MARYSVILLE, CA October 6, 2020 – Evolving state processes and guidelines for addressing the COVID-19 threat prompted Yuba-Sutter Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu to set aside a previous local health order and replace it with one that aligns with the state. Dr. Luu said the change is necessary to ensure residents have a clear understanding of what they need to do to progress further into less-restrictive tiers.

“My previous May 4 Health Order was written to reflect guidelines and terminology used at that time by state public health officials, but they have greatly revamped their approach since then,” Dr. Luu said. “I want our residents to see a very clear path to reopening, so my new order aligns us with state requirements.”

Although the main Health Order is now revoked by Dr. Luu’s newest order, a Health Emergency ratified by the Board of Supervisors on March 10 – issued as COVID-19 was beginning to spread through California – remains in place. That emergency declaration is necessary to gain access to important state and federal resources to support local response to the virus.

A separate May 4 Health Order requiring residents to wear facial coverings when in public is still in effect.

Both Yuba and Sutter counties will qualify to enter the state’s Red Tier – Yuba County this week and Sutter County the following week. Dr. Luu and other county officials caution that the easing of restrictions makes daily precautions to guard against COVID-19 more important than ever.

“These past several weeks we have seen most of our residents step up and take extra precautions to protect themselves and others against the virus, and those precautions become even more important as we move through the various colored tiers,” Dr. Luu said. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that we are still seeing new COVID-19 cases every day and people are still being admitted to our local hospital.”

The new Yuba-Sutter Health Order still focuses on the basic tenets needed to protect residents from COVID-19 but points to California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” as the guide for how businesses and organizations can reopen.

“As we move through the reopening stages over the coming weeks, we have a team dedicated to helping businesses, churches, and other non-profit organizations navigate the various state tier colors,” said Yuba County CAO Kevin Mallen. “The YES Team in Yuba County, like its counterpart the SCORE Team in Sutter County, can connect all of these with the resources they need until that time when we can fully reopen.”

Dr. Luu said the pace at which the two counties move from tier to tier depends largely on how well residents continue to practice the tenets of hand hygiene, social distancing, staying home when sick and wearing a facial covering.

“It’s still a highly-contagious disease, and cases can go up just as quickly as they came down if we do not take this seriously,” Dr. Luu said.

Oct. 6, 2020 Red Tier/Health Order FAQs

What is open?

Indoor dining at restaurants is now reopened, but at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Places of worship can open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Tattoo parlors, body waxing, and other personal care services can also reopen indoors with modifications.

Museums, zoos, and aquariums can reopen at 25% capacity. Shopping centers can reopen at 50% capacity.

Movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer), but please note that Yuba County has no movie theaters. There is a theater in Sutter County, but the State has not yet permitted Sutter County to move into the red tier; they will likely join the red tier on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Can schools reopen? How will that look?

Previously, in the purple tier, elementary schools could reopen with approval from Dr. Luu and CDPH.

Now, in the red tier, all-grades schools can also reopen at full capacity if we hold at the red-tier metrics for two consistent weeks. The decision to reopen fully will come from each school district (those metrics include staying between 4-7 new cases each day per 100,000 people, and test positivity between 5-8%).

Each school district will need to follow State guidance on social distancing measures, cleaning and disinfecting, testing and contact tracing, facial coverings and more.

When we will get to the next tier?

The tier below red is orange. To qualify, we must stay between 4 and 7 new cases per day (per 100,000 people) over a 7-day period, and have a test positivity between 2% and 4.9%. We also need to stay in the red tier for at least 3 weeks before moving to the orange tier.

All we have to do to get there is continue what we’ve been doing:

  • Wearing facial coverings in public and around people you don’t live with;
  • Social distancing from people you don’t live with;
  • Avoid social gatherings, as this is how at least HALF of local infection originate.
  • If you do decide to take part in a social gathering, be safe: make a pact to only hang out with two other households, social distance, wear a facial covering when in close contact, don’t share food or utensils, and stay home when sick with any symptoms.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms, even if they’re mild; if you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case; or if you have attended a social gathering where the tenets were not being practiced.

Do we still have to wear facial coverings in public?

YES. This is one of the key tenets that will not only slow and break the chain of transmission, but will allow more businesses to open up. The May 4 facial covering order remains in effect until further notice.

Dr. Luu issued a new Public Health Order that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6. What does this mean?

This Public Health Order simply terminates the previous May 4, 2020 Order to align our communities with the State Public Health Order—since the State has since changed its metrics and reopening phases.

This means that our communities will continue to follow the State order—since law outlines that Counties can be more restrictive than the State, but not less.

The local health emergency remains in effect in Yuba-Sutter, as does the public facial covering order.