COVID TESTING INFO: Testing is open to the public at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah. Call 888.634.1123 for an appointment or go to lhi.care. You can also call the Mendocino County COVID hotline at 707.234.6052 and the County’s “warm line” at 707.472.2311.
Note: We are continuously updating this article as new cases come in, to create a steady record (with a single URL) of the growth in COVID cases. Come back to this page for simple updates — for more in-depth reporting we are publishing other articles on our homepage mendovoice.com.
WILLITS, 8/28/20 — Another person has succumbed to COVID-19 in Mendocino County, an 82 year old Latino man from the Ukiah area. In addition we learned that one of the recent deaths, was an employee of the County of Mendocino, most likely from the assessor-clerk-recorder’s office, which was closed recently due to one of its employees testing positive for the disease. According to CEO Carmel Angelo, contract tracing has revealed that the employee most likely did not contract the disease at work.
Here is the notice concerning the new health order and shelter-in-place order:
Health Officer Issues Revised Shelter-In Place Order Effective August 31st
Oficial de Salud Emite Revisión de la Orden de Refugio Vigente del 31 de Agosto
Post Date: 08/28/2020 6:37 PM
[En Español abajo]
Today, August 28, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the State and revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities. The Governor has replaced the County Monitoring List with a four tiered approached. Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays, beginning September 8, 2020. To advance tiers, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will move back to a more restrictive tier. Mendocino County was assigned the highest tier, also known as the purple tier classifying COVID-19 as widespread in the community. The recent changes require modifications to the local Shelter-In-Place Order for businesses and activities. Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan issued a revised Shelter-In-Place order today, August 28, 2020, to align with the new state guidance. The revision was made in collaboration with the new incoming Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren, who will be sworn in on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
Major changes in the SIP Order included:
- Hair Salon and barbershops can open indoors
- Retail establishments have a capacity restriction of 25%.
- Grocery stores have a capacity restriction of 50%.
- Indoor malls may open (except for common areas and food courts) with a maximum capacity of 25%.
- The Childcare Unit and Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit have also been modified in accordance with new Small Cohort Guidance (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/ Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/small-groups-child-youth.aspx) increasing from 12 individuals to 14 children with up to 2 supervising adults. As explained in the Small Cohort guidance, guidance and directives related to schools, childcare, day camps, youth sports, and institutions of higher education are not superseded by the guidance for cohorts of children and youth and still apply to those specified settings.
Mendocino County’s revised SIP goes in effect Monday, August 31 at 8:00 a.m. and will be effective until rescinded.
Based on the County’s status with the state, local schools are required to utilize distance learning, but can request a waiver for in-person instruction for kindergarten through 6th grade. On August 21, 2020, Health Officer Dr. Doohan submitted waivers for 10 schools, which were approved today, August 28, by the California Department of Public Health. Thank you to Senator Mike McGuire, Supervisor Ted Williams, Dr. Andy Coren, Mendocino County Office of Education Superintendent Michelle Hutchins and our local district superintendents for their help and hard work facilitating submission of waivers to the State. For a list of the schools included in the waiver, please visit the County’s COVID-19 Frequently Ask Questions page at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/shelter-in-place.
The new Health Order is posted online at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/health-order. The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents and businesses to closely read the order and follow it.
For more information on California’s blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities please visit www.covid19.ca.gov.
For more on COVID-19:
Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email [email protected]
The call center is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hoy, 28 de agosto de 2020, el gobernador Gavin Newsom anuncio un plan nuevo para reducir el COVID-19 en el estado y revisó los criterios para relajar y restringir ciertas actividades. El Gobernador reemplazo el sistema de monitoreo por un enfoque de cuatro niveles. Cada condado de California sera asignado un nivel basado en el indice de casos nuevos y casos positivos. Como mínimo, los condados deben permanecer en el mismo nivel por lo menos por 3 semanas antes de pasar al siguiente. Los datos se revisarán semanalmente y los niveles se actualizarán los Martes, a partir del 8 de Septiembre de 2020. Para avanzar en los niveles, el condado debe cumplir con los criterios del siguiente nivel por dos semanas. Si las métricas de un condado empeoran durante dos semanas, se volverá a un nivel más restrictivo. El condado de Mendocino fue asignado el nivel más alto, también conocido como el nivel púrpura, clasificando a COVID-19 como esparcido en la comunidad. Los cambios recientes requieren modificaciones a la orden local de refugio para empresas y actividades. La Dra. Noemi Doohan, oficial de salud, emitió una revisión a la orden de refugio hoy, 28 de agosto de 2020, para alinearse con la nueva guía estatal. La revisión se hizo en colaboración con el nuevo Oficial de Salud Dr. Andy Coren, quien será juramentado el Martes 1ro de Septiembre del 2020.
Cambios importantes en la Orden de Refugio incluyen:
- Peluquería y barberías pueden operar dentro de su local.
- Los establecimientos comerciales tienen una. restricción de capacidad del 25%.
- Las tiendas de comestibles tienen una restricción de capacidad del 50%.
- Los centros comerciales interiores pueden abrirse con una capacidad máxima del 25% (excepto para zonas comunes y patios de comidas).
- La Unidad de Cuidado Infantil y la Unidad de Actividades Extracurriculares para Niños también se han modificado de acuerdo con la nueva Guía de grupos de menores (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programas/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/small-groups-child-youth.aspxing) aumentando de 12 a 14 niños con hasta2 adultos supervisores.Como se explica en la guía de grupos de menores, la orientacióny las directivas relacionadas con las escuelas, guarderías, campamentos, los deportes juveniles y las instituciones de educación superior no son reemplazadas por la guia para grupos de menores y jóvenes, y todavía se aplican a esos entornos especificos.
La revision de la orden de Refugio del Condado de Mendocino entra en vigor el lunes 31 de agosto a las 8:00:00 a.m. y será efectivo hasta su revocación.
De acuerdo con la posicion del Condado con el estado, las escuelas locales están obligadas a utilizar el aprendizaje a distancia, pero pueden solicitar una excepción para la instrucción en persona para kindergarten hasta 6to grado. El 21 de Agosto del 2020, el Oficial de Salud Dr. Doohan presentó excepciones para 10 escuelas, las cuales fueron aprobadas hoy, 28 de agosto, por el Departamento de Salud Pública de California. Gracias al Senador Mike McGuire, al Supervisor Ted Williams, al Dr. Andy Coren, a la Superintendente la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Mendocino, Michelle Hutchins, y a nuestros superintendentes de distrito locales por su ayuda y por su trabajo rigoroso facilitando la presentación de excepciones al estado. Para obtener una lista de las escuelas incluidas en la excepción, visite la página de preguntas frecuentes de COVID-19 del condado: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/shelter-in-place.
La nueva orden de salud se publica en línea en https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/health-order. La orden es sancionable por encarcelamiento y/o multa, por lo que instamos a todos los residentes y empresas a leer cuidadosamente la orden y seguirla.
Para obtener más información sobre el plan de California para reducir el COVID-19 en el estado y la revisión de los criterios para relajar y restringir ciertas actividades, visite www.covid19.ca.gov.
WILLITS, 8/26/20 — While only four new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed today in Mendocino County, the average for the week remains around 11.3/day as the test results continue to be counted unevenly, resulting in large spikes some days and small numbers others.
WILLITS, 8/22/20 — As of yesterday afternoon six Mendocino County residents had died of COVID-19 in the last week; four from the Ukiah area, one from the South Coast, and one at Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing in Fort Bragg. These six deaths mark the deadliest week so far for the virus in Mendocino, but the pandemic shows no signs of abating.
Another 21 positive test results were collected yesterday, and though only 4 people remain hospitalized with 1 in ICU, that is in large part due to the number who have been removed from hospital rolls by dying. In the spread of this pandemic deaths are a lagging indicator, it taking a couple to several weeks for most people to succumb to the disease.
With the 6 deaths this week Mendocino has more than double the number of deaths recorded in Humboldt and Lake counties combined., though far fewer than the much more populous Sonoma County. Our observed mortality rate for the virus is about 2.6%, meaning of the 605 people to have been confirmed to have the virus 2.6% have so far died. However, since it takes some time to die of the disease this is can be a bit misleading.
Of the first five deaths last week we know that all were male, all were over 60 and at least four were Latino. Detailed on the sixth death are unknown at this time.
Asked yesterday in the Friday COVID press conference if the curve was being flattened, Mendocino Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan said that did not appear to be the case, and that recent days of slow growth in total cases had more to do with flaws and lags in receiving testing data, than with an actual slowing of the spread.
Here is our update from yesterday:
MENDOCINO Co., 8/14/20 — Sixteen more positive tests for COVID-19 were announced today, in what has been the biggest jump in numbers in one week so far, for a total of 529 cases, and 119 people currently in isolation, the largest number so far. There are currently 10 people in the hospital and 4 in ICU.
MENDOCINO Co., 8/10/20 — Once more the number of new cases have set a record with 22 positive test results coming back today, and 15 people still hospitalized, 2 in ICU. Today also saw new positive tests in public institutions such as the Ukiah Unified School District and the Mendocino County Jail:
WILLITS, 8/9/20 — The rate of new infections continues to accelerate with 19 new cases confirmed today and a record high of 15 people hospitalized, or about 15% of Mendocino’s hospital bed capacity. These 19 new cases match a previous record high number for a single day, though coming after the 51 cases were recorded yesterday (34 due to a lab reporting delay and 17 fresh cases) the rate of new cases is definitely accelerating.
Even discarding the 34 delayed test results, the average new case count is about 13, a high. If we go back to July 31, the point from which lab results were delayed, and count all cases for the past 10 days we get a new case rate of roughly 15 per day.
Another emerging trend is the widening gap between the number of female and male people testing positive. Females now make up 56.2% of all cases, with males at 43.8% — a substantial discrepancy.
Here are some graphs to illustrate the progress of infection:
And here are yesterday’s numbers:
WILLITS, 8/7/20 — Mendocino saw a significant spike in cases today with 17 new positive testes for COVID confirmed today, and 14 people currently in the hospital, including 1 in ICU.
Earlier today CEO Carmel Angelo and Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, held their weekly COVID press conference which you watch below:
In the video above Dr. Doohan explains that there have been substantial discrepancies in the collection of data between Mendocino County and the state’s public health data system. The result has been a gross under-count of cases at the state level, which accounts for Mendocino not yet officially being placed on the state watch list. However, citing this discrepancy, Doohan worried that it may mean that the communication of data is lacking in other areas, and that we may see a statistical surge in cases as lagging data catches up.
And here are the graphs:
WILLITS, 8/6/20 — Here is our latest:
WILLITS, 8/5/20 — Here are the latest numbers for today:
WILLITS, 8/4/20 — The number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 continues to rise, though no longer at an accelerating rate. Since the major spike in cases in mid-July, the number of new cases per day has stabilized to an average of around eight per day, indicating that the mid-July spike was likely connected to festivities around the Fourth of July. Officials have said that the slower growth rate, or flattening curve, are at least partially attributable to the new restrictions and service closures, that are slowing the spread.
However, in a worrisome development, the total number of people hospitalized for the virus hit a high of 12 today, and the average age of a patient has climbed somewhat.
Also concerning, more cases have been confirmed among retail workers at local businesses, including more than one case (likely two) at Walmart. Asked about the specifics of the Walmart infections Mendocino County Spokesperson Sarah Dukett said that the county didn’t have a specific comment, except that there was currently no “outbreak” at Walmart. However, she clarified that the definition of an outbreak at a big box retail store differs from that of smaller or more sensitive businesses, per CDC guidelines. She gave the example that a single confirmed cases of COVID among residents of a nursing home is defined as an “outbreak” by the CDC, noting that that is not the definition for a big box store which can of course employ many dozens of workers.
A source close to the situation confirm that workers at Walmart had tested positive.
WILLITS, 7/31/20 — An additional 13 cases of COVID were confirmed today, and one more person was hospitalized, bringing the total hospitalized to 8. The total case count is at 312, with nine dead, mostly elderly people from outbreaks at nursing homes.
Here’s the Friday press conference from Mendocino Public Health, this time with a strong focus on the mechanics of enforcement. Present were code enforcement, the sheriff, CEO Angelo, Dr. Doohan, and various other people.
WILLITS, 7/30/20 — Three more people have died in COVID in Mendocino County. Here are the details:
WILLITS, 7/29/20 — The Mendocino Public Health Department announced an additional 13 cases of COVID-19 in Mendocino County today, bringing the total to 293. At least one additional person was hospitalized bring the total number in the hospital to five, with no one in ICU. No additional COVID deaths have been recorded.
Today a huge number of people, 97, were released from isolation, which shows the in the graph above.
Additionally, three nursing homes have had a person test positive for COVID, read more about that in this article.
WILLITS, 7/28/20 — Six new cases of COVID were confirmed in Mendocino County today, bringing the total to 280, though it does seem as though the pace of new cases is slowing somewhat in the past few days. There are only four people hospitalized and no people in the ICU, and no new deaths today.
Now as promised we’ve put together an extensive set of graphs:
UKIAH, 7/27/20 — Nine new cases were confirmed today, bringing the total to 274. Five total remained hospitalized, with one of those in the ICU. No additional deaths were reported today.
MENDOCINO Co., 7/26/20 — Eight new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Mendocino County today, July 26, with no new deaths and no change to the number of people in ICU or hospital.
This past week has been a grim and busy week in Mendocino’s corner of the pandemic with three deaths, two a Sherwood Oaks, the county has been placed on the state watchlist, and a new health order going into effect that bans many activities, mandating the move outside. Activities now required to be outside include public worship, barbering, and gyms, in addition to the previous requirements for dining. In addition singing is not allowed as part of worship services, even if they are held outside.
Read the new public health order here. And here is a brief gloss of the order from the County:
Effective, July 13, 2020, the following industries must close all operations (both indoor and outdoor) of bars, brewpubs, and pubs statewide. Additionally, all counties must close indoor operations in the following sectors: restaurants, wineries/tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers (e.g., miniature golf, batting cages and arcades), zoo and museums and cardrooms. Effective, Friday, July 24, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., the following industries to shut down unless they can be modified to operate outside (under a canopy or other sun shelter for sufficient air movement) or by pick-up: gyms and fitness center; places of worship and cultural ceremonies, like weddings and funeral; offices for non-essential sectors; personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors; hair salons and barbershops; indoor shopping malls.County of Mendocino
And here are some graphs, notably Latinos now make up slightly more than 60% of cases, even though they make up only 25% of county population:
Yet another nursing home resident dies of COVID — 6 dead of COVID in Mendo — Doohan: “This is happening, it’s here” — 8 new cases today, 257 total, July 25
WILLITS, 7/25/20 — For the third day in a row a person has died of COVID in Mendocino County, bringing our death toll from the virus to six. That person was yet another resident of the Sherwood Oaks nursing home in Fort Bragg, which has now seen four residents die of the disease in just a little over a week.
Eight new cases were confirmed today, and the county has been officially moved onto the state’s watchlist for counties with COVID is surging. The resident’s death was confirmed by Mendocino County spokesperson Sarah Dukett this evening, and brings the total of deaths from the novel coronavirus in Mendocino County to six, with five of those deaths occurring in the past 10 days.
There are currently 122 people in isolation, and five people in the hospital, with one of those in the ICU.
We spoke with a doctor at Sherwood Oaks, who told us about conditions in the nursing home, and a little about the manner of death for those who have succumbed, read more in the article below:
And Mendocino County is now official on the watchlist for countines seeing a COVID surge, you can read about that in this article:
WILLITS, 7/24/20 — For the first time since early June, before the current surge in the local COVID pandemic had begun, the number of active cases (people in isolation, hospital, ICU, or dead) has surpassed the number of people released from isolation, a grim sign of the accelerating pace of the spread of the disease.
This inauspicious milestone was reached today when 15 new cases were announced — the second largest number of cases yet counted in one day — including one more death, this time at the Sherwood Oaks nursing home in Fort Bragg. That death comes one day after another person died at Howard Hospital in Willits. With today’s death Mendocino County has seen four people die of the coronavirus disease less than a week, bringing our mortality rate to 2% — still somewhat lower than the national observed case-fatality.
Another trend that’s become clear is that the Latino (mostly Mexican-American) community has been the worst hit:
WILLITS, 7/23/20 — Another person died of COVID in Mendocino County today, read about it in the article below, scroll down for information on the appointment of Dr. Coren.
WILLITS, 7/21/20 — Dr. Howard Andrew “Andy” Coren, of Ukiah, will be the next Mendocino County public health officer, replacing Dr. Noemi Doohan. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted to hire the doctor at yesterday’s regular meeting, in closed session. After closed session they reported out that Coren had been hired, with the endorsement of Doohan, and that he was due to begin as soon as possible, and note later than Sept. 1.
Coren graduate from Northwestern Medical School in 1972, and has been practicing family medicine in the Ukiah area for quite some time, including at Ukiah Valley Medical Center.
In other COVID news, 10 new cases were confirmed yesterday in Mendocino County, for a total of 217 — though there were no new hospitalizations, or deaths. The percentage of people in each age bracket seems to be stabilizing though the percentage of cases in Latinos continues to ebb up. Officials are making some progress in contact tracing, and a smaller percentage of cases are listed as “under investigation,” with the leading causes remaining close contact, followed by community spread, then work or out of county travel.
Also at the Supervisors meeting, Jason Wells, president of Adventist Health in Mendocino, explained that the county has 100 hospital beds with 9 currently occupied by COVID patients, or roughly the same percentage as across the state. He noted that projections made earlier in the month predicted that the hospital system could potentially be overwhelmed by the end of August, but that those projections were made with assumption of no additional restrictions. With the new restrictions put in place by both the governor and the local public health officer, it is hoped that the rate of spread of the disease can be slowed such that the hospitals are not pushed to capacity.
MENDOCINO Co., 7/20/20, 7:30 p.m. — The new COVID statistics were released this afternoon by the Mendocino Public Health department and show eight new cases, and one more person hospitalized, with no new deaths. Though the County does not break-out specific movements between categories, because there were no people released from isolation today, and no additional deaths or admissions to the ICU we can say that one additional person was hospitalized, bringing the total number of hospitalized people to nine, with one in ICU.
This level of hospitalization can be fairly easily handled by Mendocino County’s three hospitals. However, at a town hall meeting (virtual) on Friday, Jason Wells, head of Adventist Health in Mendocino, explained that the county’s three hospitals have 100 beds and that as of Friday about 70 were full, and that on that day nine of those beds were taken up by COVID patients.
Here are all the categories:
WILLITS, 7/20/20 — Yesterday, July 19, Mendocino Public Health announced that one more resident of the Sherwood Oaks nursing home in Fort Bragg has died. This is the second death at the nursing home and the third total death in Mendocino County.
Five new cases were announced yesterday, showing a general decline in cases per day, but not too much should be read into the daily new cases numbers — due to the testing schedules, testing numbers tend to get clumped.
The trends also show a bit of a cyclical nature as outbreaks occur, people are infected, people fall ill, need to be hospitalized or placed in isolation, and then die or are released.
Below is a graph breaking out just the hospitalizations, ICU, and deaths portion of the graph above, since those numbers are small enough that they are not clear in the bigger graph.
WILLITS, 7/18/20 — The surge of COVID continues in Mendocino County, at an accelerating pace, with each day bringing new hospitalizations. Today 11 Mendocino Co. residents are hospitalized, though one has been moved to an out-of-county hospital, three are in the ICU, and one man from a Fort Bragg nursing home has died. Nine new cases were confirmed today, but as Dr. Noemi Doohan, the public health officer for Mendocino, repeated yesterday at a town hall meeting, test results are coming back slowly, and it’s like “fighting a fire when you aren’t sure where the fires are.
In response to the outbreak at the Sherwood Oaks nursing home in Fort Bragg, the County will be doing COVID testing in Fort Bragg tomorrow, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Read more in this article)
MENDOCINO Co., 7/16/20 — Twelve new cases were confirmed today, with one more person hospitalized, bring total hospitalization to seven people. Of those seven, four are sevearly ill in and in the intensive care unit of their respective hospital. Each of the three hospitals in Mendocino County now has COVID patients.
As can been see in the graph below, what we call “active cases” (a sum of people in isolation, hospitalized and dead) is now surging and has almost caught up to the number of people released or recovered.
The period of time which the number of cases take to double has also decreased again down to about 10 days, showing a faster rate of spread.
WILLITS, 7/15/20 — New milestones were crossed today in Mendocino County, which though spared the worst of the pandemic, is rapidly seeing conditions worsen. Nine new cases were announced today, and 10 yesterday, but more importantly today’s “dashboard” data from Mendocino Public Health shows six new hospitalizations of Mendocino County residents from COVID-19, the highest number yet. Additionally, the death of the Mendocino Co. resident who perished two weeks ago was confirmed to be COVID-caused and so was added to the data dashboard as a confirmed death. The racial disparities in the rate of infection of the disease also continue to become more stark in Mendocino with Latinos making up nearly 60% of all cases even though they account for only a quarter of the population. Young adults have also pulled ahead as the most affected group according to test result data, with people from 19 to 34 years of age now accounting for 35% of all cases.
In a press conferences a few weeks ago Mendocino Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan stated that modeling showed that by August there could be as many as 50 people in Mendocino hospitals with COVID at any given moment, but until today the hospitalization numbers had stayed flat. As such, this new spike is a worrying sign that the impacts of this new surge are about to become more acute.
In this pandemic hospitalization tends to be a lagging indicator. Test results are the first metric, but as it takes people some days to become sickened enough to require hospitalization, hospitalization rate lags test results. And since people may spend several weeks in the hospital, on a ventilator, before dying or being released, deaths lag even more. And given that we are still only 11 days from Independence Day, when it appears at a number of private parties furthered spread the disease, we’re still within the possible incubation period for the disease meaning the cases count will likely continue to grow briskly.
Also worrisome is that the amount of time it takes for the case count to double has contracted. At least week’s press conference Dr. Doohan noted that the cases count was doubling over a period of about 19 days, and that this number was stable. After today’s new numbers it appears that it’s only been two weeks since we were at half these numbers indicating that the growth rate could be accelerating significantly — though this faster spike might also be attributable to the spreading over Fourth of July weekend.
Certainly the situation across the state is worsening, and on Monday Governor Newsom shut down a variety of activities across the state including bars and indoor dining.
(Read more about that in this article)
In addition to the statewide closures Newsom ordered greater restrictions in counties that have been placed on the state’s COVID watchlist. As of Monday Mendocino was not on said watchlist, but CEO Carmel Angelo cautioned that the county was at risk of being placed on the list if infections continued to grow as they have. There is currently no word on when such a decision would be made, but there is a significant possibility another set of restrictions could be coming to Mendo in the next several days.
WILLITS, 7/12/20 — “It is not slowing down and we don’t have the end in sight,” those were the words of Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan Friday morning at the weekly COVID press conference and with today’s announcement of 19 new cases including three in a nursing home in Fort Bragg bringing the case total to 132, with one person hospitalized, 40 in isolation, and an unknown number of close contacts in quarantine.
Today’s 19 cases, which were counted over the past two days, are a record number of COVID confirmations in Mendocino County, and the fact that COVID has reached a nursing home is a cause for substantial concern as the elderly are particularly susceptible to the disease, and in other states nursing home outbreaks have accounted for a disproportionate number of deaths.
The three new cases are the nursing home, Sherwood Oaks Skilling Nursing, are among residents, and follow a positive test among one of the staff members on July 7, implying, though not confirming, that this staff member may have been the vector in this small outbreak. Sherwood Oaks has moved to to an “outbreak response,” requiring full “personal protective equipment” (PPE) for staff, and isolating the residents in their rooms.
Last week saw a slew of new developments in the pandemic, including the passage of a new masking ordinance by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, moves to more strictly enforce and fine people who refuse to mask (without legitimate medical exemption), Doohan confirming that she believes that Mendocino has seen its first COVID death, Lake County experiencing its first COVID death, and Sonoma County being placed on a state watchlist — a first step towards closing that county back down.
At the press conference and on previous occasions Doohan has described Mendocino as a ‘firewall” guarding the infrastructurally more fragile counties to the north from the worsening pandemic in the Bay Area. At said press conference Doohan remarked that the case count was doubling every 19 days, a pattern roughly held to even with today’s big jump. Though that growth is quick, it doesn’t represent true exponential growth. In the case of true exponential growth the time it takes to double would become shorter, rather than staying roughly steady as it has in Mendo. Speaking about this Doohan called it “a very good indicator that we are flattening the curve and slowing the spread due to what every single person in this county is doing.” Still, it is unclear how long this pattern will persist, and a spike from private Independence Day parties is still expected and pending.
Even with the new cases at the nursing home, the biggest jump in cases continues to be among people of prime working years from 19 to 49. Community spread has been confirmed in the Ukiah Valley, and potential in other areas of the county, but the actual percentage of cases resulting from community spread, as opposed to such sources as close contact (generally with family members) is very unclear. As the case load has increased the county government’s capacity to do full contact tracing and case investigation appears to be faltering, with an ever larger percentage of cases being designated as “under investigation.” Currenlty 47% of cases are listed as under investigation, up from only 24% under investigation on June 23, when the case count was roughly half of what it is today.
Here is the press release from Mendocino County:
Health Officer Confirms 19 New COVID-19 Cases and First Outbreak at a Skilled Nursing Facility
Post Date: 07/12/2020 4:30 PM
Today, Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan confirmed 19 new cases of COVID-19 reported to the County over the last 2 days. County staff has been working all weekend conducting case investigation and contact tracing. The number of Mendocino County COVID-19 cases is now 132 (91 Recovered; 1 hospitalized; 40 on home isolation).
Mendocino County is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases and it’s important every resident help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe by wearing a facial covering that covering the nose and mouth; practicing social distancing; avoiding gatherings, confined spaces and close contact with others. COVID-19 incubation period is up to 14 days and Public Health is concerned we may experience an additional spike in cases resulting from increased activity county-wide over the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Of the 19 new cases, 3 are residents at Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing Facility in Fort Bragg. On July 7 an employee of the facility tested positive for COVID-19 and was promptly placed into isolation. Following the positive case an immediate plan was made in collaboration with Public Health to test all the employees and residents. The results of these tests included 3 positive test for COVID-19, all of whom were residents of the facility. These results were reported to Public Health on July 11. Once the COVID-19 status of the employee was reported to the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) on July 7, the facility went immediately into outbreak response with full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all staff and isolation of residents in their rooms. In addition, the facility was following the Health Officer’s Medical Masking Order which provides additional protections to SNFs.
The 3 new cases in the SNF were identified through testing conducted by the SNF on July 8 and processed at the Public Health Viral and Rickettsial Disease Lab (VRDL) in Richmond. The VRDL is available to the County for COVID-19 outbreak testing. All 3 individuals are currently asymptomatic. Case investigation and contract tracing was immediately initiated. The recent death at the facility tested negative for COVID-19 and the cause of death at this time is presumed to be unrelated to COVID-19. Public Health is doing further investigation and awaiting the death certificate. In addition, Public Health has reported this outbreak to the State as required and will be working with the State in support and review of the actions to contain the outbreak. Thus far Mendocino County is not on the State watch list. Additional testing will be conducted Monday, July 13, in effort to monitor and continue timely response to this outbreak.
Public Health and the SNFs throughout the County have been meeting weekly for months, led by our Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC), to allow a coordinated response to potential outbreaks and to ensure SNFs have sufficient PPE and prevention protection protocols in place. The County and SNFs follow all the State guidelines including; using Optum Serve to do surveillance testing for 100% of SNF staff monthly and offering SNF surveillance testing to residents through Public Health. The preparation, planning, frequently testing and adherence to State guidelines were a key factor in the quick and coordinated response to this outbreak.Mendocino Public Health
UPDATE 7/7/20 — The Mendocino County COVID-19 count is now at 98, having gone up by another six since yesterday. Four of the cases are in the Ukiah region, one is in the North Coast region, and the last one is in North County. (See note on regions below.) Of the six people tested positive today, three are Latino, which continues a trend where Latino people make up slightly more than 50% of all cases in the county.
UPDATE 7/6/20 — The count of COVID cases in Mendocino County rose by another seven today, up to a total of 92 people who have been confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus at some point. Of the two were Cal Fire firefighters who reside in the county. Four other firefighters for Cal Fire fell ill here in Mendocino County in this same outbreak, but as they reside in other counties, those four cases are not being counted towards the Mendocino total.
Last week also seems to have seen the first death of a Mendocino County resident due to COVID — though no official declaration of a cause of death appears to have been made yet, and his death is not yet being counted as a COVID death in the official County tally. The man had been hospitalized in Mendocino County, but was discharged some weeks ago to a rehabilitation center in Marin County, according to his family. More details can be read in his family’s statement here.
For more information about the small outbreak among firefighters in Leggett follow this link.
On another note, in recent weeks people have asked us for graphs and analysis of the pandemic in Mendocino County, so we’ve produced the following graphs to help breakdown just what’s happening. These graphs, of course, only give a partial snapshot of what’s happening. The reality of community spread means that there may be a great many infected, and asymptomatic, people who have simply not been tested and are actively spreading the disease.
In the graph below, contrasting recovered people with active cases, we can see a clear trend upwards. Without a vaccine it is likely that an ever greater number of people will be infected and recover or die (green and orange lines), until heard immunity is reached. However, depending on how fast this happens a larger or smaller percentage of people will be in isolation or hospitalized at any given moment. One of the main ideas behind the goal of “flattening the curve,” is to ensure that the spread of the disease is slow enough to keep the number of people in the hospital low, so that hospital and other infrastructure isn’t overwhelmed. In a situation where hospitals are overwhelmed the quality of care will decline, and the death rate will go up. In addition, people who are in the hospital for other more routine reasons will see their quality of care impinged on. The more elusive goal would be to flatten the curve sufficiently for the discovery of a vaccine to arrive before millions of people die.
Mendocino Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan said in her last press conference that by August there could be 50 or more people in Mendocino County hospitals each day — though not 50 new hospitalizations each day.
The graph below shows the racial composition of infections, as a percentage of total infections. While Latinos make up roughly a quarter of the population of Mendocino, the percentage of infected people belong to that racial group is well above half, and has risen over the course of the pandemic.
In this graph we’ve plotted the number of people in each age group who are infected. As is clear, while the people infected initially skewed older, as the pandemic has progressed people of prime working years between 19 and 49, and also children. The purple line represents our attempt to produce and average age of infected people, and is plotted on the right vertical axis. To get this number we calculated a weighted average using the middle age of each cohort as an average for the cohort.
Finally we have our region breakdown (a definition of regions is available below). This is also plotted as a percentage, not in raw numbers. As is clear early in the pandemic things were more evenly distributed, but now the Ukiah Valley area has become the hotspot with a very large majority of cases.
UPDATE 6/24/20, 7:00 p.m. — Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Mendocino County since yesterday, bringing the total to 74. Both cases were in the Ukiah Valley. Both people were between 19 and 49, and both were Latino, making it the cases that more than 50% of all cases in the county are now among Latino people.
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 [email protected] 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