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More Covid-19 cases in both Lake and Mendocino County for identical numbers. While we learned about a death in each county, due to red tape with the state, they are not  always confirmed in official numbers per county. Each county has also almost hit 100 cases. 96 each. In Lake County, the Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace has released demographics for the second time and says he’ll continue doing that each week. Dr. Pace told Lake County News the county’s steadily increasing its case load. Some he says are from contacts with known cases, and others related to an outbreak in a farmworker community. Dr. Pace says most new cases seem connected to other cases, and there’s not widespread community transmission. 55 of the current cases are attributed to current cases, 15 are under investigation and 15 have unknown origin and five are thought to be from a work contact, four within a household and two at the Lake County Jail. Pace says the most cases in the Clearlake area, then the Northshore, followed by Lakeport, Kelseyville Loch Lomond and Cobb.

The state Department of Public Health reports nearly 272,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 6,330 deaths since March. New data also shows 16,175 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 94 deaths in that field. The positivity rate, which had been holding steady, has been steadily climbing the last two weeks, along with hospitalization rates. The Gov. announced yesterday the infection rates are similar to what we saw when the pandemic first surfaced, but death rates seem lower. However health experts say hospitalizations, ICU caseloads and deaths have been lagging behind case numbers.  The state has tested millions and says its now working with public and private agencies to boost access to testing from 2,000 to 100,000 tests per day.

In the middle of fire season, several inmate fire camps are on lockdown due to coronavirus. The inmates usually work full time alongside firefighters in the summer time as the state is generally hit hard in dry, hot weather. Four prisoners at the California Correctional Center in Susanville had tested positive last month so state corrections officials ordered 12 out of 43 inmate fire camps to be in quarantine. Apparently Susanville is where most male inmates are trained, then placed in fire camps throughout Northern California. There are usually 90 fire crews, but now there are 77 due to sentencing reforms and early release. And only 30 crews were available right now because of quarantine orders.

Some prisoners are being turfed to other prisons or released from San Quentin due to the pandemic. The Governor says he’ll “decompress” the population, releasing about 1,000 inmates after more than 1,300 inmates tested positive for the virus. And the pandemic is being blamed on the death of at least five death row inmates. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reportedly moved inmates from a Southern California prison who were infected, to San Quentin. Officials admitted they didn’t conduct proper testing of inmates before the move, so San Quentin, which didn’t have any cases, became a new hotspot. The Gov. says the inmates should have never been transferred.

Six more counties have to close bars, movie theaters and wineries and other indoor businesses due to higher cases and hospitalizations. The Gov. ordered the closures after more than 11,500 new cases were reported in one day. And the state’s daily count hit a new high for the 20th day in a row. There were 7,300 virus hospitalizations Monday too. The state hit record levels of hospitalizations five out of the last six days. The Governor says the death numbers have been relatively stable, which was “encouraging”. But Newsom also said it was too early to know if a spike in deaths will come after the new cases and hospitalizations.

The next state budget has quite the budget gap due to coronavirus. The governor signed it into law last week with some major changes after it came out it would cut into schools and health care. State Senator Mike McGuire says the budget does not include “draconian cuts to public schools… and health and human services”. McGuire says lawmakers made a commitment to school districts that the state budget agreements will keep them whole. It also depends on another stimulus package as the state is still being ravaged by the virus. The state is still guaranteeing money for schools with deferred help if the stimulus money doesn’t come thru.  Assemblyman Jim Wood also spoke out about the previously proposed budget to cut into schools and healthcare. The legislature came up with counter-proposals because of a $54 billion deficit using the state’s rainy day fund.

Another death has been reported in Sonoma County due to coronavirus, bringing the county to a total of 12 deaths. The latest was a woman over the age of 65 who died Saturday. The county Department of Health Services did not release any more info on the death which happened two days after two others died last Thursday. The county also reported 114 new cases between Saturday and Monday, for a total infections of nearly 1,500 cases across the county since March 2nd when the first case was confirmed. Right now there are 681 active cases, and 773 people have recovered.

As part of the latest Lake County Grand Jury report, Pacific Gas and Electric was blamed for bad communication during intentional power shut-offs in severe fire weather. The Grand Jury is therefore recommending the county hire a public information officer for the Office of Emergency Services. The report also says the county needed more “detailed planning” from its cities and within the county to coordinate responses to simultaneous emergencies.  It came after several public safety power shutoffs last October during red flag warning weather days. PG&E was widely criticized for their handling of the first ones which affected thousands in the county.

You may hear some helicopters in the area as PG&E does flyover inspections of their equipment in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The pre-inspection flights ahead of “public safety power shut-offs” so the utility company can shorten how long they are. The company says they’re flying over lines to check for safety thru August across the North Bay. The company says it expects intentional power downs as they’ve done for the last two fire seasons, in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties. The company is blamed for starting 17 major fires in 2017 and the Camp Fire in 2018. Over 100 people died in all of the fires and thousands of homes were destroyed. The company has finally emerged from its bankruptcy brought on by all of the claims against them and pleaded guilty last month to 85 manslaughter counts and another for unlawfully starting the Camp Fire.

Reports of a stolen dog from the Mendocino Auto Auction ends in car chase, but good news for its owner. The man reported his 2 year old albino pitbull, Honey was inside a Ford pickup at the auction June 28th and taken with the truck. The California Highway Patrol reports arresting Daniel Risch who wouldn’t stop at a stop sign in Cloverdale, then led cops on a 20 minute chase. He crashed at a winery in Geyserville, then ran. In the meantime Animal Control was called and the CHP posted photos of Honey on its Facebook Page. The owner who works at the Auction saw the pictures and is getting his dog back. The dog was unharmed. Risch is charged with stealing a vehicle, possession of stolen property, evading and DUI.

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