An important message from Lake County’s Public Health Officer, Gary Pace, MD, MPH.
Lake County, CA (March 30, 2020) — As announced last week by the Lake County Office of Education, Lake County Schools are now expected to remain closed through May 1. The School Operations Modification Order (Order of the Health Officer C20-1) has been amended to reflect this new timeframe.
The County of Lake’s Health Services Department has been in regular communication with Brock Falkenberg, Superintendent of Schools, and other key community educational partners. A now-seven-week anticipated closure of schools (March 16-May 1) is not something any of us are happy about, but it appropriately reflects the developing threat we are facing as a result of COVID-19.
As of March 27, 2020 (at 2pm PDT), the California Department of Public Heath had confirmed 3,801 positive cases in California and 78 deaths. The original School Operations Modification Order referenced data from March 15, and there were 338 confirmed positive cases, and 6 deaths, at that time. We have experienced a greater than ten-fold increase in both total cases and deaths in under two weeks, and that is despite significant downshifts in social interaction as a result of widespread school closures and, now, a Statewide directive to Shelter-In-Place.
While there are still no confirmed positive cases in Lake County, and people may understandably be frustrated by the disruption that restrictive Orders have brought to all of our lives, I ask that you remain vigilant.
Cooperation with existing Orders has bought our communities valuable time, and allowed critical planning efforts to take place. Because COVID-19 is a global crisis, there continue to be supply chain concerns, and delaying and preventing spread of the virus in our communities is the best means we have available to limit risk to those in Lake County most likely to experience severe complications, or even loss of life, if they become infected.
Unless you are serving as an Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker, please continue to keep your children in your own household, and take every available precaution. I have seen written online it is, “Better to have cabin fever than COVID-19.” The truth is, if relatively healthy, young individuals don’t practice social distancing and follow Public Health Orders, it may be older or less healthy people connected to them that suffer the most.
For additional Lake County-focused information on COVID-19, visit: http://health.co.lake.ca.us
If you still have questions, send an email request: MHOAC@lakecountyca.gov.
You can also call during business hours: 707-263-8174
Thank you for your cooperation, your patience, and for doing what you can to support those in your lives, even though we must be physically separate right now.
Gary Pace MD, MPH
No. c20-1 (A1) Amended (A1)