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With 50 COVID Deaths and Over 1,000 Infections, Tulare County Urges Masks
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By Randy Reed, Operations Manager
Published 4 years ago on
May 12, 2020

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Deaths from COVID-19 rose to 50 in Tulare County on Monday as the total number of confirmed infections pushed past 1,150 in the area. Meanwhile, county health officials are urging residents to wear face masks around others outside the home to slow the spread of the virus.

Ten additional deaths and 400 new COVID cases have been reported in Tulare County over the past seven days. The health department website shows 969 individuals in the county are in self-isolation.

New Face Mask Recommendation from Health Officer

The updated case numbers follow new recommendations from the county health department recommending that individuals wear face masks in various settings. In a news release Friday, Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught said face coverings should be worn:

  • While inside of, or waiting in line, to enter a store, business or other facilities;
  • While providing “essential government functions” and when seeking care from health facilities;
  • When waiting for or riding public transportation;
  • On the job, “where the public is, or is likely to be, present and at any time when others are nearby.”

The statement noted that people can be infected and contagious 48 hours before developing symptoms.

“Many people with the COVID-19 virus have mild symptoms and do not recognize they are infected and contagious, and they can unintentionally infect others,” the release said.

Facebook Video from Tulare County Health Department

Tulare County Health Order Aligns with Newsom Plan

Haught also revised Tulare County’s COVID-19 emergency order on Friday to align with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s phased “Resiliance Roadmap” for reopening businesses and industries. The state is in Phase Two, allowing for “non-essential” local retail stores to offer online sales with curbside pickup only. Some “non-essential” manufacturers can also resume operations.

A number of local elected officials in Tulare County are pushing for a faster timetable than allowed under the state’s order. Last week, Visalia’s city council announced it would not enforce Gov. Newsom’s stay-at-home order.  According to the Visalia Times-Delta, councilmember Phil Cox suggested from the dais Thursday that risk from the coronavirus may diminish in the weeks ahead.

“We don’t know how accurate the scientists are,” Cox said. “We get 100 degrees here in California, and this thing may die out for a half year.”

But Haught urged caution.

“We are concerned about the growing number of cases and the great need for contact tracing, which limits the county’s ability to open businesses beyond the soft opening of Phase Two,” she told the Times-Delta.

Fresno County Nears 1,000 Cases, Parks Open

Fresno County health officials reported 60 new cases on Monday, raising the area total to 945 confirmed infections since the pandemic began. Of those, 617 individuals are being actively monitored, including 132 who are hospitalized. The county reports nine COVID-19 deaths.

The county also announced the reopening of all county-run parks and campgrounds, effective immediately. A news release said the facilities will operate at about 50% capacity and asked users to limit group gatherings to 10 people or fewer. Users should wear face masks when social distancing can’t be maintained, the statement said.

Play structures and picnic shelters remain closed.  Park hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the release said.

Businesses Begin Reopening Across City

The city of Fresno allowed many “non-essential” retail businesses to reopen Monday for in-store shopping, a step beyond what is allowed under the state’s plan. Customers are required to wear face masks while inside a business and capacity is limited to one customer for every 500 square feet of floor space. Vehicle dealerships are also permitted to resume in-person sales.

Businesses permitted to reopen in the city of Fresno include:

  • Auto, truck, boat, motorcycle, RV and mobile home sales
  • New construction
  • Furniture stores
  • Electronics and camera Stores
  • Spa and pool stores
  • Lawn and garden equipment stores
  • Building and remodeling supply stores
  • Auctions

All other retail businesses can conduct online sales with curbside pickup or delivery. Restaurants continue to be limited to take-out or delivery orders. Businesses such as salons, gyms, and entertainment remain  closed under local and state orders.

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