More COVID-19 cases in Lassen County

According to Lassen Cares, there are current six active COVID-19 cases in Lassen County as of Tuesday, June 23.

Lassen Cares also reports nine recovered COVID-19 cases, 2,106 negative tests and 139 pending tests. Serology testing for antibodies has revealed one positive test and 198 negative tests.

Richard Egan, the public information officer for the county’s Incident Command Team said he didn’t have any information on the newly reported cases yet.

“We have three new cases showing up today, but I don’t have any details on them yet,” Egan said Tuesday morning.

Egan also said four inmates at the California Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19, but those cases are reported by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and are not counted as Lassen County cases even though the prison is located within the county.

“Those are reported as CDC cases, and not as the county,” Egan said. “If there are employees out there who contract the virus, they will be reported in their county of residence.”

The CDCR’s public information office did not respond to the Times’ request for comment on this story.

Egan expressed some reluctance to reveal too much information about the local cases because in small rural areas like Lassen and Plumas counties people may be able to figure out exactly who has been infected with the virus, and the county has an obligation to keep that information confidential. For example, he said it’s much different to report a 53-year-old man in Johnstonville had tested positive compared to reporting a 53-year-old man in Watts had tested positive.

Egan said “the first batch” of positive cases came from a family group and the second batch was a group of people who had contact with each other.

And Egan said none of those cases in Lassen County have resulted in hospitalization or death.

“That’s a really good thing,” Egan said.

But Egan said he was starting to become “a little bit concerned” because hospitalization rates in the state and in Nevada are starting to rise.

“I think people are worn out with the social distancing and staying home, and they’re starting to go out a little more, so we may see an increase and at the same time less compliance,” Egan said.

He also said the enforceability of the governor’s most recent guidance regarding the use of facemasks is very unclear. He said the state’s health officer could issue an enforceable order and that would be ‘perfectly clear.”

“I have to think it’s intentional that they didn’t do that, because they did that with the state-at-home order, for example,” Egan said. “They’re trying to walk this fine line pretending they’ve got an enforceable order when they haven’t used the mechanism that would make it enforceable.”