Korver ‘retracts’ re-opening advance for seven days due to ‘serious problem’ and ‘dire need to contain the spread of the virus’

Dr. Kenneth Krover, Lassen County’s public health officer, ordered the retraction of provisions of the county’s Roadmap to Recovery Tuesday, May 26 and ordered the county return to phase one status for the next seven days in an effort to stop community transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

With four confirmed cases of the virus in Lassen County, Korver explained, “We need to determine the magnitude of COVID-19 within Lassen County and take measures to isolate those individuals so we can resume reopening businesses in Lassen County. Therefore, (t)his order retracts the Lassen County Roadmap to Recovery Reopening and restricts businesses and social activities to the following safety guidelines for the next seven days:

  • Restaurant delivery and curbside pick-up only. No dine-in service at this time.
  • No in-store retail services, curbside pick-up only.
  • No salon services or places of worship services at this time.

In addition, all essential businesses and services must practice the following safety measures:

  • Employees or patrons who are sick must not work or enter the business facility.
  • Social distancing of six feet throughout business.
  • Regular sanitization of contact surfaces.
  • Wearing face coverings is recommended but not mandatory.

According to a statement from the incident command team, “The Lassen County Incident Command and Lassen County Public Health Department would like to commend the residents of Lassen County for practicing social and physical distancing, washing your hands, and avoiding non-essential travel. Your actions prevented the spread of the virus to Lassen County for three months.

“With no confirmed cases, the county was able to open businesses and expand services. As the diligence of the public relaxed, the risk of the virus coming to our community increased with people traveling between counties, states, or even countries. Unfortunately, we now have a serious problem in our community.

“Late Friday night, the public health department received the results of two positive tests from Lassen County residents. The staff immediately began the investigation process to identify any individuals who were in close contact with the two residents. The process is called ‘contact tracing investigations’ and it is a strategy to identify the source of the virus and how many people may have been in contact with a person who is carrying the virus. The investigation and testing confirmed two more community members had been infected with the virus.

“This is the first example of community spread within in Lassen County. It is important to note, these cases are unrelated to the five positive, non-resident cases. At this time, no Lassen County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from close contact with these individuals.

“ … Korver, the public health officer for Lassen County, released an order today outlining the dire need to contain the spread of the virus in Lassen County. To do this, the public health department needs to test people who have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. People tested in connection to the investigation need to remain in self-isolation until they receive their results. If they test positive, they will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.

“To stop community transmission of COVID-19, Korver explained we need to determine the magnitude of COVID-19 within Lassen County and take measures to isolate those individuals so we can resume reopening businesses in Lassen County.

“We understand the impact these decisions make on local economy and mental health, but we cannot compromise the safety of our residents. This order is only in effect for seven days. This measure will be used to identify the spread of the virus and stop the transmission of the disease in Lassen County and to vulnerable populations. If the situation stabilizes, the Incident Command will move swiftly to reopen businesses.

“You can aid in this process by continuing to practice social distancing, staying at home if you are sick and deciding not to travel to areas that have widespread COVID-19 confirmed cases.

“The public health department is working together with Verily and Project Baseline to offer free COVID-19 testing. Register at lassencares.org and the LassenCares Facebook page. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, call the Lassen County COVID-19 call center at 251-8100 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.