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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.
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.
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 www.facebook.com/shastahhsa