El Dorado County residents advised to wear masks indoors with virus surging
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The coronavirus is again surging leading to more people wearing masks.
South Lake Tahoe stores over the weekend had a much higher percentage of customers wearing masks than over the past several weeks, but even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises wearing masks indoors, don’t expect mask wearing mandates to return to El Dorado County unless the state issues an order.
“We are continuing our approach to follow the state’s lead regarding mask mandates,” said County Spokesperson Carla Hass about rising cases.
Officials at Barton Health are aware of the case surge, but say the hospital has not yet been negatively impacted with COVID patients.
“Our region is experiencing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases,” said Barton Public Information Officer Mindi Befu. “Presently, the majority of positive cases are among people able to recover at home, and hospitalization admissions are currently stable.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists El Dorado County as “High” for the amount of COVID transmission and is advising residents to wear masks indoors due to the rising amount of cases.
“Wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation,” said the CDC recommendation. “Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider taking additional precautions.”
The CDC said looks at the combination of three metrics to determine the COVID-19 community level — new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past seven days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.
New COVID-19 admissions and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied represent the current potential for strain on the health system. Data on new cases acts as an early warning indicator of potential increases in health system strain in the event of a COVID-19 surge.
Using these data, the COVID-19 community level is classified as low, medium, or high.
As of May 24, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are 27.4 cases per 100,000 residents. A recent spike in cases in January had a much higher rate of 174.7 cases per 100,000. In early April, the case average was much lower at 3.3 per 100,000.
There are 193,098 residents in El Dorado County, 118,032 are fully vaccinated (61%) and 128,999 (66%) have had at least one dose, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The Tahoe region of the county has had the most overall cases with 6,758 of the total of 39,930. El Dorado Hills is next with 6,519 cases, with Shingle Springs, Cameron Park and Rescue next with 4,981 cases and the greater Placerville area with 4,949.
Virus-influenced deaths in the county are at 217 with 75 in the Placerville area, 43 in Shingle Springs, Cameron Park and Rescue, 34 in El Dorado Hills and 22 in Tahoe.
Officials say following public health guidelines will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the community and help leave the pandemic behind.
“As we move toward the endemic phase, we understand COVID-19 is here to stay,” Befu said. “Barton has integrated COVID-19 processes into the current service lines and entry points throughout the health system to best meet the varying needs of patients with COVID-19.”
Barton Health is not a public testing site and said for those needing COVID-19 testing (including work releases) and do not need to be evaluated by a physician for an urgent or emergent condition, COVID testing may be found at these locations:
El Dorado County Public Health via LHI: visit LHI.care/CovidTesting to make an appointment for a free rapid antigen test (PCR tests available on request) with or without COVID-19 symptoms. (Spanish speaking residents or those without internet access can call 888-634-1123 to make an appointment).
The testing site is located at the El Dorado Center (3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Suite 100, South Lake Tahoe) adjacent to the DMV. If already registered in the LHI system, walk-ins are accepted.
Test Well, located at 3678 Lake Tahoe Blvd., is a CLIA-certified lab offering same-day PCR test results or next-day testing for eligible individuals: visit testwell.clinic to make an appointment.
Quick Care Urgent Care is an urgent care facility located 2074 Lake Tahoe Blvd., and they offer testing as well as accept walk-ins.
Other testing sites, including pharmacies, are available.
California residents can visit covid19.ca.gov to find other California testing locations.
Nevada residents can visit nvhealthresponse.nv.gov to find Nevada testing locations.
Rapid/at-home antigen tests are available for free from the U.S. Government. Visit usps.com/covidtests to order free test kits delivered to your home.
Tests are also available for purchase at local pharmacies and online.
Barton said vaccination is still the best defense against severe illness from COVID-19. Individuals 5-years-old and over are recommended to receive a vaccination, including a booster if they completed their primary vaccination series at least five months ago (Pfizer/Moderna) or two months ago (Johnson & Johnson).
COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available locally at area pharmacies, El Dorado County hosts vaccine clinics on Thursdays and Fridays and appointments can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov.
Quad Counties — Carson City, Douglas, Storey, Lyon counties in Nevada — offers community vaccination events throughout the region: GetHealthyCarsonCity.org or call 800-401-0946.
Additional opportunities or clinics can be searched online at Vaccines.gov or by calling 800-232-0233.
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