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Tuolumne County Health Department Taking Actions To Prevent COVID-19

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Sonora, CA — The Board of Supervisors in Tuolumne County heard a report about the latest efforts to prevent COVID-19.

A presentation was delivered this morning by the county’s Health and Human Services Agency Director Rebecca Espino, Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko, Health Program Supervisor Michelle Jachetta and Assistant Human Services Director Steve Boyack.

Espino stated, “We live in a community that has proven, over and over again, to be resilient.”
She added that the county will continue to face the challenges of COVID-19 with same rigor that was witnessed during the great recession, Rim Fire and the drought.

Regarding tests for COVID-19, Dr. Sergienko stated that there are still no confirmed cases in the county. In middle of his speech, he was alerted that five recent tests that they were awaiting results on just came back negative.

Dr. Sergeinko, who has also served as Public Health Officer in Mariposa County since 2016, noted that he previously was a Naval Medical Officer during the Ebola response, and was a preventative officer with the Department of Defense during H1N1.

He stated, “The county, and region, are in a fairly good place to be ready for this, but there are steps to take.”

Further discussing testing, he clarified that patients are having it done at the discretion of their healthcare provider, based on the clinical assessment and current CDC guidance. Providers can order a test through the public health department or a commercial lab. Tests are not required to be coordinated with the public health department, but any positive test results must be reported to Public Health. It is unclear how many tests have been given in the county.

Part of the recommendation that was approved today by the board was to ask the community to limit public gatherings to under 50 people. He gave the caveat that the situation is rapidly changing nationwide, and he may soon have to recommend the county implement the CDC proposal to limit gatherings to 10 people.
District Five Supervisor Karl Rodefer added, “This is a real threat, but it is not something we can’t defeat. But, we are in a war. And I think we have to treat it like that and do the right things.”

District Three Supervisor Anaiah Kirk added, “The reality of it is, what happened in Italy, is what we are trying to avoid. South Korea, I believe, is doing it right. So, with social distancing, people need to take it seriously.”
Dr. Sergienko says when/if the county receives a confirmed case, testing efforts would increase, and additional response measures would likely follow.

We’ll continue to provide the health department’s daily updates on COVID-19 on
Calaveras County still has two confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there are none to this point in Mariposa County.