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High COVID-19 case rates in SLO County prompt new incentives, action on pandemic

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department
If your test results come back positive, expect a text message from the SLO County Health Departmentwith next steps.

With daily COVID-19 positive case rates remaining high in San Luis Obispo County, the Public Health Department and a local school district are making some changes.

The SLO County Public Health Department is adding another incentive in hopes of persuading people to get vaccinated, offering concert tickets to those who take the shot.

Meanwhile, to avoid outbreaks in schools, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has created a new position to track cases of the virus.

These changes come amid busy times at COVID-19 testing sites throughout SLO County. This week, the county added a new testing site in Grover Beach to help keep up with demand.

“We are doing about 375 tests a day in Paso Robles, and about 575 tests a day in San Luis Obispo,” Michelle Shoresman with SLO County Public Health said. 

Health officials are also cautiously preparing for another possible surge from Labor Day gatherings. It’s been just over a week since the holiday, and symptoms tend to show up anywhere from two days to two weeks after exposure.

“We’re just nervous in general right now," Shoresman said. "Case counts have just been so high, and we’ve watched them just go up since the June reopening.”

With positive cases popping up in local schools, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District at their board meeting Tuesday night approved a new position — someone who can track and monitor COVID testing and positive cases. 

“Having a contact tracer actually helps us gather the data more quickly so that we can mitigate any type of spread," Jennifer Gaviola, Deputy Superintendent for Paso Robles School District said. "Our goal and intention is to keep kids in school. We cannot close schools again." 

A major role of the contact tracer would be coordinating the weekly testing for staff who are not vaccinated, which is roughly 200 people. 

“In any of those cases, if there’s positive tests that come up, we have to interview the individuals and see if there was an exposure to others, and if we need to quarantine," Gaviola said. "So you can just imagine the layers this person in this job will be doing.”

With about 63% of eligible residents fully vaccinated in the county, the Public Health Department is hoping to attract non-vaccinated individuals by offering “shots for shows.”

People who get vaccinated can pick up a free ticket to attend a show Thursday from 4 to 8pm at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo.

Tickets to performances by Gary Clark Jr., Chicano Batman, Dawes, Postmodern Jukebox, Pennywise, The Expendables, Reckless Kelly, Brett Young, Metalachi, and Lanco will be available to choose from.
SLO County Public Health said ticket choice will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and no exchanges or refunds will be given. 

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