Spike in positive Butte County COVID-19 cases Andy Miller: "Pretty dramatic increase"

A sharp spike upward in the local COVID-19 case count has Butte County public health officials worried and warning that caution must still be used in this “accelerated stage 2 of reopening.”

The public health department reported today (May 22) there were a total of 34 cases of the novel coronavirus in the county, a swift climb upward just since May 18. In a video released today, Health Officer Dr. Andy Miller called the increase “pretty dramatic,” and noted that there had been seven new cases in the last two days in just Oroville.

“If we continue to see more cases coming quickly… we will lose lives and we will not be able to open the businesses that we want to,” Miller said in the video. “We need to all work together on this and take it seriously and reverse this concerning trend of so many cases so quickly.”

Two Oroville cases had been linked to the Mother’s Day in-person service at Palermo Bible Family Church as of May 21. (The Butte County Public Health Department was not provided with a list of names of congregants at the service. Public health spokesperson Lisa Almaguer said only some of the 160 people who attended have been tested.)

“This tells us we have some pretty active community transmission” underway, Almaguer told ChicoSol. “We continue to look forward to reopening further, but we must be cautious in light of the recent increase in cases.” — Leslie Layton

This story has been updated to reflect the new total, announced May 22, of positive COVID-19 cases.