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This remote county has the highest COVID case rate in Calif.: Here’s why

Two more residents of Shasta County died from the coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the county total since the start of the pandemic to 24, health officials reported. In the last week, the county has reported 302 new cases.

These numbers may be surprising in this pocket of Northern California known for vast open spaces and endless forests, but COVID-19 outbreaks across the country have shown that the virus can spiral out of control anywhere.

The spike in Shasta County is being driven by spates of cases at an evangelical school and a nursing facility in Redding, the county’s largest city (pop. 91,000).


Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding asked its entire 1,600-person student body to self-quarantine as the number of coronavirus cases among students and staff rose above 100 since classes started a month ago.

Off-campus housing has been a primary source of transmission, along with “social interactions outside of school hours.” The school does not have on-campus housing and encourages students on its website to “infiltrate the neighborhoods of Redding,” recommending 17 “revival regions in need of transformation.”

Windsor Redding Care Center has reported 17 COVID-19 deaths and more than 60 residents and health care workers have tested positive according to data from the state.

The outbreaks in these two locations are spilling into the greater community. The Record Searchlight reported Tuesday that the number of cases in county schools had reached 43, with these infections spread across 13 campuses.

The uptick in cases is impacting key metrics the state uses to determine a county’s color-coded tier status in the reopening plan that dictates which businesses and activities are allowed to reopen. Shasta’s positivity rate is now 6.9%, the highest in the state. For every 100,000 residents in the county, nearly 13 people are testing positive a day.

Shasta fell back from the orange tier to the more restrictive red tier Tuesday, placing restrictions on restaurants and requiring bars to close unless they are serving food. County officials said they expect Shasta to move into the most restrictive purple tier in coming weeks.

Going back to purple would force all dining to move outdoors and require church services, movie theaters and gyms to also only operate outside.

The state’s reopening plan sorts counties into four color-coded tiers — “purple” (widespread), “red” (substantial), “orange” (moderate) or “yellow” (minimal) — that measure the spread of COVID-19.

Counties are put in the purple tier if they are reporting more than seven cases per 100,000 residents and have a positivity rate above 8%. For a county to move into the red tier, it must report fewer than seven daily cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity under 8% for 14 consecutive days. The orange tier requires fewer than 3.9 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity under 4.9% and the yellow less than 1 case per 100,000 and lower than 2% positivity.

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Bay Area suspect nicknamed ‘Medicine Man’ arrested in biggest retail theft bust in Calif. history

Photo of Dan Gentile

The San Mateo County Sheriff's office recovered approximately $8 million in stolen goods, as reported by CBS Bay Area.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s office recovered approximately $8 million in stolen goods, as reported by CBS Bay Area.

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office

On Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that five suspects behind one of the biggest theft rings in state history were arrested in a multi-agency operation called Operation Proof of Purchase.

KPIX reported that over $8 million in household goods, including $1 million in razors, were recovered on a raid on September 30. They were stolen primarily from CVS retail stores, investigators said.

ALSO READ: Oakland PD raided this church. And took all their drugs.

Lower level thieves or “boosters” brought the stolen merchandise to San Francisco’s Tenderloin where they were paid one or two dollars per item by crew leaders. The items then allegedly made their way to Danny Louis Drago, a.k.a. “The Medicine Man,” who police say stored the goods at 16 sites throughout the Bay Area. The items were then sold through a wholesale shell company run by Drago, claims the attorney general’s office, as well as online through outlets like Amazon.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's office recovered approximately $8 million in stolen goods, as reported by CBS Bay Area.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s office recovered approximately $8 million in stolen goods, as reported by CBS Bay Area.

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office

According to investigators, one of the thieves who was arrested posted photos on social media of a car trunk full of stolen over-the-counter medicine and a handful of hundred dollar bills.

At the home of one of the crew bosses, police say they found $50,000 hidden behind picture frames, including one framed image of Minnie Mouse.


See the full report at CBS Bay Area.

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‘It’s a Slaughter’; Trump Halts COVID Relief Talks; Mask Up Between Bites in Calif.

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William Foege, MD, the former CDC director under Presidents Carter and Reagan, suggested in a private letter to the agency’s current leader, Robert Redfield, MD, that he orchestrate his own firing by revealing the CDC’s failings and the meddling from the White House. “It’s a slaughter and not just a political dispute,” he wrote. (USA Today)

As of 8:00 a.m. ET Wednesday, the estimated U.S. COVID-19 toll reached 7,501,869 cases and 210,918 deaths — up 42,767 and 722, respectively, since the same time a day ago.

President Trump ordered his legislative team to halt negotiations with Congress on a coronavirus relief bill until after the election, but later tweeted that a total of $160 billion should be approved for airline relief and for paycheck protection. (The Hill)

Rick Bright, the administration’s vaccine-expert-turned-whistleblower, resigned from his job at NIH — a job he had been demoted to after being removed from his position as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. (STAT)

The FDA released its revised guidance for emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines — guidance that would likely guarantee a vaccine wouldn’t be authorized until after Election Day. Stay tuned to MedPage Today for in-depth coverage of this issue.

Efficacy data from one or two COVID-19 vaccine candidates are expected in the next month or two, according to Moncef Slaoui, PhD, the chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s project to speed up vaccine development. (Reuters)

In a small trial of patients with mild cases, the antidepressant fluvoxamine reduced the likelihood of clinical deterioration compared with placebo, the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund announced.

Wondering how to ask a stranger to put on their mask? Be discreet, experts say. (AP)

And speaking of masks, going out to eat in a restaurant? Don’t forget to wear your mask between bites, say California officials. (CBS News)

Presidential adviser Stephen Miller and three other White House officials tested positive for COVID-19, while the top U.S. general and several senior Pentagon officials are quarantining after being exposed to a Coast Guard admiral who tested positive for the coronavirus. (New York Times, CNN)

Facebook removed a post from President Trump suggesting that influenza is more lethal than COVID-19, saying it broke the site’s rules regarding misinformation. For comparison, COVID-19 in the U.S. has now killed more people than the last five flu seasons combined. (CNN)

State officials are investigating Trump’s fundraiser last week at his Bedminster, N.J. country club to see whether it violated guidelines on large gatherings. (NBC News)

As if a bobblehead and donuts weren’t enough, now NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, has his own action figure. (The Hill)

A Frontline/AP investigation published in The Washington Post details the breakdown in the U.S. supply chain for personal protective equipment to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

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