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Napa County establishes coronavirus task force to help enforce public health orders

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NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — “The state is watching and this could really hit home soon.”

An urgent concern in Napa County after a rise in COVID-19 cases.

County officials established a ‘compliance task force’ to respond to complaints about people not complying with public health orders.

Officials say the increase of COVID-19 cases required Napa County jurisdictions to undertake more aggressive actions to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

It has come down to this — but county officials saw a jump in COVID-19 cases last month after Memorial Day and Father’s Day. They are not taking any chances over the July 4th holiday weekend.

“It’s people visiting from other cities and now that everything is opening up, we have more tourists and you just never know,” Sophy Seng said.

While many Napa County residents share the same concern about tourists and the spread of COVID-19, public health officer Dr. Karen Relucio says otherwise.

“We haven’t seen cases that said I went to a winery, I went to a particular restaurant, this is how I got it,” Dr. Relucio said.

In a Zoom meeting Thursday, county officials said COVID-19 cases in the month of June have been stemming from private parties.

“We’ve had families who decided to have a birthday party or graduation party with 30 to 40 people in it and basically multiple households in the same family ended up getting infected,” Dr. Relucio said.

They say family gatherings are not just risky.

“It could be deadly,” Elizabeth Scott said.

“Yes, it’s endangering all of us,” Diane Dillon said.

The county formed a COVID-19 compliance task force coalition to respond to complaints.

The coalition is made up of the county of Napa, the cities of Napa, American Canyon, Calistoga and St. Helena and the town of Yountville.

Residents could expect some visits from the county in coming days.

“It is pretty obvious out there in the community with your neighbors, people driving around the neighborhood that these gatherings are taking place,” Scott said.

Businesses will be monitored to make sure public health directives are in order and to prevent potential closures.

The types of complaints the task force will be responding to: failure to maintain physical separation, failure to wear face coverings and businesses who don’t comply with orders. The task force will educate first, businesses caught not following orders face fines and permits revoked.

If a business fails to comply with a County or local jurisdiction directive, they are subject to civil and administrative penalties, up to and including fines, temporary restraining orders and revocation of use permits.

To report compliance issues, please email covid19compliance@countyofnapa.org.

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