July 1, 2020 – It was not long ago the Yuba-Sutter region saw new COVID-19 cases typically confined to a single home, traced to a particular social gathering or linked to a specific business. Now, local public health officials say they are seeing more instances of the virus moving between those categories, allowing infection to accelerate through the community.

Up to this point, confirmed cases fell into three separate categories: household contacts of confirmed cases; people attending social gatherings and not adhering to the tenets in place; and previous “essential” businesses that had not put into place strict COVID-19 protocols.

Now, those categories are converging: someone attends a gathering like a BBQ or birthday party and gets infected, and then that infectious person has no symptoms or ignores mild symptoms and goes into work, infecting coworkers, who in turn return to their homes and infect their household members. These actions, combined with people who continue to go to social gatherings while symptomatic and not practicing safety tenets, are leading to a spike in confirmed cases. The rise in cases has led to an increase in hospitalizations– one of the recent hospitalizations is a direct result of a COVID-19 outbreak at a local manufacturing plant. Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said the trend she is seeing may lead to more deaths.

In mid-April, Yuba-Sutter averaged one case every two days. In mid-May, the area started seeing an average of one case per day. By early June, Yuba-Sutter was averaging five cases per day. Since June 22 (last week), positive cases average 15 per day. In recent weeks, residents have gathered with family and friends to celebrate Mother’s Day, Memorial Day weekend, and Father’s Day.

            “We know that living life amidst COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to keep ourselves, our families, and our co-workers safe for the long haul, we must do our parts to minimize the transmission of the virus,” Dr. Luu said. “We have a significant holiday, July 4th, coming up very soon. It is vitally important that people avoid social gatherings so that cases and hospitalizations do not increase many-fold more.”

            Health precautions are in place to minimize the transmission of and exposure to COVID-19, which is transmitted by droplets expelled from the mouth and nose while talking, laughing, singing, yelling, coughing, and sneezing. Those precautions include social distancing of six feet or more from non-household members; wearing a facial covering when that social distancing isn’t possible; staying home when sick with ANY symptoms; washing your hands often and thoroughly; and not touching your face or eyes.