Dr. Frankovich on Non-Mask-Wearing Bus Drivers, Large Social Gatherings and the – Health News Today

In today’s media availability, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich took questions on bus drivers not wearing masks, social gatherings, antibody tests, vaccine development and whether Humboldt is on the verge of being put on the state watch list. Plus much more.

Below: The questions asked and a rough summary of Dr. Frankovich’s answers, with timestamps corresponding to the video above.

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(0:00) Some local bus drivers are being allowed to take off their
facial coverings while driving due to potential visibility impacts
and safety concerns. Does this pose a concern from Public Health’s
standpoint given the number of people who could potentially be
exposed to an unmasked driver in a given day?

Dr. Frankovich says:
“Obviously we want drivers to be safe in their driving. That’s
very important.”

A tip, though: There
are lots of different masks out there, and some of them might work
better for particular people. Dr. Frankovich strongly encourages
drivers to seek out masks that work for them.

(1:30) In recent
weeks, you and Deputy Health Officer Josh Ennis have said repeatedly
that social gatherings and travel have been largely responsible for
local spread of the virus. As we submit this, we’ve seen three dozen
new cases confirmed over the past 10 days. Has this pattern held and
are most of these new cases linked to social gatherings and/or
travel?

“A
big driver of our local cases is related to both
travel and gatherings, and sometimes the two of them combined,” Dr.
Frankovich says. For instance: A person can travel out of the area,
contract the virus, and then attend a social gathering. The original
person is put down as a travel-related
cases, and the others are put down in the “close contact”
category.

(2:55) Are this
week’s cases at all connected to the wedding/large gathering that
took place in Petrolia 2 weeks ago? Does Public Health believe that
the gathering is part of the reason we’ve seen an increase in cases
lately?

No one particular gathering has been a driver, Dr. Frankovich says,
but gatherings overall have been. She reminds people that even though
a young person might attend a function without too much fear of
getting seriously ill, they could become a carrier of the virus and
pass it on to people who are at far greater risk.

(3:45) Given
surging rates of infections and hospitalizations in other parts of
the state and some counties’ inability to conduct sufficient
contact tracing, some legislators and health experts have called on
the governor to issue another statewide shutdown. Do you feel the
state has crossed the threshold to where this may be necessary to
contain the virus or do you think counties should be allowed to
continue to exercise local control where conditions warrant?

“At this point, I would say I would hate to see us put all the way
back into shelter-in-place,” Dr….