All employers must screen workers for fever or respiratory issues as part of a new order from the Fresno County Public Health Department announced Friday afternoon.
Employees exhibiting symptoms will be sent home.
The department also announced four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 31. Of those 31, four were acquired through community spread.
In a video conference update with the media, Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra urged social distancing.
“We all need to stand apart, but work together,” Vohra said. “Social distancing is not only good advice, it’s a life-saving technique.”
While Vohra is asking for voluntary compliance, the order is mandatory subject to arrest if not followed.
New Health Orders
Vohra ordered — with powers granted by the emergency order passed by the Board of Supervisors on March 17 — daily screening of employees for febrile respiratory illness.
The order defines febrile respiratory illness as “a new or worsening episode of either cough or shortness of breath, presenting with fever (100.4 degrees F or higher) or chills in the previous 24 hours.”
There is no details of how an employer is supposed to conduct the screening.
Employees sent home would have to stay home for at least seven days. Also, anyone who may have had close contact would have to go home as well and quarantine for 14 days.
Other new health orders include mandatory reporting of any patient seen for febrile respiratory illness.
Also, Vohra is ordering anyone displaying symptoms such as a fever or respiratory problems to stay home.
All of Vohra’s orders went into effect on March 26 with no listed end date.
Four New Cases
Vohra would not offer details about who contracted COVID-19 because of privacy concerns, but he said he didn’t believe any of them could be considered homeless.
Of the four new cases, two were travel-related (16 total), one person-to-person contact (four total), and one community spread (four total). Seven cases remain from an unknown cause.
“We know this virus is contagious. It really benefits from crowds … and people close to one another,” Vohra said.
According to its website, the county is monitoring 788 people — 376 in the monitoring category, 325 who have been tested thus far, and 87 people with results pending.
Valley Case Counts as of March 27 at 5:00 p.m.
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Mental Health Help
County officials said they have not seen an increase in certain “despair” related issues, including involuntary psychiatric commitments (“5150”) or suicide calls, but they are preparing.
“The Fresno County Behavioral Health COVID-19 Warm Line provides non-emergency emotional and coping support to community members,” said Brian Bishop, a county behavioral health spokesman. “Warm Line operators provide supportive listening, practical coping ideas, and information on how to get connected to behavioral health services,”
The county Warm Line complements similar phone lines set up by the National Alliance for Mental Illness and the Central Valley Suicide Prevention Hotline.
“We have seen an increase in calls to the NAMI and CVSPH lines, but it’s not taxing their capacity nor have they seen a dramatic rise in calls,” Bishop said.
The Warm Line can be reached at 559-600-WARM (9276), Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Fullscreen Mode