Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom blamed the recent rise in local COVID-19 cases in part on an outbreak at a skilled nursing home.
Ramstrom told the Shasta County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that 42 people (34 residents and eight employees) have tested positive since the outbreak there started Aug. 27.
Health officials declined to identify the facility but directed a reporter to a California Department of Public Health database that says 34 residents at Windsor Redding Care Center on Court Street have tested positive for COVID-19.
“We have done several site visits and have had communications with them daily, provided several rounds of personal protection equipment to meet their needs and have been in consultation with the state,” Ramstrom told supervisors.
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The county has reported more than 70 cases over the past week, including two deaths.
All told, there have been 709 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic started last spring. Fourteen people have died from the virus.
Ramstrom also said schools being back in session contributed to the uptick in cases.
Since the beginning of the academic year in mid-August, 19 students and 5 school staff members from various Shasta County schools have tested positive for COVID-19, local health officials have said.
“We’ve had over the last week or so, about 7 schools that have at least one student (test positive) and among those schools also we have had a couple that have had a couple staff (test positive),” Ramstrom said Tuesday. “We have not had any transmission among students within any of our K through 12 schools so that’s good news.”
Shasta County’s case rate has gone up from 1.4% to 2.2% and its positive test rate has risen from 1.7% to 2.4%, Ramstrom said.
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“So both of those are going in the wrong direction, slightly, but we’re still solidly in the orange, so that’s good news,” she told the supervisors.
The state uses case and testing rates to determine which color tier a county is in. The most restrictive of the four-tier system for business activity is purple. It is followed by red and then orange. To reach the lowest or “minimal” outbreak level, which is the yellow tier, a county must have fewer than one new case per 100,000 residents per day, according to the California Department of Public Health. Positive test rates must be under 2% a day.
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David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.