No-mask gatherings pushing the Central Valley onto federal COVID-19 trouble-list, warns health officer

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FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Comments about the Central Valley’s handling of COVID-19 cases on the national stage should be a wake-up call for the community, according to Fresno County’s interim health officer.

This week, federal health officials Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci identified the Central Valley as one of the 10 regions that could see “trouble ahead” due to an increase in COVID-19 positive cases.

“That is not what you want to make the national news for,” said Fresno County’s Dr. Rais Vohra. “It stings a little bit to be called out at the national level.”

For weeks, the Central Valley has had continuously had a higher percentage of positive COVID-19 cases per capita compared to the rest of the state.

Vohra said many in the community are not following the guidelines on gatherings.

“That is how most of these household clusters are happening,” said Vohra. “It is not a big house party. It is a few people getting together and not wearing a mask because it is my uncle, it is my cousin, it is my grandma.”

Vohra said there have been several educational campaigns by the Fresno Health Department but there seems to be a community disconnect.

“This touches individual lives,” said Vohra. “This is a personal tragedy in many cases and yet it is largely preventable in many situations so we can all do better by coming together as a community and protecting our most vulnerable community members.”

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