Tulare County health officials advise against holiday gatherings

Tulare County health officials

Public health officials report COVID-19 surge is overwhelming local hospitals

Many traditional holiday celebrations and gatherings can be high-risk for spreading the COVID-19 virus. To protect those most vulnerable and slow the surge occurring in our local hospitals, we must refrain from participating in gatherings with people whom we do not live with. (Karen Haught, MD, MPH, FAAP, the Public Health Officer for Tulare County)

The COVID-19 virus is rapidly spreading at alarming rates in Tulare County, including in Three Rivers, and it is overwhelming the healthcare system with COVID-19 positive patients needing to be hospitalized for the respiratory illness. County residents should take necessary actions to avoid contact with members of different households.

It is imperative to celebrate with only those who live within your immediate household, health officials warn. COVID-19 continues to pose a significant risk to the health of local communities and to the most vulnerable populations.

Tulare County and the entire San Joaquin Valley remain under a Regional Stay Home Order requiring residents to stay home as much as possible and prohibiting private gatherings of any size.

Officials strongly encourage everyone to get tested for COVID-19; testing is free and available to anyone. Tulare County has three testing sites located in Dinuba, Porterville, and Tulare. Appointments for testing may be made by calling 1-888-634-1123 and online

During the holidays, the best gift to give your loved ones is ensuring they stay safe and healthy. By now, everyone knows the advised protocols: wear a facial covering, maintain physical distancing, wash hands often, avoid gatherings with members not in your household. 

COVID-19 cases have been seen to spike in Tulare County after every holiday this year, so to avoid another spike in cases at this crucial time of surging cases and hospitalizations, public health officials are pleading with residents to cooperate.

The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:

Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.

Moderate risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).

High risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.

Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.


Tulare County health officials

To reiterate, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Tulare County, everyone must practice both social and physical distancing of six feet or more between persons and not participate in social gatherings of any kind. Residents must always wear a face mask or covering while in environments where physical distancing is not possible and while in public settings. In addition, everyone is encouraged to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces, and stay home if you are sick or instructed to isolate/quarantine by a medical or public health professional.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.tchhsa.org/ncov and www.covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov.

Are you interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine? County of Tulare HHSA would like to know. Click here and complete this survey.


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