Shasta County, Redding, Hoping to Thwart Encroaching Coronavirus Attack

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City and county officials and the local news media prepare for a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Photos by Jon Lewis.

Both Shasta County and the city of Redding declared a state of emergency Tuesday in a preemptive move to shore up defenses against the growing novel coronavirus menace.

Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini emphasized that the emergency declaration is not intended to incite fear or anxiety. To the contrary, he noted Shasta County does not have a single positive case of COVID-19, as the virus is known. (A Redding man who underwent treatment for the virus is no longer testing positive.)

“We’re merely checking a box to unlock doors for additional help and resources,” Magrini said during a brief press conference on Tuesday at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency campus on Breslauer Lane.

Karen Ramstrom, Shasta County’s health officer, said the emergency declaration allows the county to strengthen its response to a fast-changing and serious threat to the public health. The declaration eliminates some red tape and other barriers that could hinder the county’s response.

Shasta County Health Officer Karen Ramstrom, left, and Anderson Mayor Melissa Hunt.

Tuesday’s conference was attended by officials from the county, including Supervisor Mary Rickert, as well as from the cities of Redding, Anderson Shasta Lake. Magrini said the countywide representation demonstrates the “truly regional collaborative approach” local government is taking to a “very fluid” situation.

“This is not because of impending threats,” Magrini said. The sheriff, who doubles as the county’s director of emergency services, said he did not want to seek the emergency declaration too early and risk unnecessary panic, but by Tuesday “the timing was right to declare an emergency and support public health.

“We reached a level now where we have to be proactive and work with public health to ensure it doesn’t become a problem. The process we have now is working,” Magrini said.

Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini

The coronavirus has been confirmed in all 50 states and the U.S. death toll topped 100 as of Tuesday evening and infectious disease experts expect that number to rise quickly. Schools have closed, sending students home to receive instruction online, and business offices have emptied as employees work from home and practice “social distancing” when out in public.

In an effort to limit the rate of infection, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the closing of all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs and ordered restaurants to reduce their occupancy by half. Newsom and President Trump have already declared emergencies for California and the nation.

The coronavirus continued to wreak havoc elsewhere in Shasta County. On Tuesday, the board of directors of Kool April Nites announced that the hugely popular car show scheduled for April 18-26 has been canceled. “We understand the disappointment and frustration of the public, but the health, wellness and safety of Redding’s citizens and our participants is our first priority,” the board said in a press release.

Kool April Nites, which attracts thousands to Redding and provides a huge boost to hotels and restaurants, will return to the Civic Auditorium grounds April 17-25, 2021. “This decision was not made lightly as we understand the impact that this will have on our city, however we believe in this community and its ability to move through hardship and come out stronger,” the board said.

In other COVID-19 news, the Shasta Family YMCA announced on Tuesday that it would be closing its fitness center temporarily in accordance with recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Gov. Newsom.

Redding’s two multiplexes, Movies 14 and Movies 8, also closed their doors in response to coronavirus safety guidelines.

The Health and Human Services Agency has begun offering daily weekday briefings on the coronavirus. To learn more, visit

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at
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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Urban Prophet says:

    FINALLY ! After a lot of public outcry I am pleased to announce there is now a portable wash station OUTSIDE the Good News Rescue Mission Dinning room SO YOU CAN WASH BEFORE ENTERING, ALSO there is a portable wash station outside the door of their donation room, ALSO there is a portable wash station outside the door of their House of Hope woman and children’s home. ABOUT TIME !!!

  2. Avatar Urban Prophet says:

    What will all the homeless do that cannot use services of Good News Rescue Mission for one reason or another? What will all the homeless do that stay on lawn of Shasta County Library when it closes?

    Are there recommendations as to how many homeless can sleep in one tent ?

    Are teams going out to meet homeless where they are to hand out Coronavirus info? Hand sanitizers ?Social distancing procedures?

    Will homeless camp sweeps and the confiscation of personal possessions and winter time survival gear be suspended? be temporarily terminated ?

    Is it not better to let homeless that stay on lawn during the day at Shasta County Library to also let them remain at night instead of driving them into the Parkview neighborhood every night to set up their tents and survival structures all over the neighborhood? Put a wash station there as well? Parkview looks like a aircraft runway its so bright at night now.

    And those signs across street from Library on building with no sign (Think its a cannabis growing supply warehouse) with all the very very bright lights and signs saying no camping on sidewalk is surly a violation of homeless civil and constitutional rights and at this present time in history is just down right cruel …

  3. Avatar Andrew Patterson says:

    Urban Prophet, other cities like Sacramento are taking the lead and opening up hotel rooms free of charge to homeless people during the outbreak. This is just good policy and in all of our interests to curb the spread. I call on our city’s leadership to do more proactive measures to protect us and the lives of the most vulnerable amongst us.

  4. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    What does the Sheriff mean these measures aren’t because of any “impending threat”? Of course they are! It’s time to stop splitting hairs in order to not start a panic. The panic has already begun. Bethel once again is showing the way, they’re now shutting down all services and the BSSM. From their press release:

    In light of recent developments and recommendations, here are the latest changes at Bethel to encourage continued health in the North State:

    As of Sunday, March 15, 2020, all ministry gatherings and weekend services at Bethel campuses are postponed until further notice.

    Bethel’s ministry school (BSSM) has decided to transition fully to online school sessions.

    Bethel Christian School (Preschool-8th Grade) is transitioning all students to independent home study until further notice

  5. Avatar Randy says:

    How about opening up the Anderson Fairgrounds and setting up the same operations used during the, “Stand Down” events for the homeless?

    • Avatar Felicia says:

      I think that is 9ne of the best and most realistic ideas that has been presented. Hopefully someone who can help with that sees it and gets that ball rolling!

  6. Avatar Steve Towers says:

    “This is not because of impending threats,” Magrini said.

    Uh huh.

    All the schools are closed, some planning to be locked up for the rest of the school year. Boatloads of mildly ill people are self-quarantining in large part because of lack of tests (myself included). Pretty much all social events are canceled. We don’t know how big the problem is in America (including Shasta County) because there aren’t enough test kits. Yadda yadda yadda, ad infinitum.

    But we’re not doing the above or declaring a state of emergency because of impending threats.

    Nope. No impending threats causing the declaration. Just a precaution.

  7. Avatar Judy Salter says:

    The Shasta regional community foundation is now setting up a Covid 19 fund. Local nonprofits will be able to request grants which allow them to serve the community during these stressful times.

  8. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    Today is day 14 of SELF QUARANTINE… now I can be sure not to be giving this sh*t to anyone else jist incase I accidently open the door for the Jehovah’s witnesses. I wouldn’t want to kill any witnesses to anything accident or no. If I do blow it and open and the door and their sh*t kills me I guess that’s on me… leave the pamphlet @ the door +!+

  9. Avatar Urban Prophet says:

    Very exciting news …. “French researcher posts successful Covid-19 drug trial”

    “A renowned research professor in France has reported successful results from a new treatment for Covid-19, with early tests suggesting it can stop the virus from being contagious in just six days.”