WILLITS, 11/29/20 — As the worst surge in COVID-19 cases yet grips the nation, Mendocino County is not immune. The average number of people testing positive each day has surpassed the high point of the summer surge, and as of yesterday an average of about 26 people were testing positive for the disease in Mendocino County. The day after Thanksgiving as saw an all time high for cases in one day with 74, however, no cases were reported on Thanksgiving and so that number likely includes the count for two days. Still, even split between two days, that would still be 37 cases per day, higher than any other day yet (with the exception of a day in August where an accounting error bunched many test results together.
Worse still, the rate of growth of this surge appears faster than the previous high point seen after the Fourth of July, and does not yet account for what is certain to be greater spread in the wake of Thanksgiving travels.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned today that, “We may see a surge upon a surge.” Indeed in Mendo this new surge, already worse than the summer surge, does not yet include any new cases that have been transmitted as a result of people having family gatherings together locally, or even traveling out of county and returning home with the disease. The next few weeks are almost certain to see faster growth in the spread of the virus. Or as Facui said on ABC’s This Week, “We don’t want to frighten people, but that’s just the reality. We said that these things would happen as we got into the cold weather and as we began traveling, and they’ve happened.”
To that end the Mendocino County Public Health Office has issued a statement once more urging people and businesses to follow the purple tier restrictions that we have been placed under by the state. (You can see the press release, with specifics about restrictions, below.)
With cases quickly growing, there are no signs of a lessening of restrictions.
On Friday it was also announced that one more person had died of the disease. The death rate has thankfully gone down in Mendocino County, and doctors world wide have improve their treatments for COVID, but a particularly bad surge could strain local hospital capacity and result in worse treatment for people who do end up hospitalized.
Another interesting, if still subtle change, seems to be that as the disease has continued to infect larger numbers of people it is breaking out of communities where it was becoming endemic. In other words, the though Latinos still make up a majority of total COVID cases, their relative percentage of new cases is decreasing, and that of whites going up. Likewise, while Ukiah still has the overwhelming majority of cases, north county and other regions are seeing more growth.
However, age range and transmission type remain pretty steady, as does the large discrepancy between infection rates for men vs. women.
Public Health Urges Compliance with State Health Orders
On November 17, 2020, the state placed Mendocino County back into the Purple Tier in effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Since then, our county has seen greater increases than ever before in this Second Surge of daily cases, as well as an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
“As a medical professional, it is deeply troubling to see the COVID-19 case and hospitalization rate grow in our county as a result of noncooperation with state health orders,” said County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren. “I want life to get back to normal just as eagerly as all Mendocino County residents do, but if we as a community continue down this path, we will see major consequences. Our hospitals can become overrun like others throughout the country, and our healthcare workers will soon be overworked. To slow the spread of COVID-19 here, we desperately need our local business owners to take the lead in adhering to the State’s vital health orders. Gyms cannot allow patrons to workout indoors, as the spread of COVID-19 benefits from such allowances. Restaurants must ensure their outdoor dining accommodations are safe, for the sake of their guests’ health. It is my sincere hope that when businesses maintain this personal responsibility, individuals will follow suit.”
In alignment with the state’s Purple Tier category, the following industries must abide by these guidelines in order to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Gyms must operate outdoors only, while abiding by social distancing and facial covering requirements. A physician’s note does not allow for the use of any indoor amenity at a gym, including indoor machines, pools or saunas. Gyms must also ensure their outdoor accommodations are safe for their guests.*
- Restaurants must operate by means of takeout or outdoor dining only, while abiding by social distancing requirements, as well as facial covering requirements when not consuming food. Restaurants must also ensure their outdoor accommodations are safe for their guests.*
- Places of worship must operate outdoors only, while abiding by social distancing and facial covering requirements.
- Retail stores are limited to a maximum of 25% capacity, while abiding by social distancing and facial covering requirements.
- Skilled Nursing Facilities may no longer have in-person visitors.
*Regarding the modified outdoor operations of any business, the California Department of Public Health requires that at least 3 sides of the outdoor space (or 75%) must be open to the outdoors, meaning that an outdoor space used to accommodate guests cannot be mostly enclosed with makeshift walls, screens or canopies.
The state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy lays out a clear picture of what the different tiers mean to each business sector. For a complete list of allowable activities under the Purple Tier 1, please visit www.covid19.ca.gov. As a reminder, all businesses must complete a COVID-19 self-certification process prior to opening for the first time at
The COVID-19 Second Surge has arrived in our region, and individual responsibility is key to slowing the spread. Remember:
- Support local businesses that ensure the safety of their guests, according to state health orders
- Avoid all gatherings, even with family members outside of your immediate household Wear a facial covering over your nose and mouth at all times when in public Practice social distancing when in public
- Stay home when you feel sick