It’s been about eight months since COVID-19 made its appearance in California, but the Lassen County Public Health department is grateful for the efforts from its teams and partnerships between local departments and organizations during this time.
During the Tuesday, Sept. 29, Lassen County Board of Supervisors meeting, Health and Social Services Director Barbara Longo shared a timeline of the COVID-19 milestones and the local public health response.
Currently, in Lassen County, there are 11 active community cases, for a total of 103 cases, and there have been no local hospitalizations or deaths due to the virus.
“I think our response to COVID has been remarkable,” said Longo to the board, thanking them and county staff. “We’re going to get through this, hopefully soon.”
The timeline, shared below, details dates including when state residents were urged to stay home in March and the creation of LassenCares.org, to the county’s first positive test on May 22. The timeline also lists the county’s current placement in the Orange Tier, or Tier 3, in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Reopening, tier system. She noted this list did not show all the work done by the local teams throughout the past nine months.
Longo also discussed some difficulties encountered, such as when Lassen County was initially labeled as a Red Tier 2, a more restrictive tier for counties with “substantial spread.”
“We keep trying to make our needs met and voice our opinions,” said Longo.
She also discussed mitigation efforts during the meeting.
“Our message today is mitigation, it’s harm reduction, what can we do. And just like we’ve said from day one, we need to have good, solid hand hygiene. We need to keep our social distancing right now, we need to clean the surfaces frequently and travel safely,” said Longo, adding the virus is coming back to Lassen County from those traveling and bringing it back to the area.
Additionally, she also noted the importance of focusing on the positives COVID-19 has brought about, including the strengthened partnerships between city and county departments, Banner Lassen Medical Center, Susanville Indian Rancheria Health Clinic, Lassen Community College, school districts and others.
“We’re just all in. Everybody has been all in knowing the pressures that we’re all under as a county,” said Longo
The Health and Social Services Director also focused on the efficiency of the dedicated teams ensuring the tracing and testing taking place.
“We’ve been able to identify these positive cases in this county, circle around them … educate them on how important it is to quarantine and/ or isolate depending on their exposure to the virus, and so kudos to the public health nurses, to the staff that’s been helping provide the supports to that, social services … everybody has been on this,” said Longo.
She also shared about the success from the testing experts, including Jim Uruburu, Maryann Kiar and the testing team from public health.
“We are in the top three testing teams in the state. We’ve been number one, it fluctuates every week, but we’ve always been in the top three,” said Longo. “That means that we’re going out there, we’re doing focus testing, we’re supporting the business centers that want to be tested.”
She also commended the logistics team, Kiar and Danielle Sanchez, who have been maintaining equipment and inventory.
During the meeting, supervisors expressed appreciation for the local teams managing COVID-19 in the area, while also sharing frustration with COVID-19 cases brought on through inmate transfers.
Supervisor Chris Gallagher shared his frustration with CDCR, but also commended staff for working to reopen what they can in the county while still remaining compliant and eligible for funding.
“Your staff has gone out of the way to find ways to get things open within their guidelines and make businesses start to prosper once again,” said Gallagher.Key Milestones 09.29.2020
California COVID-19 Key Milestones Lassen County Public Health Response
January – February 2020 – “0 to 60”
Jan. 26 – First COVID positive case in CA
Jan. 30 – CDPH Announces that they “do NOT recommend routine quarantine of returning travelers from China. Furthermore, we are not recommending the cancellation of public events at this time.”
Feb. 6 – State/Associations schedule standing COVID-19 calls; Lassen County representatives participate in calls
March – April 2020 – “Flatten the Curve”
March 4 – Governor Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in CA as a result of COVID-19
March 19 – State Public Health Officer ordered all individuals living in the State of Ca to stay home and all businesses to shut down except for the 16 critical infrastructure sectors
March 20 – Launched LassenCares.org
March 24 – Lassen County Board of Supervisors ratified the Mar 20, 2020 Declaration of a Local Health Emergency and the Proclamation of Local Emergency
March 25 – CDPH states that the COVID 19 virus attack rate of 56 percent (based on modeling) will be lower if everyone follows social distancing and stay-at-home interventions
April 6 – Lassen County Health Officer sends letter to President Trump and Governor Newsom stating concerns about inmate transfers to Lassen correctional facilities
May – June 2020 – “Roadmap to Recovery”
May 1 – Lassen County Board of Supervisors approves the Lassen County Roadmap to Recovery; Submitted to State CDPH for approval
May 7 – Governor releases the Resilience Roadmap; 4 stages to Reopening; Counties submitting an Attestation were able to accelerate some sectors
May 8 – CDPH Stay at Home order Counties allowed to move to Stage 2 and an expanded State 2 for Counties with an approved Attestation
May 11 – Lassen County Roadmap to Recovery Attestation approved by State
May 22 – First COVID positive case in Lassen County
June 24 – Expressed concerns to State regarding their handling of COVID-19 mitigation among correctional facilities
June 28 – CDPH launches County Monitoring List (CML); Counties are placed on the CML based on COVID metrics, are subject to additional sector opening restrictions; Lassen County was never placed on the CML
July – Sep – “Dimmer Switch/Tier System”
July 13 – Governor’s Dimmer Switch, imposing restrictions additional statewide sector restrictions such as no in-door dining
Aug. 22 – Lassen County requests a waiver from the “no indoor dining restriction” due to the hazardous, very unhealthy air from the Sheep fire
Aug. 31 – Launch of the Governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Reopening: The Tier System; Lassen County landed in Tier 2 Red “Substantial Spread” requested adjudication
Sept. 21 – Lassen County moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 (Orange), a less restrictive Tier
Sept. 29 – Lassen County remains in Tier 3
Sept. 29 – State to impose new metric – health equity
- Practice good hand hygiene • Social distance of 6 feet or more
- Use face coverings
- Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently
- Travel safely
- Strengthened Partnerships – City and County Departments, Banner Lassen Medical Center, Susanville Indian Rancheria Health Clinic, Lassen Community College
- Dedicated Teams
- Transmission Containment – Nursing staff, contact tracing investigators
- Testing Experts – Top 3 statewide