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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

Schools

Unlike many other counties in California, schools have been open in Shasta County since August, with some modifications. These state guidelines and FAQs apply to schools, and Shasta County also has some School Planning Guidelines in English and Spanish. Distance learning options are also available at schools, and decisions are made by the local school boards. 

A total of 1,170 COVID-19 cases have been reported at 95 Shasta County elementary and high schools since the school year began, with the vast majority due to community spread, not transmission on campus.

What is allowed now?

Outdoor, in-person graduations are permitted with modifications, based on tier status. School administrators and graduation organizers can find more information here:

  • Click here for the latest guidance on Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports
  • The guidance applies to all organized youth sports and recreation— including school- and community-sponsored programs, and privately-organized clubs and leagues — and adult recreational sports
  • Tournaments and events involving more than 2 teams in Shasta County must:

Almost all businesses can be open now, with modifications in place, including capacity limits and mask-wearing. Learn more here.

Here's a list of business types that can open now.

Prevent other food-related activities from becoming a gathering. You can use a drive-through or take-out model.

  • Offer online ordering
  • Stagger pickup times and locations
  • Limit vehicles to one household
  • Offer contact-free pick-up
  • Limit crowding in parking lots
Guidance for restaurants: Guidance Restaurants (ca.gov)

Yes, some gatherings are permitted, but they are limited because gatherings pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19. Find details about indoor and outdoor gatherings here.

At any gathering, please 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)

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.   

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.

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 free for anyone, with and without symptoms. Find the options here: https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/covid-19/get-tested

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 5 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

Yes. 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. 

We do not test for the variant strains in our lab (or any lab in Shasta County). There is no diagnostic test that can distinguish the variants; we are up to at least three different variants of concern right now. Sequencing is the only way to know for sure if a virus is a variant, and we don't currently sequence in our lab. We do participate in sequencing Shasta County specimens through both the CDC's NS3 surveillance program and CDPH's CovidNet, but our participation in these programs has only started in the last couple of weeks. We randomly pick specimens to send and are going to be getting between 10-20 samples sequenced per week for Shasta County and the region that includes Lassen, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.

Yes.

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. When a person dies, all conditions, diseases, or injuries are evaluated and considered according to medical rules. Enter COVID. 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 receives allocations of antibody treatments and distributes them to a limited number of our local hospitals and clinics. Then, they can make it available to patients who meet the very strict criteria, based on the infectious disease doctors’ recommendations. The County hopes to increase capacity of the treatment moving forward.