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Public Health officials hold news conference in Butte County

Butte County Public Health held a news conference Thursday morning, about the coronavirus school waiver process and the impact of a glitch on testing reports at the state level.

Posted: Aug 6, 2020 6:16 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2020 10:21 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County Public Health held a news conference Thursday morning, about the coronavirus school waiver process and the impact of a glitch on testing reports at the state level. 

The meeting was held at the Butte County Public Health Department on Mira Loma Drive in Oroville.  Public health officials say a problem with the state reporting system is causing some inaccurate daily numbers.

Butte County Public Health communications officer, Lisa Almaguer says, at the state level there is currently a glitch in the system with the lab reporting system in the state which means Butte County is not receiving all of the lab-confirmed COVID-19 test results. 

Almaguer says when they don’t receive information about new cases they are unable to perform contact investigation and contact tracing.

"When we perform investigation and tracing this is when we can identify and isolate someone and make sure we can reach out to their close contacts, ultimately stopping the spread of COVID-19. So for those cases we don't know about, we are unable to perform that important work," said Almaguer.

She adds, they are still receiving some results but not all of them. Butte County Public Health says they are expecting an influx of cases once the problem gets fixed. Health officials also announced that school districts in Butte County can now seek waivers to reopen.

Mary Sakuma, Butte County superintendent of schools, says, "We are pleased that there will be the opportunity for students for potentially returning to school for in-person instruction. We know that the process is rigorous so districts need to read carefully through the materials and be prepared upon submission."

Schools need to consult with their labor union, staff, parents, and community before applying. They also need to submit a reopening plan on their website.

"A number of school districts are considering it, but so far, the only district to announce they are applying is Gridley Unified School District," said Sakuma.

A district superintendent, principal, head of school or executive director of a charter school would have to apply for the waiver.

Schools would also have to assist with contract tracing if and when there is a case of COVID-19 in a school and have a plan for testing students and staff.

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Aside from the haze and smoke, we've had beautiful weather in northern California today, and it will be just as nice tomorrow. A storm is coming our way, however, and we'll have very unsettled weather this weekend.
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