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Butte County Public Health gives county-wide coronavirus update

Doctor Andy Miller said a shelter in place order is not being put in place at this time but it is something he is closely watching.

Posted: Mar 19, 2020 12:24 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2020 12:53 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County Public Health held their press conference on Thursday, March 19 with an update on the current state of county schools and coronavirus testing.

Doctor Andy Miller said a shelter-in-place order will not occur at this time but it is something he is closely watching.

As of Thursday morning, the county has sent 62 specimens to labs with 26 coming back negative and 36 still processing. Miller noted there are also additional tests being sent to commercial labs but the county does not have a number of how many of those have been sent out.

He also said while there are no cases of lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus, this does not ensure there are no cases in the county.

Butte County received $250,000 from the North Valley Community Foundation to purchase testing equipment and they believe it will take one month to receive it all.

"People who are sick with mild symptoms should remain home without testing and avoid close contact with others," said Miller.

As advised by government and health leaders around the world, Miller reminded people to practice social distancing and continue to limit face-to-face gatherings by postponing or canceling the events.

He also reminded gyms and bars to close and for restaurants to be only drive-through, pick-up or delivery.

Also at the press conference was Sheriff Honea who said no law is going to prevent the spread of this virus and volunteer compliance with the recommendations set by health officials is critical.

"Unlike other emergencies that we have encountered in this community - and you're all well aware of them - we didn't have time to prepare, we didn't have time to mitigate. Those emergencies were visited upon us almost instantaneously," said Sheriff Honea. "This is different. We have time now."

Shari McCracken, Chief Administrative Officer of Butte County, said county employees are to work remotely as possible and do as much as they can not in-person.

With that, she said the Board of Supervisors meetings will be closed to the public but people can watch online and provide comments via email.

As far as county schools, Superintendent Mary Sakuma said the decision has been made to close schools through Friday, April 17 with food still available for pick-up.

RELATED: Butte County Office of Education offers free meals for kids during the school closures

When April 17 comes, Sakuma said they will revise and decide if schools will have to be closed for longer.

With upcoming meetings, Sakuma said childcare, special needs education, and mental health services are all in the discussion. Resources for Camp Fire families will be online.

For continuing coronavirus coverage, CLICK HERE

The full Butte County Public Health press meeting can be viewed in the video player below.

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We began the first full week of August on a slightly cooler note with a lot of high clouds, haze and smoke for most parts of northern California. The high clouds will remain through much of Tuesday, with other changes coming soon.
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