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Information from COVID-19 tests are to be reported to the state, but the government is asking for the patients’ race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The secretary of the state’s Health and Human Services Agency says it’s so they can find a way to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Mark Ghaly says the information will help them see if interventions are working and what the disparities are. Right now the state is not getting race and ethnicity data, but as we’ve been hearing locally, there’s been a disproportionate increase in positive cases in the local LatinX community. In the state, more than half the cases are in the same community.

Seven more deaths of Covid-19 complications in Sonoma County. The public health office says they were four women and three men at various skilled nursing facilities. The Press Democrat reports Broadway Villa Post Acute in Sonoma, Empress Post Acute in Petaluma and Petaluma Post Acute have all reported deaths. The facilities are mandated to report deaths from the virus within 24 hours. Health officials say there were four facilities that had deaths but did not say which ones. Dr. Sundari Mase says they’ve been trying to find a solution, but the county has no jurisdiction over the facilities and urges nursing home administrators to come up with a solution.

A new way to bring money into the state, tax the wealthy. Democratic lawmakers have a new plan to raise taxe rates on taxable income of $1 million and higher. They say this could bring in billions more revenue to help improve K-12 schools and pay for many other government services as the state tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 15 democrats in the Senate introduced the bill to help find ways to close a massive budget gap before the end of August. The bill would put a 1% tax on adjusted gross income starting at one million, increase it to 3% for those who earn more than $2 million and to 3.5% for taxpayers with income above $5 million. The projected operating deficit for next year is currently projected at $8.7 billion.

A man from Nevada has been killed while riding his jet ski in Sierra County, he was hit by lightning. The man and his son on skis on the Stampede Reservoir. His son was knocked unconscious and “severely burned”. His dad identified as Eugene Arao. A woman on a nearby boat saw it and posted on Facebook there were several other people also injured by the lightning strike, calling it a “horrific tragedy.” Thunderstorms had been reported throughout Truckee and Tahoe over the weekend.

A couple of cities defying the Governor’s stay home health orders aren’t getting state money. The Governor has blocked almost $65,000 from Atwater in Merced County and more than $35,000 from Coalinga in Fresno County. The two cities receiving letters from the state saying they’ll lose more money if they don’t roll back restrictions per the state’s orders, but each city council was staying where they were at. Atwater’s mayor said the Governor was abandoning them. They’ve declared themselves a Sanctuary City.  Merced County just reported its highest-ever hospitalizations. In Fresno County they’re teetering just below their highest level.

It’s Wednesday, the there’s food for kids 18 and younger at Ukiah High. It’s part of the summer program for kids to get meals for the week from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The child does not need to be with their parents who can pick up the food including, chicken, or pork, chili beans, yams, and peaches, plums, or watermelons. They remind to wear a mask and practice social distancing when arriving to get the food.

Assemblyman Jim Wood has a new bill to help protect residents and staffmembers of skilled nursing facilities. Assemblyman Wood says 95% of the facilities report nearly 3,000 residents and over 100 healthcare workers at the facilities have died because of coronavirus. He says his bill which will be heard in the Senate’s Health Committee this weekend requires the facilities to report each disease-related death to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) within 24 hours. And it would in turn require the Department of Public Health to release that information on an internet website each week. He says it would be in a way to shield privacy to help the state get more timely data to respond quicker to the spread of the virus. And they would have to have staff dedicated 24/7 to disease prevention.

A protest of Ukiah teachers ahead of the new school year. Some had signs as they picketed Monday saying “teachers are not expendable.” There had been a plan for partly in person classes for kids in Ukiah, then at the end of last week, it abruptly changed. The school board announced a couple weeks ago a plan for hybrid learning. But the Ukiah Teachers Association is against the plan. The board was almost unanimous in approving the plan to return to in person classes, then four days later announced all distance learning with improvements. And now district officials say they’re still hoping students can get back to in person class sometime this school year, depending. Ukiah education leaders will be on a call with State Senator Mike McGuire this Friday to address the issue. To listen to the discussion live, “dial 844-767-5679, enter code 2463180 and follow the prompts.”

There’s a new coronavirus relief program being set up by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. It will provide support for individuals and families, small businesses, and nonprofits in the county. It’s thru a Non-Profit Relief Grant program which is already taking applications for the first round of money which will be Aug. 28th. The grants will be for local 501c3 organizations working in adaptation, operations, and preservation. So that for new technology or businesses pivoting into other sectors, training for staff in those new technologies or protocols and help for organizations with fixed costs they can’t meet due to the recession. For more info, visit: https://www.communityfound.org/grants-scholarships/ nonprofit-relief/.

After an outbreak at the Sherwood Oaks Health Center, there’s a shortage of staff. The facility in Fort Bragg has had four deaths and several infections, including in staff members. Since then they’ve lost other staffers too and need to hire RNs, LVNs, CNAs, and reception workers.  They are providing proper personal protective gear including goggles and N95 masks. The facility’s website lists full and part time open positions for the day and evening shift.

If you are interested please contact Terrie Masterson at 707-964-6333 or e-mail terriem@sohcftb. com Lodging may be provided for anyone needing to travel. Visit Sherwood Oaks Health Center website and job postings at https://sherwoodoakshealthcenter. com.

An agreement has been reached for a group out of Oroville to run the homeless shelter in Lakeport when Hope Harbor closes at the end of July. So Elijah House will take over until September 30th at a fee of, at the most, $234,550. Hope Harbor was running the homeless shelter since April and the county asked for more bids from others. Apparently Elijah House was the only taker. They help those with substance use and mental health issues, and they operate a sober living facility in Butte County. The Hope Center will open in September or October, a transitional housing facility in Clearlake where some of those at Elijah House can then transfer when they close.

Something to help the environment, a Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. Caltrans announced more than 140 million in funding for 166 local public transportation projects. They are meant to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in disadvantaged communities impacted the most by climate change. The Caltrans director says it’ll improve transit service for those who need it the most. The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program was created 6 years ago. Three projects to give free or reduced fare rides in Lake County, Humboldt and the city of Arcata.

A couple of coronavirus testing sites are open in Mendocino County this weekend. One will be in Laytonville, the other in Redwood Valley. The Laytonville test site is Friday morning from 9-11 in the parking lot of the Long Valley Health Center. It’s drive thru service, first-come, first-serve. They will be there again August 14th and August 28th. This Saturday morning, from 8-11 am, a testing site will be at the Consolidated Tribal Health Project and the Coyote Valley Tribe in collaboration with Mendocino County Public Health in the Reservation’s gymnasium in Redwood Valley, walk up testing or you can drive thru too, with no reservations required. 

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