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Tuolumne Dangerously Close To Joining Other Counties Shut Down By State

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Sonora, CA – Tuolumne County is facing a grim reality if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, according to its health officer, county, and city leaders.

“We are getting to the point where we are going to lose control of the situation and we are going to have to lock down again…Our local economy can’t stand that, our people can’t stand that their personal income can’t stand that,” warned District 5 Supervisor Karl Rodefer at last night’s coronavirus business webinar.

Already 19 counties have been ordered to pull back on reopening after spikes in coronavirus landed them on the state’s monitoring list. Those include neighboring counties, San Joaquin and Stanislaus, as reported here on Wednesday. Tuolumne County Health Officer Liza Ortiz says the county is in danger of making that list, “We’re seeing some really concerning evidence that we’re are moving very much in the wrong direction. The number of cases that are being identified is much, much higher than we were looking at before and continues to increase. The number of contacts that each of those people have is really staggering.”

Dr. Otiz went on to say the easiest way to protect the community is for the public to take some simple actions that include:

  • Wear a cloth face-covering in public
  • Avoid gather with others outside of your household
  • Wash hands
  • Social distance
  • Stay home if sick
  • Stay home if quarantined

One of the main sources of virus transmission in the county is small gatherings, according to Dr. Ortiz. She points to the use of shared utensils to serve food and attendees not follow the same physical distancing practices as they would in public.

“These small gatherings are causing quite a lot of transmission and some pretty big clusters,” disclosed Dr. Ortiz. “In this county, we have transmitted disease to our family members because of those gatherings.”

Rodefer praised the health department for working round the clock and using every resource it can leverage to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. He criticized some of the insults being leveled at the staff from the public, admonishing, “A community does not rant and rave at the people that are most responsible for trying to help them get through this process and that is our public health staff. If most people could read or hear the messages that get left on the hotline they would be appalled.”

Rodefer ended the webinar calling for unity and asked citizens to be civil to each other. He pleaded, “It’s most important when times are most difficult for us to pull together.”

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