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No rate increases from the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District as planned. The Daily Journal reports there was a special teleconference Tuesday with the District’s board of directors who voted unanimously to hold off on the planned rate increases for sewer customers. The newspaper reports due to state law utility companies are required to send rate increase notices to customers, both the Ukiah City Council and District previously approved a study on rate increases and sending notices to customers because of Proposition 218 which requires notice ahead of an increase. But at the meeting this week board members decided to reconsider the rate increase at a time when the pandemic has caused a loss to so many.

The Lake Mendocino recreation areas are officially closed to the public. This is part of the revised shelter- in-place order by the Mendocino Public Health Officer, so now you cannot access the north or south boat ramps, or all day-use areas. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the public should not even visit the lake and stay at home. The closure has no date certain for how long it will last. The latest order says any exercise that includes walking, running, hiking and biking need to be at home somehow and that you may not use a car to get to where you want to go to recreate. If you do go with someone else, you must maintain social distancing protocols.

The state is loosening cannabis and booze restrictions, but in Mendocino County, dispensaries and recreational retailers can only operate curbside pickup or delivery options. There are some changes to essential businesses including babysitters which are considered essential and may come to the home of a family whose parents are working at an Essential Business. Those who work at animal care facilities are also included. No vacation rentals are allowed that is not considered essential to the governmental regulations on essential business. Restaurants are considered essential businesses but there’s no customer self-service allowed. Employers may not allow a sick employee to work. The sale of clothing does not allow handling or trying on of a possible purchase. All recreational sites, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, waterways for recreational purposes, and congregational areas, picnic tables and canopy areas at recreational sites are closed.

Emergency housing for the homeless in Lake County is being looked at. Lake Co News reports various local agencies are working for a stop gap measure for those who are homeless and therefore more vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace told the news site, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lake County. Pace ordered Lake County residents to do what the Governor ordered, shelter in place, the homeless had been exempted as for the un-sheltered or those with no housing options. The health officer reported to the Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday about his concern for the homeless at the time of the pandemic and says it could spread into the community as there’s no social distancing, less places for hand washing and other ways to prevent the spread.

The Lake Area Rotary Club Association says they’re raising money for senior centers dealing with coronavirus. Lake Co News reports the association had been a major fundraiser for fire recovery in Lake County, but changed course yesterday, with a new mission for emergency relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization says its Fire Relief Fund will donate $40,000 to the four senior centers in Lake County who have lost income from their thrift stores because of the virus, plus they’re seeing more of a demand for home-delivered meals from Meals on Wheels.

More tests are being conducted in the state for coronavirus. The State Department of Public Health reports the amount of tests have more than doubled, yesterday saying almost 67,000 tests were done. Commercial and private labs along with the state’s 22 labs and county health labs are all currently testing. About 18,300 tests came back and another 48,600 are pending. When more tests are done, more cases arise. Lake Co News reports there were 3,185 confirmed cases in Calif. and 67 deaths because of COVID-19 in California. Dr. Gary Pace, the public health officer in Lake County says there’s been 35 tests have come back negative, and 15 to 20 more are still pending.

Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation donating four more ventilators at Mendocino Coast District Hospital as they expect critical needs patients.  The $165,000 to also cover the cost of other equipment to run the ventilators. The healthcare foundation says the hospital CEO says the funding will save lives. They report spending several weeks assessing the Mendocino coastal healthcare community’s most pressing needs and have reached out to local healthcare organizations, clinics, and practitioners about the pandemic. The foundation says its starting a special fund to protect public health and help those affected by the disease.  They’ve got more money to provide and are asking also for donations to help cover community healthcare to buy more masks and Personal Protective Equipment, supplies like hand sanitizer, wipes, and other products to clean and protect surfaces from contamination and thermometers and assessment equipment.

Some smaller shops in Ukiah want the community to know they’re also delivering groceries like the larger chains. Forks Ranch Market says they can deliver if you please pay for groceries over the phone with a credit card. They’re looking to stay in the valley with their deliveries. They’re also offering curbside pickup. Redwood Valley Market says they’re also delivering to customers but only for special circumstances like those who have to self-isolate because they are sick or elderly. Westside Renaissance Market is also offering delivery. Raleys is offering the same. Safeway and Costco are also doing curbside pickup.

Crab fishing season in Humboldt County is essentially done. The president of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing association says the entire seafood industry has been devastated by coronavirus. The crabbing season is usually slower in March anyway, but apparently it’s much lower than ever before beginning with a total stoppage of China accepting live crabs. Then the domestic market took a hit as restaurants started closing. It comes after terrible crabbing seasons including last year when the season prematurely closed because of whale entanglements off the California coast.

No cell phone service to call for help has led to the destruction of a home by fire in a remote location in Fort Bragg. The Fire Chief says they went out to the two bedroom home Tuesday morning, finding flames “pouring out of every window and the front door”. The Chief says they couldn’t save the home after nobody there could get inside to call from a landline and there was no cell service on the inside earlier. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. But the chief says he thinks it probably started in the chimney. Nobody was home at the time. Someone was staying there but were not there when the fire broke out.

In Mendocino County, new measures at a couple local markets to serve seniors. Harvest Market in Fort Bragg and Harvest Market at Mendosa’s in Mendocino are offering senior hours, they say they will have freshly-sanitized carts, handwashing stations and blue tape on the ground in front of registers and counters to remind you to follow six-foot distancing between others for social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. The elderly and immunocompromised can shop between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. in Fort Bragg and in Mendocino, the same group can hit the market between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. They also have signs up inside and outside the store to remind people not to enter if they feel sick, to maintain social distancing and leave reusable bags at home. You will also notice glass in front of registers as a barrier between the cashier and customer. There is also a handwashing station outside to encourage you to wash before entering and when you leave.

Plans being worked out for Lake County employees to figure out who is essential and nonessential, plus new paid leave and remote work options. The Record Bee reports employees of the county will find out if they can get emergency paid sick leave, as part of new federal legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which could cover up to three months leave for county workers who need to care for a family member. The Lake County Administrative Officer says accrued sick leave can be used for the first two weeks of leave and the rest has to be paid by the county. She also says other counties are even offering more, and they’re discussing that possibility.

Some restrictions on cannabis dispensaries and restaurants easing due to the pandemic. Marijuana retailers are being classified as essential so they can stay open during the coronavirus crisis. But as with all other essential services, there are social-distancing orders. Cannabis shops have been given waivers so clients can buy it from their cars and have it delivered to their homes without a signature required so they don’t have to knock on your door. Customers will instead text a picture of their state identification to the dispensary. There’s been reports of long lines outside dispensaries with some reporting their sales are surging.

Some local seamstresses and sewers are making face masks or repairing masks as there’s a massive shortage across the country. They don’t protect as well as professional masks according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should only be used with caution. But the site lists bandanas and scarves as last-resort options for health care providers. In Chico a group of volunteers at Enloe Medical Center have been sewing like crazy. They have 400 volunteers who’ve been told to stop their usual workloads because of the virus.

An emergency meeting’s been called of the Lake County Board of Supervisors regarding the coronavirus. It comes after the Governor’s executive order on sheltering at home. The State Public Health Officer also recently distributed a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” who have to keep working even though there’s a Shelter-In-Place across the state. The Board of Supervisors can define who they feel are “critical government workers.” An Ad Hoc Committee was created for that at the meeting earlier this week and that will be one of the topics of tomorrow’s emergency meeting. The Chair of the Board says they’re working with County leaders to come up with the list which has been a challenge. The other matters to be discussed cannot wait until next Tuesday’s Board meeting. The meeting is online tomorrow at 3pm. You can attend by emailing, to schedule Zoom Meeting access

There are still no confirmed cases in Lake County. The County is not stating how long the shelter in place situation will go on, but the County says in China it took about a month for the viral activity to start dropping, they also took more stringent measures than we have in the states. Testing has been a challenge according to the Public Health Office, in Lake County and throughout the region.  The office is starting to research places to get a hold of supplies too. The Public Health Officer says even though we have no cases and there’s a lack of tests, it doesn’t change the preparations needed, stay home and keep social distancing.  He says it’s possible the virus will arrive in the coming weeks (if it hasn’t already), and that delays are helpful for preparations, and buy time to get needed supplies.

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