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Worries Of Going Back To Square One In COVID-19 Crisis

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Sonora, CA – Concerns over social distancing and mask-wearing were key discussions at Wednesday’s Tuolumne County business webinar after the busy Memorial Day weekend.

Sonora City Council Member Colette Such stated that while she was happy to see people downtown over the holiday, she saw what she feels is a worrisome trend.

“I consider it my patriotic duty to wear a face shield in public,” proclaimed Such. “I was quite dismayed by downtown Sonora last weekend that there was so little of that. I think the more people that wear face masks…the more people will be willing to wear face masks.”

Tuolumne County Public Health Officer Dr. Liza Ortiz recommended that everyone be wearing masks. To clear up face-covering confusion she explained, “Wearing a mask is not a substitute for physical distancing. Wearing a mask does not protect the person wearing the mask. It protects other people.”

Tuolumne County District 5 Supervisor Karl Rodefer questioned what the state was doing to stop non-essential travel, and indicated concerns about the number of visitors coming to the county. He added, “We love the business, but if they are coming from a hot spot, that is not good.” Dr. Ortiz reiterated that it is not recommended and that people should stay in their own counties.

Rodefer further stressed, “If we don’t follow the rules, and we can’t manage the contract tracing, and threaten the capacity of our health care system in the county, we will have to lock back down. Nobody wants to do that. That would be worse than going too slow.”

The county currently has four confirmed cases of coronavirus. Dr. Ortiz also expounded about the difficulties surrounding the most recent positive cases, detailing, “The cases we currently have involve an incredibly large number of contacts. We have had to reach out to, track down, advise, and coordinate testing for people. That is because in some cases recommendations were not followed.”

Dr. Ortiz added that a couple of counties, including Lassen, have had to pull back on their Stage 2 variances and reinstitute mitigation measures because their reopening has not gone well. She urged, “The more people that can cooperate with recommendations the easier this is, and the faster we can go through these phases and completely stay in compliance.”

Regarding moving to Stage 3, Dr. Ortiz relayed there is no word from the state as to when that will happen. Rodefer ended the webinar reporting that all county and city leaders along with the staff are working hard to “get us opened as fast as possible, as safe as possible.”



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