Gary Pace, MD, MPH -- Lake County Public Health Officer
The situation with this outbreak continues to rapidly change. We recognize the significant hardships many people have experienced with the restrictions that have already been put into place—school closures, limiting group activities, closing of bars and tasting rooms, and cancelling events. Due to increased spread of the infection in the Bay Area, I am issuing orders that go into effect at 12:01 AM on Thursday March 19, 2020, telling everyone to stay at home with their families, except for essential activities.
Taking these steps means a big change in lifestyle for most people. Several Bay Area counties, including Sonoma and Mendocino, have adopted these “shelter in place” actions in recent days. The goal is to take whatever steps possible to slow the entrance and spread of the virus in the community.
At this point, no known cases have been identified in Lake County, and we have been able to test a few dozen people. Accessing testing continues to be a problem throughout California. We are pushing for more laboratory capacity in the region, and for more testing supplies. Due to shortages, there is a need to prioritize who can actually receive the test. Local medical providers have been trying hard to provide testing for people that meet the criteria. Unfortunately, there simply is not capacity for everyone who wants a test to get one.
The intent of this order is to limit the mixing of people, so the virus has less of an opportunity to spread. The countries in Europe and Asia that adopted more stringent limits on people’s movement and gatherings have been the ones best able to control the spread. Basically, all non-essential activity is being curtailed. Staying with your family group is the best way to avoid infection. Most businesses will be closed, unless they are considered “essential business or governmental services.” Travel will be limited to essential activities.
Essential activities include:
Tasks for health and safety (i.e., doctor visits)
Necessary food and supplies
Essential business operations (defined below)
Caring for family members and dependents.
Essential business operations include.
Food growing, delivery, preparation
Services for necessities of life
Fuel and transport maintenance
Education—providing support for distance learning
Childcare for essential workers
Delivery and shipping
Essential government functions will continue.
Homeless people are exempted, but the warming center is open at this point, and attempts are being made to locate more options.
If you go outside the home, maintain a 6 foot distance.
The order will continue through April 10, 2020. We will know a lot more by then about the spread through the area, but it is very possible these restrictions will need to continue longer. The economic impacts, the disruption of life, and the real suffering that may result from all of the changes are truly heart breaking. We do feel the possibility of a devastating outbreak to the community is real, and these steps are being taken to protect our most vulnerable community members. While all of us will be sharing in the discomfort, some will be hit harder than others. We encourage compliance with the orders, and we also need everyone to be looking out for neighbors that are isolated and don’t have family to check on them by phone or other means.
• Please do not call the Sheriff’s Department, Local law enforcement, or 911 for non-emergency information regarding Coronavirus.
• If you have questions or concerns regarding the virus please send an email to [email protected] or call the Public Health Office Monday through Thursday 8:00AM -5:00PM, Friday 8:00AM-12:00PM. If you call after hours please leave a message and someone will call you back the next business day.
• If you need information, you can also go the Health Department website: