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26th COVID-19 Case for Calaveras Also From Valley Springs

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San Andreas, CA – As another COVID-19 case in Valley Springs was reported Friday in Calaveras, Clarke Broadcasting asked County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita for his take.

“We have ten cases of confirmed COVID-19 in the past 14 days, and that is a significant increase from what we have seen to this point,” the doctor acknowledges.

“At the beginning of the week a household couple from Valley Springs…were Cases 20 and 21…then four cases within a single household in Valley Springs — no connection to the couple — and an additional case Friday, a female [between 18-49 years of age] from Valley Springs, was tied to Case 16 as a household contact.”

He stresses it is not unusual to see transmission from household contacts which often happens before symptoms develop. While the recent most cases are all from the same community, the doctor is a little hesitant to label it as an outbreak.

“It depends. I would see an increase of disease activity as a result of the relaxation of stay at home orders, businesses opening,” he replies. While sheltering in place and the tightened rules resulted in flattening and even locally squashing the case curve, he maintains that with businesses reopening and people walking around without facemasks or coverings, we will see an increase in disease activity. In order to help prevent it from getting out of hand, he advises high-risk people to remain indoors and limit activities to only essential things.

“Face masks or coverings are very prevent transmission in the community. It does not take very long to be outside to see people not wearing face coverings — and that is not a good idea. They are shown to reduce transmission, especially those who are asymptomatic.”

He continues, some communities require facemasks to be worn when people are in public. We don’t do that in Calaveras County. If we see disease increases like we are and I see people not wearing them, I may put something into place that requires them to do that.”

Dr. Kelaita adds, “I think it is important to get tested. The COVID-19 testing site [at Frogtown in the Calaveras County Fairgrounds] can run 140 tests a day. We have a goal of 70 tests to have a good handle on disease activity. People are recommended to get tested if they have symptoms or are exposed to a probable or confirmed case.”

Ahead of considering rolling back some of the businesses opening such as restaurants for in-restaurant dining, the doctor says many metrics are being monitored along with the case count. He shares, “We would like to see the average number of cases in Calaveras County to not exceed 12.5 cases every 14 days, and we are bumping up against that.”

The best protection against COVID-19 continues to be staying at least six feet away from people outside of your household; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth; cover coughs and sneeze with a tissue or elbow (not your hands), and wear a face-covering over your nose and mouth to protect others.

The days and hours for the OptumServe COVID-19 testing site located at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds are expanding next week. The new hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Testing is available to those age 12 and older. People without internet access should call (888) 634-1123. No-cost testing is available to anyone who would like to get one.

Walk-ins are welcome but people are highly encouraged to register online by clicking here.

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