The following is a press release issued by Calaveras County Public Health.

Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, the state moved Calaveras County into purple (widespread risk level), the state’s most restrictive tier. Changes to the tier system occur when immediate action is needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Counties are required to put into place any sector changes the day following the tier announcement. The goal is to make sure patients can get the access to care they need and prevent hospitals from being overrun. This means that several non-essential indoor businesses must close. Calaveras Public Health urges caution and encourages people to take the necessary steps to prevent being exposed to the virus and help the county continue to lower its risk level.

The purple tier impacts many local businesses that will now have to close indoor business operations or reduce capacity. As of now, businesses that can operate outdoors only with modifications, include:

• Gyms and fitness centers

• Movie theaters

• Museums

• Places of worship

• Restaurants

• Wineries and tasting rooms

Bars, breweries and distilleries must close. To learn more about how this change in tiers impacts businesses and activities in Calaveras County please view the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy to find specific business information and the county’s latest status.

As of Nov. 21, it is required that all non-essential work and activities stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties in the widespread purple tier. Read more about the limited stay at home order. The stay at home order is effective through at least Dec. 21. Limiting social activities and gatherings of people not within the same household will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 into Calaveras communities.

Everyone is at risk for COVID-19 and should take precautions to avoid getting exposed to the virus. Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. This means that they may be hospitalized, require a ventilator to help them breathe, or may even be fatal. COVID-19 can be very serious and Calaveras Public Health asks that you follow the safety guidelines.

During the holidays, Calaveras Public Health urges the public to remain cautious. The safest way to gather during the holidays is to spend time with people in the same household and gather virtually with family and friends who aren’t from your household. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, follow the Guidelines for Gatherings and tips for a healthier holiday season. Traveling to see friends and family during the holidays could increase your risk of infection and further the spread of COVID-19 in your community. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) strongly recommends:

• Californians stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel

• Anyone arriving into California should voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days.

For complete details and requirements, read CDPH’s Travel Advisory.

No-cost testing for COVID-19 is available at the OptumServe COVID-19 testing site in Sonora. The site is located at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, Blake Elliot Building (Creekside), 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora, CA 95370. The OptumServe site is now open seven days a week. If you would like to be tested for COVID-19, please register at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or call (888) 634-1123.

Testing for COVID-19 is advised, especially:

• People who have symptoms of COVID-19

• People who have had close contact with someone that is confirmed to have COVID-19

• People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider

Take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The best ways to avoid exposure to COVID-19 are to:

• Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth in public places and anywhere you will be around people who do not live with you, including close friends and family.

• Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.

• Stay home if you are sick.

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