WILLITS, 5/4/20 — California will begin staged reopening of various businesses this Friday, May 8, and the County of Mendocino has prepared a draft of a new public health order, which will be discussed at tomorrow’s board of supervisors’ meeting. Governor Newsom has outlined a four stage reopening schedule, with stage 1 being the current lockdown. In his statement today the governor also explained that increased discretion will be given to localities to decide how they progress through the stages of reopening, if they can create and submit a readiness plan that shows that measures have been put in place to reopen safely.
To that end the Mendocino County public health officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan, is drafting a new public health order, that will go into effect Friday May 8 — that order will be discussed at the supervisors’ meeting tomorrow.
With the new leeway, one question being discussed is just which businesses will be allowed to reopen, under new safety protocols, and which will remain closed.
This graph illustrates the decision being made:
As the governor explained, not all businesses that open in stage 2 will open Friday, and counties now have increased leeway to determine just which kinds of businesses will be counted as part of stage 2. This new localism comes after some weeks of pressure on the governor to allow rural counties to adjust their public health orders independently of the state. The governor also noted that some harder hit areas may decide to stay in stage 1.
In a brief phone interview Supervisor Ted Williams expressed that while he does believe that localities need more discretion, the danger of a second surge of the virus is significant. He noted that in the last significant global pandemic some cities that became restive and opened their societies earlier wound up suffering far greater death tolls, along with an accompanying far worse economic toll — form all the deaths. Said Williams, “[In discussions] we’re pitting health against the economy, and my talks with public don’t have that at all.” We explained that opening too soon might lead to a srue that results in a forced return to a shelter-in-place status that could last even longer than the current one, “The last thing we need is to regress into a worse shelter in place.”
He added, “I don’t think there’s any way to come out of this unscathed…How do you avoid the economic disruption that will come if we have a massive spread in the county.”
And on the question of public anger and claims of overreaction the supervisor said, “The nature of a pandemic is that if you do a good job with the response people will stand back and ask why’d you do that, [as though] it wasn’t necessary because we didn’t have any cases.”
Here is the current draft (redlined to show the differences from the previous order) of the public health order which supervisors will discuss tomorrow. It should be noted that ultimate discretion for the content of the order lies with the public health officer. If you cannot view the PDF in this article follow this link: https://mendovoice.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/RedlineVersionStage2Health.pdf
If you’d like to send a comment to the supervisors you can email BOS@mendocinocounty.org.RedlineVersionStage2Health
Here is the press release from the county:
Health Officer Releases Draft Shelter-In-Place Order
Post Date: 05/04/2020 8:28 PM
As the State learns about Governor Gavin Newsom’s four-stage framework to reopen California, Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan has continued working on a new Shelter-In-Place revision to enter into Stage 2 this Friday. California is currently in Stage 1 which includes building capacity for:
- Case investigation and contact tracing
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Healthcare surge capacity
Dr. Doohan is planning to release a revised Shelter-In-Place Order on Friday, May 8following the release of the State’s Stage 2 framework. This new Order in draft form, and the Health Officer’s Stage 2 Transition Plan, is available online here: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/health-order.
In preparation for Stage 2, please read the draft Order and Transition Plan and provide feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Feedback from the community and businesses will continue to be valuable as we move forward together across Mendocino County in this four-staged reopening process. The below chart outlines what types of businesses the Governor is allowing for reopening during various stages which can be found here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/05/04/governor-newsom-provides-update-on-californias-progress-toward-stage-2-reopening/.
[graphic can be viewed above]
May 5, at the Board of Supervisors Meeting, Health Officer Dr. Doohan will be discussing the draft limited reopening Shelter in Place order planned to be released on Friday May 8. . The meeting will be streamed live the on the Mendocino County YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/MendocinoCountyVideo) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mendocinocounty/). For more information on the Board meeting and how to participate please visit: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/board-of-supervisors/agendas-and-minutes.
Here is the governor’s press release:
Governor Newsom Provides Update on California’s Progress Toward Stage 2 Reopening
Governor issues Report Card on state’s progress in fighting COVID-19
Governor’s Report Card indicates California will be prepared to move into the early phase of Stage 2 of reopening this Friday, May 8
Stage 2 allows gradual reopening of lower-risk workplaces with adaptations including bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores, with modifications
Governor also announces new framework to allow counties to move more quickly through Stage 2 if they attest that they meet the state’s readiness criteria
State announces accelerated action to secure contact tracing capacity
SACRAMENTO – As the state continues implementation of the four-stage framework to allow Californians to gradually reopen some lower-risk businesses and public spaces while continuing to preserve public health, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that based on the state’s progress in meeting metrics tied to indicators, the state can begin to move into Stage 2 of modifying the stay at home order this Friday, May 8, with guidelines released Thursday, May 7. The Governor released a Report Card showing how the state has made progress in fighting COVID-19 in a number of categories such as stabilized hospitalization and ICU numbers and acquiring PPE.
“Millions of Californians answered the call to stay home and thanks to them, we are in a position to begin moving into our next stage of modifying our stay at home order,” said Governor Newsom. “But make no mistake – this virus isn’t gone. It’s still dangerous and poses a significant public health risk. As we move into the next stage of reopening, we will do so with updated guidance to help qualifying businesses make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure to customers and workers. Californians should prepare now for that second stage of reopening.”
State Report Card
The Governor also issued a state “Report Card” for how the state is doing in meeting key measures for moving into Stage 2. California is on track on the following statewide metrics:
- Stability of Hospitalizations
- Personal Protective Equipment Inventory
- Health Care Surge Capacity
- Testing Capacity
- Contact Tracing Capability
- Public Health Guidance in Place
California Department of Public Health Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell presented on the state’s Report Card today to underscore the data driving the move into the next stage.
What’s in Early Stage 2
Later this week the state will release public health guidance for certain Stage 2 sectors including some retail, manufacturing, and logistics businesses, which will mandate modifications that lower the risk of transmission. Businesses and employers in those sectors will be able to reopen as soon as Friday – if they can meet the guidelines provided by the state. Not all Stage 2 businesses will be able to open Friday with modifications. Some examples of businesses that can open with modifications include bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores.
Other Stage 2 sectors, such as offices and dine-in restaurants, will be part of a later Stage 2 opening. The announcement for Friday does not include offices, seated dining at restaurants, shopping malls or schools. As the Governor noted last week, the state is working with school districts and the California education community to determine how best and safely to reopen. That continues to be the case – this May 8 announcement does not move up this timeline.
While the state will be moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2, counties can choose to continue more restrictive measures in place based on their local conditions, and the state expects some counties to keep their more robust stay at home orders in place beyond May 8.
The Governor also announced today that while the state is moving into Stage 2 together, counties can move more quickly through Stage 2, if they attest that they meet the state’s readiness criteria. Counties must create and submit a readiness plan which the state will make publicly available.
The Governor signed an executive order today directing the State Public Health Officer to establish criteria to determine whether and how, in light of local conditions, local health officers may implement public health measures less restrictive than the statewide public health directives. Counties must meet criteria including demonstrating they have a low prevalence of COVID-19, that they meet testing and contact tracing criteria, that their health care system is prepared in case they see a sudden rise in cases, and that they have plans in place to protect vulnerable populations. The state will outline these criteria in the coming days. The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.
Contact tracing enables the state to suppress the spread of the virus to avoid outbreaks and allows us to maintain our health care capacity and confidently modify the stay at home order. To work toward these goals, the Governor announced a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Los Angeles to immediately begin training workers for a landmark contact tracing program that will help contain the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while the state looks to modify the stay at home order. The partnership will include a virtual training academy for contact tracers. The first 20-hour training will begin Wednesday, May 6 with the goal of training 20,000 individuals in two months.