December 4, 2020
To all Yuba-Sutter Residents:
The current COVID-19 situation is dire in Yuba-Sutter. We have the highest rate of COVID-19
test positivity in the State. The State average is 6.4% - Yuba is 16.2% and Sutter is 20.1% -
(Sutter being the highest of all 58 counties). This means that for every person who gets tested for
COVID-19, nearly one in five tests positive for COVID-19. Our situation is much worse when
compared with several neighboring counties such as Butte (4.6% test positivity), Colusa (13.7%
test positivity), and Sacramento (9.4% test positivity).
The Yuba-Sutter region has only one hospital, Adventist-Rideout, and it is heavily impacted by
the recent surge in cases, leading to a near tripling of hospitalizations in the past few weeks.
Their Intensive Care Unit (³ICU´) is full because of the surge in COVID-19 patients needing
ICU level care. There are not enough ICU nurses to expand for more ICU beds. Hospital nurses
are highly specialized. An Emergency Department (³ED´) or ICU nurse cannot be trained
overnight, or even in a matter of months. This current surge in hospitalizations is a statewide and
nationwide issue and resources are minimal for hospitals asking for assistance.
We all need to help each other and I desperately call for your assistance. The ways to mitigate
the risk of more residents becoming infected and to prevent overwhelming our local hospital is
for everyone to immediately limit your in-person interactions with people outside of your
household over the next 3 weeks. I understand this is a heavy lift but we are asking this for not
only our friends and relatives, but our nurses and doctors, and other hospital staff - some of
whom are already near their breaking point.
Starting on Monday, December 7, 2020 and for the next 3 weeks, I am strongly advising
Yuba County and Sutter County residents to immediately:
1. Limit activities outside of your household and outside of your home. Strive to limit
outings outside of your home to ONCE per week for vital activities (groceries, medicines,
care of elderly or dependent relatives) and do not allow others outside of your household
into your home.
Given how pervasive COVID-19 community transmission is occurring and that the majority of
COVID-19 transmission is due to asymptomatic transmission, it is vitally necessary for all
residents to limit their movements outside of their homes and to not allow those outside their
household into their homes.
2. Revert schools to distance learning for ALL grades
Even with the reversion to distance learning for grades 7th-12th two weeks prior, we continue to
see cases identified in the schools that remain open for in-person schooling. It is usually in
teachers or staff, however, the disruption to in-person learning extends to the students since the
students of that positive teacher must immediately quarantine for 14-days. We are noticing
discrepancies even within schools, where one class may remain open whereas another class has
to close due to a positive case. This has resulted in added stress to students, staff, and the parents
of students due to their inability to rely upon a consistent schedule.
Until we can drastically reduce the rates of community transmission, this cycle of intermittent
classroom quarantine will continue.
3. No in-person dining - regardless of outdoor or indoor
When eating and drinking, we cannot have on our facemask. We know masks work to protect
yourself and persons within close proximity. Residents have not been dining only with their
own household members ± propagating chains of transmission through what is essentially mini gatherings. Currently, these risks are too great in the midst of pervasive COVID-19 transmission.
4. Suspend all in-person county, city, and other governmental functions as determined by
the respective governing board
These actions are being advised to ensure the health and safety of employees and the public they
serve by minimizing to the maximum extent feasible all in person services. Too many
departments and their employees interact on a daily basis. The common goal among this and
other advisories is to mitigate risk of our residents being exposed to COVID-19 and preventing
further spread, sickness, and death.
Again, I implore each of you to follow this health advisory. Let¶s do this for our friends,
families, neighbors, and for our healthcare workers. We are all in this together ± please commit
to making a difference.
Phuong Luu,  MD, MHS, FACP
Bi-County Health Officer
Yuba County and Sutter County