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(NAPA, CALIF.) Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Public Health Officer, today declared a local health emergency for Napa County in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Napa County has zero confirmed cases at this time. A local health emergency declaration is a legal document that will mobilize County resources, accelerate emergency planning and response, and allow for future reimbursement by the state and federal governments. The declaration is effective immediately for seven days, and it will be ratified on by the Board of Supervisors March 17, 2020. As of Thursday, a total of 33 counties, cities and tribes have declared public health emergencies, including the counties of Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara, San Diego, Sonoma and others.
Late Wednesday night, Gov. Newsom announced that California public health officials had issued an updated directive on mass gatherings. The governor stated that the state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. This does not apply to workplaces, or essential education settings.
Further, non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness (e.g. older adults and those with underlying illness) from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.
In response to Gov. Newsom’s declaration, Dr. Relucio has called for the cancellation of non-essential gatherings and events in Napa County that mirror the state’s orders in this regard.
“Napa County Public Health is committed to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our community. As we shift from a strategy of containment of COVID-19 to one of community mitigation, these measures are necessary to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, Napa County’s local health emergency declaration will help to support and sustain our response,” said Dr. Relucio.
This guidance applies to all non-essential professional, social and community gatherings regardless of their sponsor, according to the governor’s declaration. Essential gatherings should only be conducted if the essential activity could not be postponed or achieved without gathering, meaning that some other means of communication could not be used to conduct the essential function.
At this time Napa County Public Health is not recommending school closures. However, it is recommended that schools and community organizations take steps to prevent the spread of illness, including cancellation of non-essential travel, assemblies, fairs, and of intramural and interscholastic sports.
Effective today, the Napa County Public Health Division is restricting visitors to all long-term care and skilled nursing facilities in the county. This is necessary to protect older and medically fragile adults residing in these facilities, who are particularly vulnerable to severe disease and death from COVID-19.
Tips to Protect Yourself and Others
Community members can help protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by:
1. Washing hands with soap and water, and rubbing for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with 60% or greater alcohol content;
2. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing; and
3. Staying home if you are sick.
For the latest updates, go to the Napa County website: https://www.countyofnapa.org/Coronavirus