By Marissa Perlman

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Coronavirus exposure no longer means automatic isolation in counties across the Sacramento area.

Public health leaders in Placer, Yolo and Solano Counties are joining the efforts of Dr. Peter Beilensen in Sacramento County, saying they will focus on reducing the risk to the population at the greatest risk of dying from the virus. They’re moving from containment to mitigation of the virus.

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“Part of this is quarantining by another name,” Beilensen said.

This strategy now hinges on whether a person is showing symptoms. It shifts the focus from “contact tracing,” or identifying every person a known COVID-19 infected person had contact with, to protecting the community. Health leaders say this will free up public health resources to protect the sick and the elderly.

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“We’re trying to avoid risk to people who are most at risk, seniors and those with chronic underlying conditions,” said Dr. Beilensen.

He says the move also aims to prevent over-whelming area hospitals before it happens.

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“Hospitals have to be taken care of people with heart attacks and cancer and other things,” he said.

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The change in strategy from these health leaders may seem risky from a public perception standpoint because of the level of fear of this new illness.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, an infectious disease expert with UCLA says this makes sense, as he tracks the spread of this virus. He also says the responsibility falls in the hands of the county leaders, not federal leaders.

“We will see pockets of infection clusters of outbreaks, but they will be geographically localized,” he said.

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Refer to your local public health department for isolation guidelines.

Marissa Perlman