BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County Public Health's Doctor Andy Miller addressed questions he has been seeing about reopening the county and getting people back to work.
Miller said the county is allowed to make more restrictive orders in addition to Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order. In the opposite effect, the county is unable to loosen up those orders put in place by the state.
Governor Newsom recently said one thing needed before opening the state is increased testing and Doctor Miller said this is being done in Butte County.
One challenge Doctor Miller mentioned is ensuring the proper amount of personal protective equipment for our local health care system.
"So far we have been able to keep just ahead of that curve, [though] it continues to be a challenge," said Miller. "We will continue to fight that challenge and put in requests from our local health care partners, up through the state, when they are not able to obtain those through their normal suppliers."
Doctor Miller said in the future, it may be more important to wear face coverings. Miller said when retail stores do open again and the employees wear masks, it is important for customers to do so as well to help in protecting everyone.
"If we can keep the virus from spreading, it is less likely that we will have to slow down, stop or roll back any opening up that we've been able to do," said Doctor Miller.
Another limit that will still be in place for some time, according to Miller, is that of mass gatherings. He said it is very important the community knows this is not the time to engage in those gatherings.
Doctor Miller explained it is known mass gatherings give the virus an opportunity to spread quickly.
"It would be a shame if we had to delay opening up businesses because people were getting together, the virus was spreading and we were forced to slow down the opening-up process," he explained.
Miller said these are things we all may be asked to do in the coming weeks to help in the reopening of the state. He encourages the community to listen to the cautionary messages and Governor Newsom's orders as everyone works toward normalization.
The county is working with business leaders and the cities themselves about how to open back up, according to Miller.
"[The public health department, the county, the cities and health care providers] are all very anxious to be able to return towards normal, we just need to do that safely," said Miller.