By Anna Giles

MARYSVILLE (CBS13) — After widespread social media posts telling people not to get tested, Yuba County leaders are speaking out and telling people to do the opposite.

It’s about more than just health. A county spokesperson said more testing is the key to getting businesses open faster.

“People have been screaming ‘stop testing and that way our numbers will go down.’ Well they have gone down, but the positivity rate, that’s a catch-all right there,” said Russ Brown, the spokesperson for Yuba County.

The positivity rate is the percentage of overall tests that come back positive. Brown said that number is increasing in Yuba County, but people have the power to change that. Lowering the positivity rate is necessary in order to move through Governor Newsom’s tier system.

“A lot of the cases being tested are those that are big family groups, big gatherings that we know there was a positive case. And we go test them and half or more than half come out positive. So you get this skewed number already,” Brown said.

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He said the solution is a bigger sampling.

“Right now we have smoky air, people have a cough and you don’t know what it is and you want to be careful, go get tested,” Brown said.

The county is trying to appeal to people like Tabitha Burgess.

“The county absolutely needs to open back up. I think them regulating what we can have open and what we can’t have open is a bunch of baloney,” Burgess said.

Beating the rules, by following them. From the county’s perspective, its a win-win.

“All that we want to do is get businesses open that’s all we’re interested in. We’re not trying to oppress people. We’re not trying to put our foot on their throats,” Brown said.

If you look at the positivity rate in surrounding counties, they’re all much lower than the rate in Yuba County. Even Sacramento has a lower positivity rate. Yuba County leaders hope their community will be motivated to match their neighbors’ success.

You can find testing locations here: www.yuba.org/coronavirus/Screening_Testing.php

As of Monday, Yuba County had 1,085 confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven reported deaths. In neighboring Sutter County, officials reported 1,599 cases and 10 deaths. Yuba OES says while Sutter County has more cases, their positivity is lower, putting them in the range to go from the purple tier to the red tier, where businesses such as movie theaters and restaurants can partially reopen indoors.

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