Placer County Public Health Reports Second COVID-19 Death

Placer County Public Health is reporting that a second resident has died of COVID-19. The person, an elderly adult with several underlying health conditions, was a resident of south Placer County.

Public Health officials believe the person contracted COVID-19 through community spread. The patient was admitted to a local hospital with COVID-19 symptoms and tested March 17. Lab results confirmed COVID-19 on March 22 and the patient succumbed to illness yesterday.

As of today, there are 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Placer County. The first COVID-19 death in Placer County was reported March 4.

“This tragic loss is a sad reminder that COVID-19 is widespread in our communities and of the continuing importance of social distancing measures,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “It remains everyone’s responsibility to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to help prevent as many more infections and deaths as we possibly can.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order and Placer County’s health officer directive remain in effect, requiring all Placer County residents to stay at home except for essential activities, which include:

  • Activities to maintain the health and safety of family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medication;

  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies (or delivering those services or supplies to others), such as getting groceries;

  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided 6 feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household;

  • Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business as defined in the order;

  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.

Public Health also reminds residents and visitors that both the executive order and directive prohibit non-essential travel, including for vacation or outdoor recreation.

For general questions about COVID-19 and Placer’s health officer directive, residents are encouraged to visit the county’s COVID-19 website, https://www.placer.ca.gov/coronavirus, or call the county’s coronavirus information line at 530-886-5310.

Placer County provides clarity for short-term rental operations

Placer County Health Officer provides clarity for short-term rental operations 

As the State of California and Placer County work to slow the spread of COVID-19, the county’s health officer is providing clarification about the operation of short-term rentals in North Lake Tahoe and elsewhere in the county. Based on the Governor’s Executive Order, Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson urges short-term rentals to cease all commercial operations.

“Short-term rentals that are used for commercial purposes are not considered part of critical infrastructure under the governor’s order,” said Dr. Sisson. “Short-term rentals may only continue to operate for extremely limited purposes as outlined.”

Short-term rental units may only operate:

  • To provide COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures (for example, isolation and quarantine or the housing of displaced persons or the homeless);
  • To provide housing for essential critical infrastructure workers; and
  • For use by the property owner and his/her immediate family members.

Placer County is urging short-term rental owners to comply with the executive order to help our community stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The county is reaching out to registered short-term rental operators to ensure awareness of current COVID-19 guidance. Short-term rentals that aren’t in compliance with the guidance may be reported to Placer County’s short-term rental hotline at 530-448-8003. Reports may also be shared online at http://www.hostcompliance.com/tips.

Amid growing community concerns regarding a significant increase of visitors to state parks, California State Parks previously announced the temporary closure of all campgrounds in the state park system along with other steps to reduce crowds. As defined in the Health Officer Directive issued March 19, 2020, essential travel does not include vacation travel. Residents should shelter at their place of residence and not travel to other communities to shelter there.

The state Order and county Directive both allow for travel to meet essential needs. Residents do not need to remain confined in their homes and can engage in outdoor activity, provided six feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household.

“We’ve made it clear that folks are not bound to their homes and can go outside for a walk or basic exercise as long as six feet of social distancing can be maintained,” said Sisson. “We ask residents to use common sense and stay close to home to get their exercise, as the state has said as well. Traveling between different communities contributes to the spread of disease and the burden on small hospital systems.”

Local tourism officials are also discouraging visitors from flocking to the most popular destination sites in North Lake Tahoe.

According to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, while social distancing practices are evident in the community, an influx of visitors to the region will severely impact the “small but mighty” health care system, front-line service workers and the overall inventory of necessary supplies. For the safety of full-time residents and second homeowners, the North Lake Tahoe destination is asking people to refrain from visiting until it is deemed safe and viable.

Placer County Issues Directive to Stay Home

Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson has issued a directive for residents to remain at home except to engage in “essential activities,” effective 12:01 a.m., March 20, 2020, in response to local and regional spread of COVID-19.

“It is critical that every member of our community heed this directive if we hope to slow the spread of this disease and prevent severe loss of life,” said Sisson. “This is an extraordinary measure but we are in an extraordinary time, and we must act quickly to meet this moment.”

Thus far, there have been 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Placer County including one death as of 2 p.m. on March 19. In addition, at least 11 cases in Sacramento County are directly linked to cases in Placer County. With evidence of community spread occurring in the region, it is expected that case numbers will increase further, especially as testing capacity grows.

Under the directive, Placer County residents are directed to only leave their residence to perform essential activities, some of which include:

  • Activities to maintain the health and safety of family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medication.
  • Obtaining necessary services or supplies (or delivering those services or supplies to others), such as getting groceries.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, provided six feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household.
  • Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business as defined in the directive, or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in the directive.
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household.

For a complete list of activities and businesses considered “essential,” please see the full directive.

The directive follows evolving local, state and federal guidance over the past weeks. Other counties in the region have issued similar directives or orders. The Placer County Health Officer will continue to evaluate the situation and could take additional action in the future if warranted.

“As we continually learn more about COVID-19, how easily it is transmitted and how dangerous it can be for some portions of our populations at higher risk, it’s become clear how crucial it is for us to limit interpersonal interactions now,” Sisson said. “If you are at lower risk, please consider helping your at-risk friends and loved ones keep stocked on essentials so they can stay home as much as possible.”

Individuals with mild illness should manage their symptoms at home with over-the-counter drugs whenever possible, regardless of whether they have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19. Contact your health care provider if you have more concerning symptoms and wish to inquire about testing. For more general inquiries around COVID-19 and Placer County’s new directive, view current information at www.placer.ca.gov/coronavirus. A public hotline is also available at 530-886-5310.

“I understand how disruptive this directive is,” said Sisson. “I have not taken this decision lightly. COVID-19 poses a significant threat to the Placer community and I implore every resident of our county to take the threat seriously and follow this directive. Our lives depend on it.”

Read the full directive here.

 

Placer County Offices Will Limit Counter Services

To help stop the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, Placer County will provide limited public counter service effective March 17 until at least March 29. Essential services such as law enforcement, fire and emergency services, garbage, recycling, water and wastewater will continue.

Though some county buildings will close to the public, many services will still be available online or by phone.

A full list of closures and which county services will still be available is being developed and will be published on Placer’s website, as well as a directory to access county services residents may need.

“We are proud to serve thousands of our residents every day at offices throughout the county. But with COVID-19, that accessibility presents a real risk to our community and our employees that we just can’t take,” said Placer County Executive Officer Todd Leopold. “We will do everything possible to limit any service disruptions this may cause and we appreciate our residents’ understanding and support as we work through this difficult time together.”

County staff are evaluating how to conduct public meetings safely while allowing for community input and information about any meeting scheduling or format changes will be published as it becomes available.

Placer County declared a local health emergency and a local emergency March 3 to ensure public health professionals have all necessary tools at their disposal to keep the community safe from COVID-19. Placer’s ongoing COVID-19 response will continue uninterrupted by the office closure.

“As the latest social distancing guidance from the federal and state governments affirm, the best thing all of us can do to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home,” said Placer Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “Limiting public counter access is in line with this approach and sets the right example for other organizations to help protect their employees and customers.”

4th Annual Placer Empowering People

There was joy and laughter as dozens of low-income and homeless residents attended the fourth annual Placer Empowering People event earlier this month.

Some came out for pet-related services, others for clothes, haircuts and medical services. From simple breakfast foods to more in-depth resources around rehabilitation, there was a wide array of resources from the county and local nonprofit organizations on display.

One woman, Liz, brought her two small dogs – Ricco and Elvis – along for the day.

“These two needed their shots and their nails done, and Elvis needed a microchip,” she explained. “It’s a great program for people who can’t afford this type of thing; a beautiful program.”

Another attendee, Robert, who has a history of homelessness, said he is on the path to a better life, and the event was a boost.

“This is my first time out here,” he said. “So far I have a toothbrush kit, and I have some raffle tickets…but my favorite part is (that) it’s just a little day trip out of my everyday normal situation.”

Programs ranging from Whole Person Care to Acres of Hope were present to build connections with homeless individuals – and build hope.