Mt. Shasta in Northern California is a mecca for skiers, riders, climbers, and even those looking for intelligent life beyond Earth. However, in recent months, the mostly rural and wide-open yet comparatively unpopulated area has had an alarming uptick in COVID-19 cases and deaths. California as a whole has had some success in containing the virus, despite being the most populous state in the nation, but it is also a complex collection of urban and rural areas that has approached the virus county-by-county, as well as region-by-region due to the diversity and size of the state.
According to SFGATE.com, Shasta County had added two more residents to the county’s death toll: bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 24, according to health officials (as of October 8, 2020). In addition, as early as last week, the county has reported 335 new cases. Despite the wide-open spaces and relatively smaller population than other areas of California, experts warn that the virus can spread easily anywhere the recommended precautions are not taken.
The spread in Shasta County has mostly been driven by spikes of cases at an evangelical school and a nursing facility in Redding, the county’s largest city, with a population of 91,000. Although full contact tracing has not been performed, people from urban areas sought the wide-open spaces Shasta has to offer and nursing establishments and schools are the perfect locales for the virus to spread quickly. Although Mt. Shasta is actually in Siskiyou county, Shasta county is just to the South.
The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California required that the entire 1,600-person student body self-quarantine as the number of coronavirus cases among students and staff rose to 137 since classes started back in early September. The school said in a statement there are currently 68 active cases as of October 8, 2020. In addition to spread that was observed in schools and nursing facilities, off-campus housing has been a primary source of transmission, along with “social interactions outside of school hours.” The school does not have on-campus housing and encourages students on its website to “infiltrate the neighborhoods of Redding,” recommending 17 “revival regions in need of transformation,” according to reports in SFgate.com. Windsor Redding Care Center has reported 17 COVID-19 deaths, and more than 60 residents and health care workers have tested positive according to data issued by the state of California.