COVID-19: Siskiyou County bumped to 'moderate' tier for reopening
Siskiyou County was bumped into the moderate, or orange, reopening tier, due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks.
The county is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases and last week had 13 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, with an 8% positivity rate. If conditions persist on this track, Siskiyou could be headed for the purple, or "widespread" tier, which would severely impact local businesses.
Director of Public Health Shelly Davis told the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors that as of this morning, there are 51 active cases of COVID-19 throughout the county.
In the orange tier, bars breweries and distilleries can open outdoors only with modifications, according to California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Restaurants can stay open at 50% max capacity, or 200 people, whichever is fewer; hotels and lodging can open with modifications; fitness centers can remain open at 25% capacity; and places of worship can open indoors with modifications at max 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Gyms and fitness centers can remain open at 25% capacity; movie theaters can stay open at 50% or 200 people; museums can open indoors with modifications at 50% capacity; and family entertainment centers can open indoors for naturally distanced activities at 25% max capacity.
Davis noted that “with modifications" means that the buisinesses are taking steps to be safe by provide or insistug that masks are worn or making sure hand sanitizer is available for everyone.
"We are noticing that more people are stating that they are sick and are going to work, and then get a positive test,” Davis told the supervisors. She went on to note that this can create “clusters,” with multiple people from multiple areas needing to quarantine and get tested.
“It is alarming. People are going to work sick. At this point, we want to remind everyone that this is very serious and should remember guidelines,” said Davis. “These numbers can lift us into the red tier, so we are pushing more testing.”
Public health recently received rapid testing materials, which are “quick to give you a positive or negative. ... We hope the number of tests increases so it can offset the number of positives,” Davis said.
In conjunction with the growing number of cases, Siskiyou County Public Health released a press release warning residents of "COVID Fatigue."
"COVID Fatigue" is a term used to described the mental fatigue and burnout associated with COVID-19 prevention practices," Public Health explained, reminding all Siskiyou County residents to continue to practice the guidelines set forth by the state at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We’re tired of having to stay home, tired of being careful, tired of being scared. Unfortunately, experiencing this fatigue is making some people careless about practicing preventative strategies, which is one reason COVID-19 is rising again in California and throughout the U.S.,” the release says.
The release also notes that those who feel fatigued should:
• Take care of your body - Try to eat healthy and well balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
• Connect with others - Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and build a strong support system.
• Take breaks - Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
• Stay informed - When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
• Avoid too much exposure to the news - Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
• Limit or avoid the things that trigger fearful or angry responses - Social media plays a role in this. Don't get caught up trading posts with people you disagree with. It will just make you more angry or scared.
• Seek help when needed - If distress impacts activities of you daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a clergy member, counselor, or doctor, or contact the SAMHSA help line at 1-800-958-5990.
Public Health also reminds everyone to continue to avoid close contact and practice social distancing, wear a mask that fits over the mouth and nose, clean and disinfect regularly and often touched surfaces, stay home when feeling sick, and wash hands or use sanitizer often.
For information on the county’s COVID-19 metrics, visit Siskiyou County Public Health website. Residents can call Siskiyou County Public Health at 530-841-2134, Siskiyou 2-1-1 for resource information or visit Siskiyou County Public Health on Facebook.
Kelsey Shelton is a reporter for the Siskiyou Daily and Mount Shasta Area News. She covers a wide variety of topics, including local city and county government and special events and features. She is a graduate of California State University Sacramento, and was born and raised in Siskiyou County.