Thursday, March 12, 2020

14-day COVID-19 quarantine no longer necessary in Sacramento County, officials say

14-day COVID-19 quarantine no longer necessary in Sacramento County, officials say

Stopping Coronavirus: 3 NorCal counties shift from containment to mitigation

People worried they may have been exposed to the coronavirus no longer need to endure a 14-day quarantine in Sacramento County, according to health officials.
The Sacramento County Department of Public Health announced Monday it has moved past trying to contain the virus and is now hoping to mitigate its impact as new cases are reported. Placer and Yolo counties also announced they are shifting strategies in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 
The most at-risk populations are the elderly and people with underlying health issues, including lung, heart and weakened immune systems.
The effort is now focused on protecting the at-risk population while encouraging healthy residents to follow simple protocols to self-quarantine as you would with any other flu or common cold, according to Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of the Department of Health Services for Sacramento County.
As of Monday evening, 11 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Sacramento County, with the most recent case diagnosed in an Elk Grove elementary school student.
One patient had already recovered, according to health officials.
More cases are expected to be reported as testing becomes widely available at commercial labs.
Beilenson said the county currently has the ability to test only 20 patients per day for the coronavirus. Those tests have been focused on the elderly who are critically ill and health care workers who may have been exposed while on the job. 
As commercial labs come online, health officials believe up to a thousand people can be tested daily.
Beilensen told the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday afternoon that the best strategy is to focus on protecting the vulnerable and no long requiring quarantine. 
Placer and Yolo counties have also followed Sacramento County in focusing on mitigation instead of containment
Health officials said in a statement Tuesday that the county departments initially focused on identifying people with COVID-19, separating them from the public and then tracking down those who may have been exposed to coronavirus patients.
While this method helped slow the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S., officials are now changing tactics. 
"With community spread, public health departments must now shift their efforts to community mitigation measures that will slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community, protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness, and allow the health care system to prepare resources to take care of severely ill patients," health officials in Yolo and Placer counties said in a statement.
Health officials said this move was prompted by the increase in coronavirus cases in the counties. Within one week, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew from 1 to 8.

Additional guidelines provided by Sacramento County health officials: 

If someone is ill and develops respiratory symptoms, they should stay home until they are symptom-free to protect others.
If someone is sick with cold-like symptoms that can be managed at home with over-the-counter drugs, they should do so regardless of if it's a cold, the flu or COVID-19.
If breathing and energy levels start to get worse, contact a doctor or urgent care and warn them of your symptoms so they can take precautions ahead of your arrival.
Only call 911 or go to the emergency room if symptoms are life-threatening, as hospitals can get overwhelmed.
Vulnerable populations, especially people over 80 and those with other underlying health issues, are at the highest risk.
Businesses should consider telecommuting and discourage large gatherings of employees. 
Masks should only be worn by people who are ill to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Healthy people do not need to wear a mask.
The Health Department points out that this is a dynamic situation and these are the latest protocols to mitigate the impact of the disease. 

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