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Public Health Officer Declares Tuolumne County COVID-19 Emergency

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Sonora, CA — In the wake of federal, state and regional actions, Tuolumne County has now enacted emergency measures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to Health Department spokesperson Michelle Jachetta, Interim Health Officer Eric Sergienko initiated the declaration Friday afternoon. It includes an order to cancel, postpone or modify large gatherings as per state guidelines. The Tuolumne County Supervisors are expected to ratify the action at a meeting next week. Pertinent information is as follows:

The Public Health Department has activated its Department Operations Center (DOC) to effectively respond to the COVID-19 incident, including communication and coordination with the County’s federal, state, and local partners.

While there are not yet any confirmed cases within the county, the Acting Tuolumne County Health Officer has declared a local health emergency in order to enhance the effectiveness of the response to COVID-19, to seek and utilize mutual aid, potentially obtain reimbursement, and ensure that the County’s public health professionals and providers have all necessary resources to provide quality care and keep our community safe. Along with this declaration, Dr. Sergienko has issued an order to support the guidance on mass gatherings released by the State this week.

Testing
Testing is being conducted at the discretion of health care providers in the community, based on their clinical assessment and currently recommended guidance. Tests that will be conducted through the Public Health laboratory system are coordinated with the County Public Health Department. Testing is available through Quest laboratories with a health care provider’s order. These tests are not required to be communicated through the Public Health Department, but local providers are strongly encouraged to do so. Any positive test result must be reported to the Public Health Department

Mass Gatherings
Guidance from the State was issued on March 11th regarding mass gatherings in an effort to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in California. You can review the guidance details here. Dr. Sergienko has issued an order to support and implement these state recommendations in Tuolumne County.

Schools
At this time it is not being recommended to close schools as Tuolumne county does not currently have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no evidence of community spread. It is of more benefit to allow students to continue to attend school with the implementation of the recommended increase in hygiene and monitoring practices, as well as suggested limitation of some activities. Recommended actions for schools can be found here. Please do not send your children to school if they are ill and/or have a fever without taking medication.

What You Can Do
The CDC has updated information and guidance for specific audiences such as businesses, healthcare professionals, schools, community- and faith-based organizations, vulnerable populations, and more here. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) also has specific guidance documents available here.

Practice everyday preventions to stay healthy. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or with hand sanitizer when soap is not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you are ill, stay at home. If other family members are ill, including children, keep them home.

Practice social distancing: put more space between yourself and others. About six feet is good, if possible. Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects often with soap and water or household cleaners. Don’t forget your cell phone.

If you have symptoms or get sick…

Stay home, unless you need to seek medical care. Call ahead before visiting your doctor, clinic, or hospital. Wear a face mask to avoid spreading germs.

Cover your cough with a tissue and immediately throw it in the trash, or cough into your bent elbow. Wash your hands after using a tissue. Wash your hands often and avoid sharing personal items.

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