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Public Urged To Wear Masks In Public Settings Due To COVID Spike

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Sonora, CA – A recent spike in COVID-19 cases has Tuolumne County Public Health recommending masks be worn in public settings regardless of whether a person is fully vaccinated.

Thursday there were 14 new community cases and two of those were fully vaccinated individuals given the Moderna vaccine. That number includes 1 female and 2 males ages 0-17, 1 female and male 30-39, 3 females and 2 males 40-49, 2 females and 1 male 60-69, and 1 male 70-79. As reported here yesterday, over the weekend the county saw the first case of a fully vaccinated person needing hospitalization and since then that number now stands at two individuals.

Public health officials explain the surge stating that when California retired the Blueprint for a Safer Economy it resulted in increased population mobility, resulting in increased transmission of the virus in the state, the northern region, and the county. They add that the emergence of the Delta variant has made the rise in cases “markedly more than anticipated.”

Over the past week and especially the past few days, Public Health officials detail that they have  seen a spike in cases and “anticipate further growth over the coming weeks.” Additionally, they note that currently, they are addressing “several clusters and outbreaks of cases as part of this surge in cases.”

Noting the current staffing shortages, public health relayed that the state has seen a quadrupling of cases and tripling of COVID hospitalizations over the last four weeks with the current case rate in the state at 8.1/100,000 per day. In response to the current situation and to mitigate the impacts of this rise in cases, Tuolumne County Public Health gave these recommendations to the public:

  • Wearing a mask by all, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public settings.
  • Testing: those who have close contact with the public are recommended to get tested regularly, about every 14-28 days. If anyone experiences symptoms at any time, they should get tested right away.
  • Cooperation with Public Health case investigations, contact tracing, isolation & quarantine as these activities will limit the spread of disease.
  • Stay home when sick or having symptoms.
  • Vaccination: get vaccinated if not already, finish the vaccination series if not complete.

In its push to get people to follow these recommendations, Public Health also noted, “These measures have limited impact on our economy, and are interventions proven to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus (as well as other respiratory illness).”

Public health officials also provided a Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) response to a recent cluster of cases at the prison that states:

“The well-being and safety of the incarcerated population and staff within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) is our top priority. We are immediately responding to the increase in positive COVID-19 cases at Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) with coordinated efforts to increase the frequency of testing, conduct contact tracing and implement isolation and quarantine measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

There are currently 5 incarcerated people with active cases of COVID-19 and no reported COVID-related deaths at SCC. To view more detailed case and testing information, see the CDCR and CCHCS Patient Testing Tracker. There are 4 active employee cases and SCC is working with CDCR’s Employee Health Program (EHP) with employee contact tracing investigations and testing in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The Incident Command Post at SCC, which has been established since July 2020 ensures immediate communication and coordination between custody and health care operations with public health experts and community stakeholders.

SCC will be conducting mass testing of the population in the affected Facility. Mandatory staff testing is taking place at SCC every week. Further information regarding the process for staff and incarcerated population testing can be found on the COVID-19 Response Efforts webpage.

Programming and recreation continue to be modified by being reduced in size to allow for physical distancing and disinfecting between use while not mixing housing units. Education and rehabilitation materials are being delivered to the housing units and only essential transfers conducted under the CDCR/CCHCS Patient Movement Matrix are approved. The matrix dictates mandatory testing and quarantine timeframes for all transfers.”