County eyeing South Lake Tahoe region after spike in COVID-19 cases
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams is closely monitoring the South Lake Tahoe region after COVID-19 cases have continued to increase at a high rate.
With the influx of visitors over Independence Day weekend, the region is being watched in relation to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s criteria for placing counties on a watch list which mandates they resume more restrictive measures for businesses and the public in those areas.
“Case counts in South Lake Tahoe have been disproportionately high since we started to track COVID-19 in March, having accounted for about 50% of the county’s cases to date, but representing only 17% of the county’s population,” Williams said in a press release Wednesday morning.
“What is new is that on June 29, the case rates over the prior 14-day period exceeded a 100 positive case count per 100,000 population for the first time,” she added. “By Sunday, July 5, there had been so many new cases in the South Lake Tahoe region that the rate had risen to 169 per 100,000, far exceeding one of the governor’s criteria for requiring the roll back of some of the allowances we’ve worked hard to attain.”
Newsom announced last month that three categories of criteria are now being applied to determining whether or when a county be required to reinstate closures and restrictions. The criteria includes recent case rates and percentages of tests performed that are positive, hospitalizations and ICU bed and ventilator availability.
El Dorado County as a whole has remained under that criteria.
“However, if we were to treat the South Lake Tahoe region (which includes incorporated and unincorporated South Lake Tahoe, Tahoma, Meyers, and several tiny nearby communities) as if it were a county, it would now be added to the state’s monitoring list and asked to curtail certain activities,” Williams said.
To stay below the threshold, the region can only get about two cases per day on average. However, on Monday, there were 18 new cases reported for the region for the weekend and two more Tuesday.
The city of South Lake Tahoe has been actively telling people to wear masks and socially distance and, although this was not the busiest Fourth of July the city has seen, many people did not follow guidelines.
“During the course of this, we have asked people to follow city, county and state guidelines, we’ve started a rigorous marketing campaign, our city council went as far as asking people not to come here which is an unprecedented move,” said Chris Fiore, communications manager for the city. “This spike is unfortunate but we do everything in our power to keep our residents safe.”
“Unfortunately, countywide numbers are trending upward quickly, too, and we may find ourselves being directed by the state to roll back activities throughout the county,” Williams said.
County supervisors are conducting a special meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 9, to receive a COVID-19 update and provide directions to staff regarding enforcement against businesses and individuals who fail to comply with state and local health requirements.
To comment, call into 530-621-7603 or 530-621-7610. The meeting ID is 924 0205 6772.
To watch the live stream of the meeting go to https://zoom.us/j/92402056772.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.