Sonora football

The Sonora High School varsity football team on the field in November 2019.

New guidelines released by the California Department of Public Health on Friday will allow certain youth and adult recreational sports, including football, to resume play as of Feb. 26.

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department shared the new guidelines in a daily COVID-19 update on Friday that also reported four new coronavirus cases, one of which is an inmate at Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown.

Outdoor high-contact sports such as football, basketball, rugby, water polo and soccer can resume on Feb. 26 even in purple-tier counties, such as Tuolumne and Calaveras, under special conditions outlined by the guidelines.

The county Public Health Department said it was reviewing the exhaustive list of guidelines (which can be found here: and consulting with the state to determine how they will be implemented locally.

Meanwhile, extreme winter weather across the United States this week continued to delay COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Tuolumne County on Friday and could impact immunization clinics in the Mother Lode next week.

“We have 1,100 doses that we expected by this time, which have not arrived,” Michelle Jachetta, the county Public Health director, said Friday morning. “We have not been provided with an expected arrival date as they have not been able to safely ship out the vaccine. It is everyone’s goal to get vaccine to our county as quickly and safely as possible, and we certainly hope that vaccine will arrive next week in time for our next scheduled clinic.”

Individuals age 70 and older who have not yet received COVID-19 vaccinations, do not have appointments scheduled, and want to be vaccinated, are being urged to call the county Public Health Department at (209) 533-7440.

New community cases reported on Friday were identified as a man in his 40s; a woman in her 50s; and a man in his 60s.

The most recent coronavirus-related death announced in the county was a man in his 80s whose passing was counted Thursday. The department said the man was previously hospitalized. No other information about the man’s death was released. His death was the county’s 56th coronaviru-related fatality.

As of Friday, the county had tallied 3,870 total coronavirus cases since early last year when the pandemic began, with 2,488 community cases and 1,382 inmate cases. Inmate cases accounted for 35.7% of the county’s cases. No inmates at the SCC prison have died from COVID-19, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

There were 32 active cases and two COVID-positive individuals were hospitalized in the county as of Friday.

The county’s daily case rate of 13.1 per 100,000 people and testing positive rate of 4% were down slightly from the previous week. The county still remained in the state’s purple tier for widespread risk of coronavirus infection.

The county Public Health Department continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in Phase 1A and Phase 1B-Tier 1 of a state vaccine distribution plan, for individuals age 70 and older as well as education workers, childcare workers, and emergency services workers. Visit online for more information.

A state vaccine dashboard updated Friday showed 10,783 vaccine doses had been administered in Tuolumne County. The county’s estimated population is 54,660.

As of Friday afternoon, California had counted more than 3.42 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 48,340 coronavirus deaths. Nationally, the pandemic had resulted in more than 27.97 million confirmed cases and contributed to the deaths of more than 495,470 Americans.

A regional stay home order that was based on intensive care unit availability in the 12-county San Joaquin Valley region, which includes Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, was rescinded in late January.

The COVID-19 testing site at Mother Lode Fairgrounds, set up by the state and run by Optum Serve-LHI, is supposed to be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Once-a-week testing sites are being staged at Groveland Community Hall, 18720 Main Street in Groveland, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays; and at Tuolumne Memorial Hall, 18375 Fir Ave. in the town of Tuolumne, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. Appointments can be scheduled at or by calling (888) 634-1123.

People with concerns about new or worsening symptoms can call Adventist Health Sonora’s COVID-19 Triage Line at (209) 536-5166.

The county COVID-19 call center is open during normal office hours. People who have questions or concerns can call (209) 533-7440.

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