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A new testing site coming to Mendocino County for Covid-19. The Mendocino Voice reports it will be OptumServe testing and will come to the County within the next two to three weeks so we should be able to meet the governor’s standard of daily tests. The Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo will oversee the new state sponsored testing site. The Governor named Lake and Mendocino counties as areas where it’s hard to get a test but that it would soon change. As we reported earlier State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood reported working on getting the testing site to the area and Supervisor Ted Williams confirmed the same. There was also a tweet that went out last night from the County thanking the lawmakers. Mendocino will soon meet all criteria, because of the new testing site to conduct the required quantity of tests to reopen the County further into stage 2 of the 4 phase plan.

PG&E has been sending drones overhead to search for problems with their electrical transmission lines ahead of fire season. They are also conducting routine maintenance, and added more inspections on electrical and natural gas infrastructure with helicopters too. They’re flying the drones and helicopters around Mendocino and Humboldt counties in Tier 3 wildfire risk areas, and about 30% of the lines in Tier 2 risk areas, including Mendocino County, “along the coast from Fort Bragg to Elk, Potter Valley to Willits, Konocti to Middletown, Mendocino to Philo, Hopland and Ukiah” and from Garberville to Laytonville. The inspections are ongoing over several weeks to protect grid safety and reliability and for more vegetation management and system-hardening.

Two North Coast lawmakers working to get coronavirus testing nearby. State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood working with Mendocino County and the California Department of Public Health for a state testing site but they have not said where, just that it will be in the County. Wood says he’s been working overtime to make it happen as there are no testing sites anywhere in Rural Calif. The Board of Supervisors thanking both legislators, the County CEO and the Public Health Officer and others in the Public Health Office for their work to get access to testing for residents. CEO Angelo thanked the two lawmakers as well at the Supervisors meeting yesterday and residents for being part of the solution.

The California State University system says there will be no in-person classes in the fall. The 23 campuses across the state will be mostly online, but there may be limited exceptions for in person instruction. The announcement the same day as a US Senate panel heard from the country’s top infectious disease doctor on the coronavirus pandemic and that sadly, he said, there would be no vaccine or approved treatment for the virus before school starts in the fall.

As the Governor announced new shelter in place orders allowing for some businesses to reopen, Lake County may be joining a group of seven other Counties who’ve been given variances. The Gov. revised his order last week so that retailers, manufacturers and construction companies could resume in some fashion. There’s a four stage process for reopening and those at lower risk have been given the green light. The Lake County Board of Supervisors heard yesterday from the public health officer and the health services director on what the County has to do to meet the requirements for a broader reopening. That includes less than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents and no deaths in the past two weeks, both Lake County has. They also need to show how they could handle a spike in cases and temporary shelter plans for the homeless among other plans. So the health officer and staff from the Health Services Dept. are working on a plan to send to the state for an accelerated reopening.

The Governor’s office has announced they’ve conducted a million coronavirus tests. Gov. Newsom’s office says there have been more than a million diagnostic tests across the state, after setting a goal last month for 25,000 tests a day by the end of April – and reports now say they’ve hit more than 35,000 in the last few days. The Governor has said the more testing is important as the stay at home orders are loosened. He also announced more than 80 new testing sites in under-served communities and that pharmacies across the state would soon be testing sites too. The State Board of Pharmacy is giving permission to pharmacists so they can collect specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for consumers.

A man has been arrested after several fires last week. Police say 26 year old Frederick LJ Fitch was arrested last week for several fires set in the south end of Ukiah. Five were set in two spots, one behind the Furniture Design Center on Airport Park Boulevard, and four more in brush along the railroad tracks. The man was seen by a witness and on surveillance footage and found later with a machete and knife in his possession. He was then arrested but qualified for bail even though he was on probation due to the state’s order during the pandemic. Police say the fires were set intentionally using a propane tank and torch that were found in the man’s backpack. His bail was set at $60,000.

The Governor has announced some businesses can reopen with restrictions. The offices that can reopen have to follow physical distancing and other guidelines. He’s allowing strip malls and outlets to reopen for pickup only and pet grooming and car washing businesses.

The Ukiah Planning Commission has another hearing for a proposed cannabis dispensary on North State Street. The virtual Planning Commission today was put on hold after a planning staffer was told there might be a school nearby. Planning staff were supposed to investigate if it was just a school office or if they were conducting classes at the “Academic Success Center” for Native American students in the Ukiah Unified School District to go for college and career counseling advice and academic tutoring. The staff found that it was not a school per se under city code, or the state’s educational code, so it wouldn’t stop a proposed dispensary from operating.

A couple of large marijuana farms are being considered by the Lake County Planning Commission. The two large commercial cannabis farming projects on 54 acres are recommended by staff of Lake County in Benmore Valley. The property reportedly in a secluded area near the Hopland Grade. The develop wants to grow 39 acres of marijuana on one 55-acre fenced area, and another 15 acres on another 22 acre fenced area. There are other grows in the area too, but this is much bigger than the rest. The person applying says they will have at least eight people working on the grows and could hire up to 24 employees during the peak season.

With restaurants that reopen for dining, they have to do screenings of customers and employees, clean and disinfect and train employees on the new modifications. They’ve been among the hardest hit industry in the country, but many have survived on take out orders. Restaurants will have to provide disposable menus or disinfect them before and after use, no more pre-set tables, salt and pepper shakers sitting out, they can just be supplied as needed and disinfected after, and masks recommended for all restaurant workers and required for any who come within six feet (1.8 meters) of customers. No salad bars, buffets and shared bread baskets either.

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