Local health departments send this message: ‘Avoid gatherings & think of others’


CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KGPE) – As the rate of transmission and hospitalizations increase throughout the Central Valley, local health departments are sending this message: avoid gatherings and think of others.

“Our numbers are increasing dramatically,” said Leticia Berber, health educator with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

“These gatherings are proving to be a source of high rates of infection that we’re seeing here in Tulare County,” said Carrie Monteiro, the public information officer with the county’s Health & Human Services Agency.

Whether it’s a gathering with extended family or an outing with friends, they’re playing a role in the rising cases in the Valley.

Health departments are now pleading with residents to think twice about their decisions.

“Young individuals thinking that they’re healthy, think it’s just the flu, ‘I’m gonna get over that, I’m not gonna to end up in the hospital,’ but keep in mind others you’re going to come in contact with. Your uncle, your sick grandma, your nephew who has a low immune system,” Berber said.

California reached a grim milestone on Tuesday with 197 lives lost due to COVID-19. On Wednesday, it was 194 lives lost.

Tulare County has one of the highest positivity rates in the state. The county is seeing more than 550 cases per 100,000 people, Monteiro said.

“We understand that multi households want to get together for dinner or meals or go out for outings, but until we get control of this rapid infection, we must avoid even the smallest gatherings of two households,” Monteiro said.

She said they’ve also seen cases where after going to a gathering, residents give the virus to someone who’s vulnerable in their household.

“We have seen cases where individuals who have gone outside the household, participated in a gathering or exposed themselves in another form and came home and unknowingly transmitted and infected the virus to a loved one at home,” Monteiro said.

“Right now we have to think of others in our community. Think of our most vulnerable that can get sick, end up in the hospital and maybe even passing away,” Berber said.

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