Coronavirus Task Force report shows Nassau County is in the ‘yellow zone’

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  • A Nassau County worker wearing a mask over his mouth, but not over his nose, helps citizens unload their vehicles at a recent recycling event. PEG DAVIS/NEWS-LEADER
    A Nassau County worker wearing a mask over his mouth, but not over his nose, helps citizens unload their vehicles at a recent recycling event. PEG DAVIS/NEWS-LEADER
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According to a White House Coronavirus Task Force summary report to state governors dated July 14, Nassau County is a “yellow zone” for coronavirus infections and cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

In the same report, Duval County is classified as a “red zone.”

The report was first published by the Center for Public Integrity.

The report recommends these policies be implemented for counties in the “yellow zone” in order to preempt exponential community spread of the virus:

Public Messaging

• Wear a mask at all times outside the home and maintain physical distance.

• Limit social gatherings to 25 people or fewer.

• Do not go to bars or nightclubs.

• Use take out, outdoor dining, or indoor dining when strict social distancing can be maintained.

• Protect anyone with serious medical conditions at home by social distancing at home and using high levels of personal hygiene.

• Reduce your public interactions and activities to 50% of your normal activity.

Public Officials

• Limit gyms to 25% occupancy and close bars until percent positive rates are under 3%; create outdoor dining opportunities with pedestrian areas.

• Limit social gatherings to 25 people or fewer.

• Institute routine weekly testing of all workers in assisted living and long-term care facilities. Require masks for all staff and prohibit visitors.

• Ensure that all business retailers and personal services require masks and can safely social distance.

• Increase messaging on the risk of serious disease for individuals in all age groups with preexisting obesity, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, and recommend to shelter in place.

• Work with local community groups to provide targeted, tailored messaging to communities with high case rates, and increase community level testing.

• Recruit more contact tracers as community outreach workers to ensure all cases are contacted and all positive households are individually tested within 24 hours.

• Provide isolation facilities outside of households if COVID-positive individuals can’t quarantine successfully.

Testing

• Move to community-led neighborhood testing and work with local community groups to increase access to testing.

• Surge testing and contact tracing resources to neighborhoods and zip codes with highest case rates.

• Diagnostic pooling: laboratories should use pooling of samples to increase testing access and reduce turnaround times to under 12 hours. Consider pools of 3-5 individuals.

• Surveillance pooling: For family and cohabitating households, screen entire households in a single test by pooling specimens of all members into single collection device.

Also according to the summary report, Georgia is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last month, and the red zone for test positivity, indicating a rate above 10%.

Among the recommendations for Georgia:

• A statewide mask mandate for counties with 50 or more active cases to ensure consistent mask usage, as improvements are fragile.

• Continue the bars closure in all counties with rising test percent positivity, increase outdoor dining opportunities, and limit indoor dining to 25% of normal capacity.

• Expand the protection of those in nursing homes, assisted living, and long-term care facilities (LTCFs) by ensuring access to rapid facility-wide testing in response to a resident or staff member with COVID-19 with isolation of all positive staff and residents. Ensure social distancing and universal facemask use. Immediately conduct infection control surveys in all nursing homes with 3 or more cases per week over the last three weeks. Antigen testing supplies will continue to be provided by the Federal Government over the next four to six weeks to support LTCF testing.

• Ensure messaging to all citizens to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people, even with family. Cases seem to be coming from within households. It is essential that all citizens are limiting gatherings and protecting the members of their households with comorbidities.

• Continue the scale-up of testing, moving to community-led neighborhood testing.

• Ensure all hospital testing capacity is being fully utilized to support additional community, nursing home and school (K-12) testing as emergency department visits and admissions decline, and additional testing capacity is available.

• Specific, detailed guidance on community mitigation measures can be found on the CDC website, https://wwwcdc.gov.