Updated 7:30 p.m. — Mendocino County officials have issued a press release addressing the recent surge and the move to the statewide watchlist (see pdf below). The press release notes that one “trigger” to be placed on the list is that the rate of new cases within fourteen days cannot exceed 100 per 100,000 people. In Mendocino County, that number would 90 cases, and there have been 120 news cases in the last two weeks (details here).
The original article is included below the press release:English-Press-Release_Mendocino-County-Officially-Placed-on-State-COVID19-Watch-List-1
WILLITS, 7/25/20 — In a move anticipated by local officials, Mendocino County has been formally placed on California’s watchlist of counties that are seeing a spike in COVID cases. The triggers for this watch list are various metrics concerning the spread of the disease and the capacity of regional health services. In our case Mendocino Co. has seen greater than 100 new cases of COVID per 100,000 people in two days.
Three consecutive days on said watchlist will result in mandatory state restrictions kicking in, on Tuesday — however, equivalent restrictions on such things as indoor worship, barbering, and gyms already went into effect last night at 11:59 p.m. Once we’ve hit that three day mark, the state will not lift these restrictions until Mendocino has lowered these statistics to below the thresholds, and stayed under those limits for 14 consecutive days, meaning these restrictions could be here for a while.
Mendocino has seen 136 confirmed cases of COVID in the past two weeks, for a rate of 155 cases per 100,000 (give the county’s population of 88,000), placing us well above this threshold. That’s one of the factors that determine whether a county is on the watchlist, other metrics include such things as reduced ICU and hospital bed capacity.
However, Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan has said, and other officials have echoed, that the advantage of preemptively issuing new restrictions for Mendocino, before the official trigger which is expected Tuesday, is that local control is preserved. The idea being that since Mendocino has restricted itself, county officials will retain power to modify and adjust the order to better suit our rural needs. Still, the restrictions as they exist now are very similar, or identical, to those that will be mandated by the state on Tuesday.
The coronavirus has begun to surge in Mendocino County this past week, with the virus taking an additional four lives out of five so far, including three at the Sherwood Oaks nursing home. The county has also experienced a significant rise in active cases, hospitalizations and patients in the ICU, as well as testing shortages and delays in results lasting over two weeks.