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Mendocino County is adding staff to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. After four businesses had employees test positive, the Board of Supervisors were advised the county is stepping up enforcement for those not abiding by the public health order. County CEO Carmel Angelo reported to the board that the Environmental Health Dept. was working with businesses to help with safety precautions and education. The four businesses are Ukiah Natural Foods, Ardzrooni Vineyard in Anderson Valley, Sherwood Oaks Health Center in Fort Bragg where 12 people got infected and Fort Bragg Center for Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry. The county adopted an ordinance whereby folks can be fined if they’re caught without a mask on. Angelo says the Environmental Health Department is also going to help enforce the ordinance. But the priority is reopening businesses. The Sheriff told the board they’re continually reminding people to wear a mask and they’re receiving calls from people about violators. 

Since reports have been circulating on the effectiveness of mask wearing the local economic development and financing corporation got nearly 300,000 surgical masks. They also got 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for local businesses throughout Mendocino County. There’s a new campaign, #MaskUpMendocino that looks to educate locals to help slow the spread of the virus. The Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance has a giant sign up to help bring awareness to wearing a mask. The Ukiah Conference Center will be stacked with masks and sanitizer for anyone who wants it. And the Mendocino Business and Government Leaders group is working with the Tourism Alliance, the county Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center for an Ambassador Program to hand out materials to local businesses along with MaskUpMendocino signs, rack cards and posters.

We have a new – old doctor in town. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has appointed a new Public Health Officer. Dr. Andy Coren, a retired, local doctor, well known to the community of Ukiah has been hired. The current Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan says Coren is a “local hero” and he’ll serve the community more fully, because he also speaks Spanish. There are now 227 cases of coronavirus in Mendocino County. There are less people in the hospital though than yesterday. 7 people, including one in an ICU.

Money for enforcing alcohol in public. The Lakeport City council gives a greenlight to use grant money from the Alcohol Beverage Control and Alcoholic Policing Partnership Program Grant. The $25,000 will be used to conduct enforcement and training regarding booze in public. It’ll pay for police overtime on programs in Clearlake and  Lakeport. The Lakeport Police Chief says they’re working with their neighboring city which will be responsible for the fiscal management of the grant. The operation to help prevent non-compliance and help teach local businesses and their employees for decoy operations.

Sonoma County looking to get tough on violators of their public health order. The Press Democrat reports the board of supervisors is considering fines on businesses and individuals who ignore restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus. The meeting today to consider a plan by county staff to establish a central hotline where people can call in to report others not following the rules. Those who violate, could be fined up to $100 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses. They’re also looking at a bilingual public information campaign so locals are educated on safety and health measures like mask wearing. The county is on the state’s watchlist and is dealing with a major resurgence of the virus, more deaths and hospitalizations.

Sonoma County reports the two latest deaths were also residents of senior care facilities. The Press Democrat reports the two were both over 65 years old with other health issues. They died on Tuesday. One lived at a skilled nursing home and the other at a residential care facility for the elderly. This means now that 22 people have died from coronavirus in the county. And most at a skilled nursing or assisted living type situation. 16 out of the 22. Add one more to make 17, they all died within the last month. California is also now ahead of New York, who in the early days, struggled to contain the virus. The total there 413,500 and here, 422,000.

A unanimous vote by the Marin County Board of Supervisors to get tough on those not wearing masks. They overwhelmingly approved an urgency ordinance, which goes into effect immediately to fine those not wearing masks. It allows town, city and county staffers along with police officers to deal with violators of health and safety codes to help slow the spread of the virus. A task force will go out to tips by the public too of businesses that are breaking the rules.  Fines for businesses from $250 to $10,000, and for individuals, from $25 to $500 if they’re not wearing a facial covering in public.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept. still searching for whoever may have ignited businesses and destroyed them by arson in Covelo. Round Valley Art Center, North Fork Café and Western Auto Inc all gutted by the fire last Saturday morning in the 76000 block of Highway 162. Deputies and firefighters on the scene investigating, determining the fire was intentionally set. They say it started on the outside of Western Auto behind the property. But they have no suspects at this time. They say they continue to pore thru the wreckage and look at surveillance footage from the area for clues. They have identified multiple persons of interest and continue to ask anyone who may have seen anyone to call. You can remain anonymous. They’re also asking nearby businesses or individuals who may have recording or surveillance equipment to also be in touch.

Another inmate at San Quentin’s death row has died from coronavirus. Calif. corrections officials have confirmed 67 year old John Beames died Tuesday outside the prison, at a hospital. He had been sentenced for a 1995 brutal torture and murder of a 15 month old child in Tulare County. The state Supreme Court upheld the man’s conviction and sentence in 1997. So far there have been 14 virus-related deaths at the prison where there are more than 700 prisoners on death row. The prison itself has 860 active Covid-19 cases and almost 1,200 have recovered. Across the state prison system there are more than 1,900 active virus cases. With that a judge has ordered prison officials to empty or hold up to 100 beds at each one of the 35 prisons in the state for isolating and quarantining.

The Clearlake City Council is sending a long response to the Grand Jury regarding its report about the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office and tax-defaulted property sales. The grand jury was not kind to the city, saying it used the wrong information for its complaint about thousands of properties worth millions in unpaid taxes. The jury also saying the city acted in an inappropriate manner by criticizing the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s job performance. The city manager says the info the city got regarding the tax defaulted properties was from the county and the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office, so they had no reason to doubt the information. The response letter is posted on Lake Co News.

Schools in Willits starting up online. Ahead of a special school board meeting, the board was not planning on any action for the new school year, but then did, deciding on a Monday, Aug. 31st start with distance learning. The school superintendent says their aim is to provide an improved educational experience for students. They’re reportedly considering various models of coronavirus adapted schooling since the state’s been experiencing a surge in cases, passing NY for the most of any state in the nation.

The highest amount of unemployment claims in three months hit the state. The uptick in filings continues to overwhelm call centers. Two state senators calling on the Governor to hire more staff to help 24-7 to fix the issue of backlogged claims. The amount of first time claims is at about 7 million over four months since the pandemic began. Senators Scott Wilk and Melissa Hurtado penning a letter to the governor saying it was a monumental failure when residents most needed help. There were nearly 293,000 new claims filed last week, up from about 285,000 a week before.

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