Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, July 23, 2020 @ 1:59 p.m.

10 More Active COVID-19 Cases Could Land Del Norte On California's Monitoring List, OES Manager Says

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If 10 more COVID-19 cases are identified in Del Norte County in the next two weeks, the community could find itself having to shutter more than indoor dining rooms at restaurants.

Del Norte currently has 17 active cases, according to the county’s Information Hub. It would take 27 cases within a 14-day period to land the community on the state’s monitoring list, Emergency Services Manager Kymmie Scott told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Thursday.

The California Department of Public Health flags a county if it has 100 cases per 100,000 people, if its test-positivity rate is more than 8 percent or if there is a more than 10 percent increase in hospitalizations.

The state also flags a county if it has less than 20 percent of its hospital’s intensive care unit beds are available or less than 25 percent of its ventilators available, according to Scott.

“The one that’s threatening us right now is the case rate per 100,000, and that’s over a 14 day period,” she said. “So if we hit 27 cases over a 14 day period and we stay there for three days it can put us on the monitoring list.”

Of the 17 active cases in Del Norte County, 11 are connected with Pelican Bay State Prison staff, the Public Health Branch reported Wednesday. Fifteen positive cases were identified at the prison following staff testing last week.

Most were asymptomatic and no one has been hospitalized, according to the Public Health Branch.

The Curry County Office of Emergency Services reported that four positive COVID-19 cases were identified on Wednesday.

In California, counties that are on the monitoring list for three consecutive days must shutter gyms and fitness centers, places of worship and cultural ceremonies such as weddings and funerals, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services such as nail salons and body wax, hair salons and barbershops, and shopping malls, according to CDPH.

An order by California Governor Gavin Newsom on July 13 closed the following activities statewide: Dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers like bowling alleys, zoos and museums and card rooms.

In Del Norte County, Newsom’s order meant bars couldn’t reopen on July 24 as originally expected.

Public Health staff are still conducting case investigations connected with the cluster at Pelican Bay, Scott said. One of the things they’re hoping to identify is how staff were infected with COVID-19, she said.

“They may be able to identify that and they’re looking to identify that,” Scott said. “Whether or not they can is another story. They may not be able to track it down exactly.”

Pelican Bay State Prison will test all its inmates for COVID-19, according to the Public Health Branch. All prison staff will be tested again early next week.

There have been a total of 79 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Del Norte County and 3,386 tests administered, according to the Public Health Branch. Sixty-two of those confirmed cases are inactive. There have been two hospitalizations total and zero deaths in Del Norte.


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