Lake Tahoe agencies preparing for coronavirus; risk for residents remains low |

Lake Tahoe agencies preparing for coronavirus; risk for residents remains low

Test tube with blood sample for coronavirus test.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — While coronavirus (COVID-19) is moving closer to Lake Tahoe, and will likely appear at some point in the near future, there still isn’t much reason to panic.

A case was confirmed in neighboring Placer County and one South Tahoe High School teacher quarantined herself after returning from a trip to Italy.

But while it’s knocking on our door, it hasn’t yet come in.

Barton Health Public Relations Specialist Jenna Palacio said there are still not confirmed cases at Barton.

A statement from Barton said that the risk to general public is low, “however, the arrival of COVID-19 in the community is likely and preparation is essential to limit its spread.”

Patients with elective appointments are being contacted to screen for sign of respiratory illness and isolation protocols go into effect immediately if a patient presents symptoms.

The Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness is also taking precautionary measures.

“If you have traveled to any of the CDC-identified affected areas, please refrain from joining us at the Center until the 14 day observation period has passed,” Chris Proctor, PT, said in a statement. “If we observe anyone at the center experiencing respiratory symptoms, we will ask that member to return home until their symptoms subside.”

Proctor also said they are removing yoga mats, exercise bands and other frequently used items from daily operations and have canceled group and performance classes.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District is taking extra steps since the area brings in tourists from all over the world.

“Due to the fact that South Lake Tahoe is an international tourism hub, LTUSD is taking greater precautionary measures than may be recommended by the CDC by requiring all students and staff who have recently returned home from the following countries to self-quarantine and self-assess for 14 days (including weekends) beginning the day of their return,” read a post on the LTUSD website. “Parents should contact their school sites to arrange independent study during that time.”

El Dorado County is also actively monitoring the situation.

“It’s important to keep in mind that while the situation is evolving, the risk throughout the U.S. is currently low,” said El Dorado County Health Officer, Nancy Williams in a press release on Feb. 28.

The California Department of Public Health states on their website, “While COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate. From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80% do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization.”

Some businesses in South Lake Tahoe are also taking preventative measures, including Cowork Tahoe. They referenced a guide for businesses on the CDC’s website that reminds businesses to encourage their employees to stay home if they are sick.

The CDC also says face masks may help prevent the spread of the disease if someone is confirmed to have COVID-19 or is showing symptoms. However, they don’t help to prevent someone from getting the disease.

The surgeon general, Jerome Adams warned people to stop unnecessarily buying masks.

“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” the tweet said.

So, while there is a lot of news, some of it scary, the main consensus from health professionals in South Lake Tahoe is to wash your hands, stay clean and stay home if you have any symptoms.

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