Officials from Colusa County and the cities of Colusa and Williams are working together to provide a coordinated and consistent plan to lessen the risks associated with the novel coronavirus.
Colusa County has one confirmed case of COVID-19, a 50-year-old Colusa woman, who is recovering from the illness at home. Health officials anticipate the virus to peak in mid-April and are encourages people to avoid close contact with others to minimize the spread of the disease.
The Board of Supervisors has joined the State of California and the US government is asking people to stay at home, except for essential activities, and to keep a six-foot distance from other people.
As of Monday, the US now has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide with about 160,000 infected, although Italy has the highest death toll.
“Those numbers are expected to accelerate,” said Colusa County Public Health Officer Dr. Gregory Burt, in a teleconference call with the Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week.
While all five members of the board were present, with just a scattering of county personnel, Burt and other officials called in on the telephone.
“It’s a different meeting that we had in the past,” said Chairwoman Denise Carter. “We have social distancing here and we are using a speaker phone.”
Since then, Gov. Gavin Newsom has loosened Brown Act restrictions, allowing for elected officials to communicate at meetings via teleconferences, and for the public to listened without actually attending the meeting.
While most of the casualties of COVID-19 are elderly and people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, all humans lack natural immunity to the virus, health officials said.
“New evidence is showing that younger (people) are vulnerable to not only the disease itself but the severe consequences, including death,” Dr. Burt said.
Meanwhile, coronavirus has altered life as most know it.
All non-essential businesses have been ordered closed and all non-profit organizations have been banned from holding public activities.
On Sunday, President Donald J. Trump extended the social distancing guidelines to April 30.
“The mitigation measures we are putting in place may significantly reduce the number of new infections, and ultimately the fatalities,” President Trump said, in a White House press conference. “I want the American people to know that your selfless, inspiring, and valiant effort is saving countless lives. You are making the difference.”
Health officials anticipate the virus to peak in mid-April, but believe the virus could be active for three months, Dr. Burt said.
Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Kelly said the county received a shipment last week of N95 masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, and other protective equipment that was distributed to the health clinics and rural fire departments.
According to the California Department of Health, California had 4,643 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, of which 923 were considered to be community-acquired. Of those, there were 54 cases reported in ages 17 and under; 2,368 ages 18-49; 1,184 ages 50-64; and 1,016 ages 65 and older.
Health officials encourage people to not leave their homes except for essential activities and exercise to slow the spread of the virus. People should wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds frequently, cover mouth with sleeve to cough or sneeze, and sanitize frequently touched objects and surfaces.
People should also avoid shaking hands and touching their face. You should also avoid going to the doctor if you are not sick. ■