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The Mendocino County Public Health Officer with the latest on the County’s attestation and the latest cases of COVID.

Up until this morning there have been 15 cases in the County, the 14th case confirmed last Friday was at the Assembly of God church in Redwood Valley, 3 people at a virtual service had all contracted the virus. There were more tests done after that, this past Tuesday after Lake County residents came forward to say they were affiliated somehow with the church, two were positive cases, one ended up in the hospital and that’s when the church was publicly named by residents.

More than 330 people tested at a drive thru site – 6 additional cases are connected to this Church, for a total of 9 people – 7 from Mendocino County, 6 identified today, one last week from our County, 2 in Lake County. The new cases are all in isolation.

Before these six cases, the County confirmed a 15th case contracted at their workplace in Sonoma County. 55 other people from Mendocino County work at Sonoma County workplace. The County is offering all who may have been in contact with the 15th case, and the 6 other new cases free testing.

500 new contact tracers in Calif. The Governor announced they will start to call, text and email people who may have been exposed to coronavirus. The Governor’s office says they will encourage those potentially exposed to quarantine or recommend they seek medical care. The Governor’s office also announced a media blitz, radio, television and billboard campaigns to bring more awareness to contact tracing and urge people to call. They’re being called the “CA COVID Team” and are being managed by the California Public Health Department. All information is confidential and will not be shared with outside entities. The state hoping to eventually hire 10,000 contact tracers across Calif.

The Avenue of Flags is happening in Lake County for Memorial Day, but on a smaller scale. Lake Co News reports there are usually almost 1,000 American flags placed at the Hartley, Kelseyville, Lower Lake and Upper Lake cemeteries, but this year, while they almost canceled, they decided to just put 50 flags up only at the Lower Lake Cemetery. Organizers say the display will be from the front gate to the George Mitchell Building and the service poles. A small gathering at the cemetery that morning will then disperse and put up the flags Monday. If you want to help, they say you’re welcome with a facial covering on.

Mendocino County got the go ahead from the state to reopen deeper into phase 2 of the governor’s 4 phase plan to open California. The County got the green light Wednesday to reopen more businesses, including dine in restaurants, retail and more. The county had to show they’ve met certain criteria to reopen including a low case count of COVID-19, proof they have the infrastructure to detect and safely isolate new cases and personal protective equipment for front line healthcare workers, amongst over requirements. The County has had 15 cases, no hospitalizations and no deaths. The Public Health Officer has issued a new shelter-in-place order that goes into effect at noon today, allowing limited dine-in restaurants, in-person shopping at retail stores, preventive dental care, limited use of shared pools for child care units, children’s extracurricular units and work groups. Salons, hotels, airbnb’s, bars, winery tasting rooms and public pools are still not allowed to reopen.

No college entrance exams will be needed for some higher education campuses in Calif. The UC Board of Regents cut SAT and ACT in their applications for admission by California high schoolers for the nine undergraduate campuses in a unanimous vote. The regents agreed with president Janet Napolitano’s idea to phase out college admissions testing. She said it was because of the “correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student” and sometimes, their ethnicity. The testing had already been removed due to the pandemic, but this makes it permanently, test optional after the pandemic too.

More patrols will be out, even though there have been less cars on the road, for the Memorial Day weekend. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is also encouraging essential travel only and physical distancing if Californians do leave their homes. They say if you do plan to travel you should be in touch with the county or state where you’re going to find out if there are any local restrictions or directions for people from outside the area. They are conducting their yearly Memorial Day Maximum Enforcement Period too. The CHP Commissioner says it doesn’t matter what changes in the world, the people of Calif. can count on them to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

The state of California quickly paid back almost $1.4 billion dollars to the federal government needed to pay out a huge spike in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state borrowed nearly $350 million in April and almost $1.1 billion earlier this month. The state paid back the money with money from businesses who paid their taxes to cover unemployment. The Unemployment Dept. reported it was the highest period for receiving the yearly employer contributions and the department had asked the state for authority to borrow up to $10 billion between April and June.

With the state’s approval or not, more than 1,200 pastors in Calif. announcing they’re going ahead with in-person services May 31st even though they haven’t been given approval or any guidance on reopening. A lawyer who represents one church is suing on behalf of the more than 1,200 pastors who he says all signed a “declaration of essentiality” announcing they would open their doors again May 31st, but that they would have physical distancing and other precautions so they don’t risk spreading coronavirus. The lawyer says there are pastors who represent more than one church and he expects at least 3,000 churches would have in-person services on May 31st.

Any public school child in the Ukiah Unified School District classified as eligible for the free/reduced price school meals will be getting up to $365 for their family. The money comes in a debit card, a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer card, to be used at the local Farmers Market or at grocery stores. Kids eligible for the meal program at schools are getting the extra food benefits to help their families during the coronavirus emergency. They’re being automatically sent to students enrolled in a school meal program after the state verifies their eligibility through other state databases like Cal Fresh and MediCal. If it has not arrived by today, families are encouraged to go online to: https://ca.p-ebt.org/ or call 877 328 9677.

Lake Tahoe still discouraging people from heading there, and now just before the Memorial Day weekend, non-residents face a $1,000 fine for visiting. There is Phase 2 reopening in both Truckee and South Lake Tahoe but no hotels or short-term rentals are open to the general public, only those who have to travel for business or essential reasons.  Those with second homes in South Lake Tahoe are now allowed, they had been discouraged before. But now the city says they’re welcome in city limits to their own property, but no lodging is available for short-term renters or patrons at this time. And South Lake Tahoe Police say not in Tahoe this time, for anyone else after the city passed an ordinance allowing $1,000 fines for violators of the travel ban.

CHP and the Shasta County Sheriff’s office have rescued a bald eagle from the middle of a road outside Redding. Drivers spotted the injured mature bald eagle on Interstate 5, south of Redding on the southbound side. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had a picture of the bird up online sitting on the highway. The CHP and the sheriff’s office on the scene and moved it out of traffic and waited with it for a wildlife officer to get there.  The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife says it had no obvious signs of injury, only some blood on its mouth. They rescued the 9-pound eagle and it was transferred to the Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue.

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