SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento County, along with the Yolo County community of Davis and the San Joaquin County community of Manteca, is directing residents to stay home to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The directive is not a legal order, but a strong recommendation.
“It may be a new normal here but we got to adjust,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
The streets of Sacramento looked and felt a little quieter Tuesday night hours after the Sacramento County Health Department announced the new directives to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The directives are to stay at home, whether you’re a senior with underlying conditions or the less vulnerable population. Unless for the less vulnerable population needs to get out for essential activities like grocery shopping,” said Sacramento County Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson.
That means no more going to the gym, dining in at restaurants or hosting playdates.
But Mayor Steinberg said they are temporary disruptions that will ultimately save lives.
“The more we stay indoors, the more we distance ourselves socially, the greater chance we have to limit the number of people who are infected, who get seriously ill and who, unfortunately, die,” he said.
The county health director said the goal is to keep the community spread of the novel coronavirus manageable and to avoid overwhelming hospitals with patients in need of care.
“We’re at a stage now where we need to flatten the curve,” Dr. Beilenson said. “You can have a curve where it goes up and comes down like this with new infections and that tends to swamp hospitals, isolation rooms and ventilators. We’re trying to dampen the curve like this and spread out the cases over time.”
Although Sacramento County health experts did not go as far as calling the new rules a shelter-in-place order, Steinberg said the new directives carry the same meaning. If broken, they would carry the same consequences.
“It is an order by another name and people are expected to follow it,” he explained. “If we find that people are not following the directive, then it could go the next step, which is an enforceable order by law enforcement.”
The Sacramento County Health Department does acknowledge that the new directives will be incredibly inconvenient for many but they also say they are necessary to protect public health.
The City of Davis earlier Tuesday asked its residents to do the same thing, along with a similar order from city officials in Manteca late Monday. Directives from Davis and Manteca used the phrase “shelter in place.”
Guidance from Sacramento County health officials includes:
- Workplaces and businesses should implement telecommuting and teleconferencing for their employees, where appropriate and feasible.
- Only those employees performing essential duties that cannot be performed by telecommuting should physically come to work
- Vulnerable Populations:
- Those aged 65 and older and/or those with chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart disease, or lung diseases such as COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems are at highest risk of complications.
- People at higher risk should stay home and away from gatherings of un-related individuals
- Those in the vulnerable populations can go outside (to walk the dog, go on walks or go to the park) provided they are at least six feet from others
- Less Vulnerable Populations:
- All those at lower risk should stay home to the maximum extent possible except when going to essential sites
- Essential sites include but are not limited to:
- Health Care Facilities
- Grocery stores
- Hardware stores/plumbers/electricians for emergency services
- Businesses that provide food, shelter and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals
- Newspapers, television, radio and other media services
- Gas Stations and auto supply, auto repair and related facilities
- Banks and related financial institutions
- Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and others who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences
- Airlines, taxis and other private transportation providers
- Gathering Places:
- No gatherings in any formal setting
- All bars, wineries and brew-pubs should be closed
- All in-dining at restaurants should cease; take out and home delivery (with social distancing) may continue
- All gyms should be closed
- All bingo halls and card rooms should be closed
- All Sacramento schools are closed
- Sick Persons:
- Everyone should stay home if they are sick until they have had no fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms for at least 72 hours after symptoms resolve, or 7 days from when symptoms began, whichever is longer.
- Anyone who lives with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days.
- Those with cold-like symptoms who can manage their symptoms at home with over-the-counter-drugs, should do so, regardless of whether they have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19.
- If, however, difficulty breathing and lethargy develops, or symptoms were better and then got worse, they should call their healthcare provider, or urgent care center ahead so they can prepare to take care of them.
- People should only call 911 or go to an emergency department if they believe that they are extremely sick or their life is in imminent danger. Other emergencies are still occurring, and emergency resources must be available to address all of them, not just COVID-19
- Masks: Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
Six Bay Area counties — San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda — are also asking residents to stay indoors.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story used the phrase “shelter in place.” We have updated the wording to more accurately describe the directive from Sacramento County.