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The Gov. says they are ramping up coronavirus testing and after getting results back that will be critical to deciding when the strict stay-at-home orders can be lifted and people can go back to work. Governor Newsom’s announcement earlier today and says the pandemic is still spreading and a growing health threat so lifting any restrictions prematurely could lead to a second wave of infections and deaths. He says he spoke to the President today who promised more specimen swabs for coronavirus testing and that 100,000 swabs were expected in California this week and 250,000 next week. He also says there will be more testing sites and there would be more antibody tests too. Right now they’re doing about 14,500 tests a day between both public and private medical labs, but they hope to get to 25,000 tests per day by the end of April and as many as 80,000 in the near future.

California looking to help businesses that had to close down because of the pandemic. A new 80 member task force has been formed to help with inventory problems and credit card debt. It’s co-chaired by former presidential candidate and businessman Tom Steyer along with several other big name business leaders and entrepreneurs including Walt Disney Co. Executive Chair Bob Iger, Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Patagonia CEO and President Rose Marcario, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Homeboy Industries founder Father Gregory Boyle and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Leaders of 10 labor unions are also included and the four previous, living Governors too, Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, and Democrats Gray Davis and Jerry Brown.

Assemblyman Jim Wood says he’s frustrated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and called on the Gov. to get legislators more involved in the process and provide more information they could pass on to their constituents and local officials. Wood says they could help move things to another level and says he’s meeting resistance when he tries. He says it’s a missed opportunity as they have the relationships with their local governments, cities, counties, special districts, hospitals, doctor groups and more. This in a budget subcommittee hearing he was invited to earlier this week where lawmakers peppered the state’s Health and Human Services Agency and members of the Finance Department with questions.

State Senator Mike McGuire on a new bipartisan committee to review how the state has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will release their findings along with recommendations for future preparedness for this and future pandemics. McGuire says the state has been at the forefront of this crisis, taking early and decisive action, the most in the country, to try to slow the spread of the virus. But he adds the bipartisan special committee will help, because the state can always do better. They’re focusing on what has been done right, but more importantly, where the state can improve and how to be better prepared in the months to come.

Free facial masks from the Frank R. Howard Foundation. The foundation has purchased 10,000 cloth masks for those who live in Willits. They’re locally made and were offered at cost to the Foundation. They’re going to start delivering them this week to Mariposa Market, Safeway, Grocery Outlet, Mendo Mill and Coast Hardware. The Foundation says those are places people have to visit for food and supplies so they wanted them available when resident go shopping. There will be more coming every two to three weeks as they’re made, so the Foundation says if you go and cannot get one, give it a minute more are on the way.

The Public Health officer in Lake County reported to the Board of Supervisors regarding the shelter in place orders for coronavirus. Dr. Gary Pace says this Friday there could be some loosening of some of the strict guidelines on recreation to allow people to go hiking, possibly fishing and enjoy limited activity on Clear Lake, including the use of non-motorized boats, following the governor’s orders moving forward, and reassessing in two weeks. Dr. Pace also called for the formation of a working group made up of government leaders to find a path forward for reopening businesses. Supervisor Rob Brown said he wanted businesses to reopen at the same level as the state and not to wait until Friday. Pace agreed to try to move faster on lifting some restrictions, and Supervisor Bruno Sabatier said areas with less people and less infections should be able to reopen sooner. Supervisor Moke Simon cautioned against moving too quickly.

A new study at UC Davis shows promise for a drug in use for gravely ill patients with coronavirus. Antiviral medicine remdesivir was given on a compassionate-use basis at UC Davis Health and other hospitals in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Japan. 53 patients with COVID-19 between 23 to 82 years old admitted to the hospital between January 25th to March 7th got a ten day course of the drug. Nearly 70% of the patients were on ventilators. 68% had improved oxygen levels after the drug was given and half of those on ventilators were taken off, and nearly half were discharged.  Then almost a month later, 84% were discharged or had improved.

Congressman John Garamendi working to get expanded coronavirus testing. Garamendi’s the co-chair of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus and looking to get America’s service organizations to ramp up testing and conduct contact tracing. The Undertaking National Initiatives to Tackle Epidemic Act (UNITE Act) would get more volunteers in AmeriCorps and FEMA to bring more testing and contract tracing to be able to find cases, and monitor the contacts of those who are infected.

A large grant for a new transit hub and that could fund the modernization of Lake Transit Authority’s  fleet has been approved. The Executive Director of Lake Transit says the grant program is extremely competitive and in the past, rural applicants had less success accessing the awards. Lake won $13 million from the state of California’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. There was $500 million dollars awarded by the California State Transportation Agency to 17 recipients including Lake. They will purchase hydrogen run buses with the money and pay for the new transit hub proposed on county-owned property in Clearlake, near the courthouse and the Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College.

Cops in Clearlake on the lookout for whoever burglarized a local pharmacy. Cops say they were notified by a burglary alarm going off at North Lake Medical Pharmacy early Tuesday morning. They found a smashed window, but nobody inside. They took a look at the surveillance footage from the businesses noticing two people inside, one of them stealing some pill bottles. Police say they will release the surveillance video footage after they receive a copy of it.

The Gov. says he’s against local municipalities taking their own actions to loosen the statewide shelter in place restrictions in place more than a month.  Gov. Newsom says his office has been trying to organize the many conversations they’ve had with city and county leaders about orders and he’ll speak on it again today. He says they’re working to get more tests and trace communities where the positive cases may land. The state averaging about 14,500 tests a day, less than what he said he hoped to achieve by the end of April. The Gov. says moving too fast on loosening guidelines could cause the virus to spread more. The Press Democrat reports in San Luis Obispo they were starting to come up with a loosening because they had flattened the curve and were headed down.  In Los Angeles County though, they are having more cases and the Mayor says loosening restrictions could doom the community.

State Public Health Officials allowing, for the first time, asymptomatic people to be tested for Covid-19. This means Calif will be the first state to have less restrictive federal guidelines to increase the amount of testing. Some experts hailing the decision to help slow the spread of the pandemic, others say it’s too early to enhance testing after state officials said there was still an inadequate amount of tests across the state. Calif has been following federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying only hospitalized patients and symptomatic health care workers would first be tested. Then after that symptomatic patients who are elderly or had underlying conditions.

The amount of testing ramping up in Sonoma County. Public health care workers are testing high risk groups like health care workers and those who work or live in group care facilities. That will start this weekend with up to 200 tests a day at drive-thru sites after a slew of specimen swabs, that were in short supply, arrived in the County. There were 10 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Sonoma County yesterday for a total of 192 positives, or about 4% of just over 4,500 tests conducted since early March. 87 people have recovered from the virus and two people died.

The Mendocino County DA reports two violent gang members will head out of town as soon as the Corrections Dept. will take them. The two were found guilty of randomly shooting at another man as he drove past them on the way to Boonville. The DA reports the two suspects thought the victim was part of a rival gang so they went after him. 18 year old Alfredo Asher Knight of Redwood Valley pleaded guilty to attempted murder and two sentencing enhancements, that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the attempted murder and committed the attempted murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang. The other one, 20 year old Marshall Leland Stillday of Hopland faced the same charges. The two look to hit middle age behind bars once they’re placed inside. The two members of the Norteño criminal street gang.

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