UPDATE 6/24/20 — The number of COVID cases in Mendocino County once again spiked dramatically yesterday, with 10 more cases confirmed, making this the largest single day spike so far during this pandemic. All 10 of the cases were identified in the Ukiah Valley area (see below for a breakdown of area definitions). The previous day, June 22, saw the second largest number of new cases with eight — and given that testing numbers have been relatively stable these spikes may indicate a noticeable acceleration in the spread of the disease within Mendocino County.
The new cases have also disproportionately affected Latinos, with fully half of all COVID cases being Latino people, even though they make up only 37% of Ukiah and about a quarter of the county as a whole.
However, the spike in cases in the Ukiah area is only part of the story as the City of Willits announced this morning that the virus has been detected in the “influent,” that is, in the raw sewage flowing into their sewage plan. Though only eight people have confirmed cases of COVID in “North County,” and of those only one has fallen ill in June, it may well be the case that more people who are asymptomatic, or have been expressing less severe symptoms, are carrying the virus in the Willits area.
The graph below shows the number of COVID cases in the county, against the date, and clearly demonstrates an accelerating spread of the virus. Note that the step-wise growth of the curve is due to new batches of test result data being released. The bars below the line represent individual day jumps in cases.
During weekly press conferences, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, has explained that the spike in cases across the county, and state is largely attributable to reopening. She also noted in a tweet yesterday that, with the exception of First Amendment protected worship and protest, gatherings of several people remain illegal under governor’s orders.
Here is the county’s dashboard:
UPDATE 6/21/20 — Mendocino County’s COVID-19 case count is now at 62, having gone up eight cases from the county’s previously announced total of 54 cases, as of June 19. The information was first posted by District 5 supervisor Ted Williams on Facebook , and confirmed by the County Executive Office’s Sarah Dukett. Dukett said this evening that the county would provide an updated testing dashboard, which includes additional information such as age, sex, region, and more, on Monday, June 22.
Prior to this announcement, the most recent case of COVID-19 in Mendocino County was a person in North County; numerous other recent cases had been traced to outbreaks in the Ukiah area related to graduation parties and a church service. The county moved into Phase 3 of re-opening with a new shelter-in-place order on Friday, June 19 that is set to expire July 3.
Here’s the post from Williams on Facebook:
UPDATE 6/14/20 — The official count of COVID cases in Mendocino County spiked up by another 6 today, with one more case on Friday, bringing the total confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease to 45.
In a brief phone interview spokesperson for the County, Sarah Duckett, explained that though thorough contact tracing hasn’t yet been conducted, there is suspicion that this particular small outbreak is connected to specific Ukiah High graduation parties and a church service.
In the morning Mendocino Public Health plans to release more details, including recommendations about which people should get themselves tested in case they have been exposed. All seven of the new cases are in the immediately Ukiah area, not the broader region that Public Health has been defining as the Ukiah Valley area.
Asked about the possibility of spread due to recent protests, Duckett said there is yet no such evidence, but in a press conference last week Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan said that results trickling in from the Bay Area are connecting the protests with some increased spread.
In the past couple dashboards released have included data about race, and it is apparent that as in much of the state Latino people are catching the disease at a higher rate. While Latinos make up 25.6% of Mendocino County they account for 37.8% of cases. Notably the demographic data show zero cases among Native people, though it is widely known that several people on the Round Valley Reservation were infected, and seven of the cases list no race. White people are dramatically under-represented in the COVID count.
UPDATE 6/11/20 — Two more cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Mendocino County, bringing the total to 38, with both new cases in the Ukiah Valley area (see note on regions below). One of the cases was a person 18 or younger and the other 65 or older.
As of today none of these 38 cases among Mendocino residents is hospitalized, or in the ICU, and 36 are recovered.
UPDATE 6/8/20 — Three more cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Mendocino County, two more in the Ukiah area, and one in what Public Health calls the “north coast.” For details on these regions see below.
Here is the statement from Public Health:
MCPH confirms 3 additional cases of COVID-19 in Mendocino County, 2 of which being in Ukiah Valley, and 1 of which in the North Coast. We urge all county residents over the age of 12 to get tested, especially in those areas.
Free COVID-19 Testing is available at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah, Tuesday – Saturday, 7 am – 7 pm. Make your appointment at lhi.care/covidtesting or 888-634-1123.Public Health
UPDATE 6/3/20 — Mendocino Public Health has announced three more confirmed case of COVID-19 in Mendocino County, bringing the total to 33. One person has also been moved to the intensive care unit of the hospital as a result of the disease, though no other people are in the hospital and 17 are no recovered.
There is some uncertainty about where these new cases emerged exactly as Public Health has said that they have “made adjustments to the region category.” As of June 1 eight cases were listed in “north county,” today only seven are. There has been a spike up to 25 cases in the Ukiah area, from 21, indicating that one person previously counted in the north county area is now being counted in the Ukiah area. (For a note on regions see below)
Based on the dashboard data the new cases appear to be two people 18 or younger and one person 35 to 49 years of age. Close contact is cited as the origin of all three new cases.
Here is the message from Public Health:
Mendocino County Public Health confirms 3 additional cases of COVID-19 in our county, and contact tracing in underway. Please see our dashboard below for the demographic information available at this time. We will alert the public when we have more information. Please note: we have made adjustments to the region category, as this is a rapidly evolving situation.
UPDATE 5/28/20, 8:05 p.m. — Five more cases have been confirmed, bringing the total to 30.
MENDOCINO Co., 5/27/20 — Mendocino Public Health confirmed the discovery of two more cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total number of cases in Mendocino County to 25. This marks the third straight day that the case count has risen. Since May 19, just over a week ago, 11 new cases have been identified or 44% of all cases so far confirmed in Mendocino County — a marked acceleration of of the case count.
Nationally the number of COVID deaths surpassed 100,000 today, only three months into a pandemic that will likely last months more, though the death toll in California remains substantially lower at only around 3,700 deaths.
In Lake County nine new cases were confirmed in the past day, and 11 new cases this week. The outbreak around the Redwood Valley Assembly of God church, which includes seven people in Mendocino County and is connected to Lake County, as the past of the church is a Lake County resident, and earlier reports by Mendocino Public Health indicated that at least two of the Lake County cases reported last week, including the pastor, were connected to the church. Lake County’s public health department is citing the emergency of two clusters of COVID infections, but does not give additional details. (Read that statement below)
Whether an accelerating rate of new cases represents a genuine spike in infections, or is a statistical artifact caused by an increase in testing can’t be conclusively decided, specifically because the lack of testing early in the pandemic means that we have no baseline sample of infection rates in March, for example. It is fair to assume that the spike is attributable to both factors. However, it is also worth noting that testing has actually been steadily ramping up, with hundred of surveillance tests last week and the prior week that came back with lower numbers.
Here is the “dashboard” provided by the county.
And here is their announcement from Facebook:
Two additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Mendocino County. Contact tracing is underway, please see the dashboard for available demographics.Mendocino Public Health
The Anderson Valley Health center announced that they had confirmed a case today, through surveillance testing. However, the County’s dashboard indicates that there was one new case in the Ukiah Valley area and one on the “North Coast.” (Note on regions)
One of the cases was between the ages of 35 and 49, while the other was 65 or older.
Here is the announcement from Anderson Valley.
Hi AV community-We tested 39 more community members for Covid-19 last Thursday May 21st. We received results today with 38 negative and one positive result. For those that were tested, if you have not received a call, your result is negative. This was surveillance testing so all individuals were asymptomatic. Mendocino county will begin contact tracing and surveillance testing. As you all know, we cannot share details of the patient except what is shared above. Thank you for your understanding and feel free to reach out with questions.
Hola a todos- Completamos 39 más pruebas del Covid 19 el último jueves 21 de mayo. Recibimos hoy los resultados de 38 pruebas negativas y 1 positiva. Para las personas que completaron las pruebas, si no nos hemos comunicado con ustedes, su resultado es negativo. Esto fue una prueba de vigilancia, así que todos los individuos eran asintomáticos. El condado de Mendocino comenzará el rastreo de contactos y las pruebas de vigilancia. Como todos saben, no podemos compartir detalles del paciente excepto lo que se comparte arriba. Gracias por su comprensión y no dude en comunicarse con preguntas.Anderson Valley Health Center
On the good news front Adventist Health announced that the results of their surveillance testing, conducted in the wake of discovery that a traveling nurse who resides in Oregon had tested positive, show no new cases of COVID.
Here’s the comment from the County of Lake:
COVID-19 Update: 9 New Cases Identified in Lake County, Free Testing Available
Gary Pace MD, MPH
Lake County, CA (May 27, 2020) – Late yesterday and today, 9 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Lake County, bringing our cumulative total to 23. This includes 11 newly documented in the past week.
2 different clusters of active infections have been identified. 8 of the 11 recent positive tests are related to these clusters. Both are still being investigated, to determine if there are further associated cases.
The other 3 individuals tested positive out of the area, but reside in Lake County.
While widespread community transmission remains a concern, the recent infections are rooted in known cases.
Thankfully, all of those confirmed positive are stable, and complying with home isolation, and we have no active COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
To protect the identities of those affected, no further information will be released at this time.
With many sectors of our economy reopening, and Clear Lake once again attracting tourists from areas with greater viral activity, some continuing increase in cases is likely over the next couple of weeks.
Because we had relatively few cases over a sustained period prior to this recent rise, some may have been under the impression the virus was not present in Lake County’s communities. It is more probable some mild-moderate infections were not being captured by testing. COVID-19 risk remains significant in our region, and travel will only increase as restrictions further loosen.
We take all newly-confirmed cases very seriously, avidly investigating each one, and identifying and interviewing contacts. In the event COVID-19 is suspected, we test and isolate those that may have been exposed.
No Cost Testing is Available in Lake County
We now offer Drive-Thru testing at different locations around the county, open daily during the week. People needing testing can go to the Verily website and get screened and make an appointment:
Frequently Asked Questions on Drive-Thru Testing are available here:
Do recent positive tests change plans to reopen local businesses?
Some Northern California counties have already discussed slowing their reopening plans in light of moderate upticks in infections. So far, Lake County is seeing more cases, and those involved in our local containment strategy have been able to appropriately respond.
Recent positive tests mean we will need to move slowly and thoughtfully when further loosening restrictions, particularly if new cases continue to significantly rise, testing capacity is outpaced by need, or contact tracing or local healthcare resources start to become overwhelmed.
Taking precautions is essential if we are to continue reopening new categories of businesses:
• Stay at home, except to engage in permitted activities
• Wear a face covering when away from home, to protect others
• Stay at least 6 feet away from others
• Avoid contact with people who are sick
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time
• Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
• People 65 or older, or otherwise at increased risk, are encouraged to stay safe at home
For Lake County-specific Coronavirus information, please continue to visit the Lake County Health Services Department’s website, http://health.co.lake.ca.us.
The Lake County Coronavirus Response Hub has additional valuable resources:
If you still have questions, or you need further assistance registering for testing, please send an email request to MHOAC@lakecountyca.gov or call during business hours: 707-263-8174.
Gary Pace, MD, MPHCounty of Lake
Here’s our previous story:
Note on regions:
For the purposes of identifying the broad region in which a case resides Public Health has divided up the county into six areas:
- South Coast: Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk, Manchester, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Gualala
- South County: Philo, Boonville, Yorkville, Hopland
- Ukiah Valley: Ukiah, Talmage, Calpella, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley
- North County: Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Covelo, Dos Rios, Leggett, Piercy
- North Coast: Caspar, Fort Bragg, Cleone, Newport, Westport, Rockport