More counties shift away from coronavirus quarantines, urge firms to allow telecommuting

Cleaning supplies, water, toilet paper and hand sanitizers are among the items flying off shelves in response to the coronavirus.

Two more counties have announced a shift Tuesday from trying to contain COVID-19 to accepting that the disease is spreading too fast for widespread quarantining measures to be realistic or effective.

Public health officials in Placer and Yolo counties, which neighbor Sacramento County to the northeast and west, urged businesses to allow employees to telecommute where possible and for large events to be postponed or canceled.

Seven people in Placer County have tested positive for COVID-19, including a Rocklin man who died last week.


Yolo County has had one person test positive for the new coronavirus, likely a case of community transmission.

“This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in the region, and decisive action is needed to slow the spread of the disease,” the counties said in a news release Tuesday.

Sacramento County announced a similar shift on Monday evening.

Remote work is rising as organizations react to the coronavirus. The technology is ready, but the real hurdle might be our real-world workplace habits.

March 6, 2020

Top U.S. health officials have also said the country is expected to make the shift from containment, where people who have likely been exposed to the coronavirus are identified and quarantined, to mitigation, meaning the virus is too prevalent in a community to continue such measures and that the focus should be on trying to stop the spread to vulnerable residents and emergency responders.

Under the new recommendations in Placer and Yolo counties, which are effective through March 31, individuals who have come in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 will no longer be required to be quarantined for 14 days. Instead, a person with cold-like symptoms, regardless of whether they have the coronavirus or flu, are asked to self-quarantine and manage their symptoms with over-the-counter drugs.


People who develop breathing problems, extreme lethargy, or get better then a lot worse, should call their doctor, the recommendations say. A person with these symptoms should notify any medical office prior to arriving to ensure precautions are taken.

The counties also said while they have tests for COVID-19, they will be reserved for those with more serious symptoms since mild symptoms are treated the same regardless of the diagnosis.