Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Fifth COVID-related death reported in Citrus Heights as businesses prepare to reopen

A screenshot of a county health department map taken May 7 shows the number of COVID-19 cases in Citrus Heights and Sacramento County, with darker shades representing more cases.

Sentinel staff report–
Sacramento County health officials this week reported a fifth death in Citrus Heights associated with COVID-19, along with seven new confirmed cases of the disease over the past week.

As of May 7, a total of 67 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported in Citrus Heights, compared to 60 a week ago, according to the Sacramento County Public Health Department. Countywide there have been 1,153 cases and 49 deaths associated with COVID-19.

All deaths in Citrus Heights and Sacramento County “are among those age 65 and older, had underlying conditions, and/or had other risk factors,” according to a notice posted on the county’s COVID-19 information website. Nearly 950 of the county’s cases are listed now as “likely recovered.”

Compared to the seasonal flu, the county’s latest preliminary data from the 2019-20 flu season reports a total of 52 flu-related deaths and 121 admissions to hospital intensive care units in Sacramento County. The data is only available through April 18.

The county’s website includes an online mapping and data page showing a general “flattening” of the curve in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, with just 12 new cases reported countywide since May 1. By comparison, the number of cases jumped by 20 to 40 per day during much of March and into early April.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans for certain businesses to begin reopening across the state. In a press conference Thursday, he elaborated on those plans, detailing phases for reopening and and criteria for variations between different counties.

State guidelines have now been released for some retailers to reopen with curbside pickup beginning Friday, including book stores, clothing stores, sporting good, florists and toy stores. Newsom acknowledged many businesses have already been offering such services, but said the change on Friday is that those businesses will be able to operate with the state’s approval. He said indoor dining will be allowed “soon.”

Citrus Heights business owners ‘in limbo’ awaiting end to virus shutdowns

The changes are part of “stage 2” plans for reopening business in the state. Stage 3 will include religious services, movie theaters, hair salons and others being allowed to resume. Concert venues and sporting events with live audiences will be the last to reopen, during stage 4.

See county health orderclick here

In Sacramento County, the county’s Health Officer ordered a three-week extension to the county’s stay-at-home order last week. The new order relaxed some restrictions, allowing dental offices to reopen, along with dog parks, food trucks and select other activities — as long as social distancing measures are in practice.

All public and private gatherings “of any number of people” are still prohibited, outside of those in the same household. Bars, cardrooms and dine-in eating are still prohibited.

The order says stay-at-home efforts appear to have contributed to slowing the number of hospitalizations and deaths. Extension of the stay-at-home directive “is necessary to further reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease” and protect the health care system from exceeding capacity, the order says.

A growing number of voices have been calling for a more rapid reopening of businesses in the state, arguing that the economic and social toll of government-imposed shutdowns outweighs health concerns. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones on Wednesday added his voice to a growing movement calling for reopening of businesses.

“It is time to develop a plan to open ALL businesses,” said Jones in a Facebook post. “If car washes, Starbucks, adult boutiques, and pot shops have been considered ‘essential’ throughout this, really aren’t ALL businesses essential?”

Related: Citrus Heights businesses hoping for return to normal

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)