or probable cause) of death,
  2. A contributing cause of death, and
  3. Not related.

When a death is classified as being caused by COVID, that means the person died as a direct result of the health problems caused by COVID-19. This is regardless of what other health conditions (like hypertension or diabetes) the patient may have had. When COVID is listed as a contributing factor in death, it means someone died of a condition that was brought on or made worse by COVID. For example, when a death occurs due to respiratory distress brought on by pneumonia that developed as a result of COVID, COVID is listed as a contributing factor. When a person who has COVID dies because of something completely unrelated to COVID (e.g. a car crash), the death is not counted as a COVID death even if the person tests positive for COVID.

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.

Treatments

Shasta County hospitals can provide this treatment to patients who meet the very strict criteria, based on the infectious disease doctors’ recommendations.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is the only medication to prevent infection. There is no other drug or medication that is effective and approved to prevent you from getting COVID-19. Theseare the treatements that have been shown to be safe and effective and have either approval or emergency use authorization (EUA) for treating SARS CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.