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ARCHIVE - Coronavirus Updates - April 13-15

NOTE: This page is an ARCHIVE of KAZU's online coverage, of April 13-15, 2020.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

CALIFORNIA

4pm

As of April 14, there are now 24,424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California. 821 people have died. More than 227,600 tests have been conducted. Local health departments have reported 2,789 positive cases in health care workers.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY

3:50pm

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office says since the introduction of the shelter-in-place order their office has been doing increased patrols and security checks around vacant businesses. They say they will continue to identify businesses that are at increased risk of criminal activity because they are vacant.

Any business owners interested in signing up for a Business Security Inspection or looking for more information can call 831-454-7689.

3:40pm

As the Santa Cruz County temporary park/beach closure is slated to expire on April 15 at 11:59 pm, the county is reminding the public that State and County Shelter-In-Place and Social Distancing Orders remain in effect and will continue to be enforced in the City of Santa Cruz.

While outdoor exercise is considered an essential activity, it should be done close to home. Residents are advised to use outdoor City facilities within their neighborhoods. Travelling to a destination for exercise continues to be considered non-essential. For more information click here.

3:30pm

Santa Cruz County is taking action to limit vehicular traffic at local beaches during the shelter-in-place order. Any vehicle not displaying a valid residential or temporary Live Oak Parking Program (LOPP) permit will be cited from April 17, with enforcement in place seven days a week. Residents in the LOPP zones and seasonal permit holders are encouraged to apply for their 2020 season permit immediately. To apply click here. In addition, parking will be further restricted at County-owned beach lots in order to encourage physical distancing. And parking and vehicular access restrictions at local State Parks remain in effect.

1:15pm

To provide emergency financing for small businesses that are not well served by other state and federal loan programs, or are in need of bridge funding to meet immediate working capital needs, the Santa Cruz City Council has approved the establishment of the Santa Cruz Resilience Microloan Program. The program will provide loans ranging from $5,000-$10,000 that can be used for operating expenses such as rent, payroll, utilities, inventory and supplies. Interest rates vary from 0% for bridge loans, and up to 3% for terms up to 3 years. Details about the program and how to qualify can be found here.

9:50am

As of April 15, Santa Cruz County is reporting 96 known cases of COVID-19. 17 people have required hospitalization and 2 people have died. 41 people have recovered from the virus. 2,460 negative lab results have been recorded.

9:40am

CASA (court appointed special advocates) of Santa Cruz County say they are actively witnessing, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the risk of child abuse and neglect to children increase dramatically. They say as community members experience increased levels of stress, incidents of abuse and neglect will increase therefore the need for CASA advocates is even more vital. If you’d like to get involved, find out about informational meetings here

MONTEREY COUNTY

4:20pm

Monterey County Supervisors Mary Adams and Jane Parker will be holding a joint ‘Peninsula Community Virtual Town Hall’ for local businesses on Thursday, April 16 from 2-3pm. The meeting will be available on Zoom, and will be recorded and posted on Youtube after.

3:20pm

MST or Monterey-Salinas Transit has seen a 74% decrease in ridership since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They are practising social distancing on their buses. Stickers have been placed on board to show where passengers can sit, and small buses are transporting no more than 4 people at one time. If a bus is deemed full another bus is dispatched to the route. Masks and gloves have been provided to drivers. Drivers of small buses are wearing their masks all the time. Cleaning is happening multiple times a day.

MST says it wants to keep its drivers employed during the pandemic so it's looking at opportunities to turn buses in wifi hotspots and place them in rural areas where there is limited broadband service. They are also delivering meals and have completed about 100 trips for Meals On Wheels. Drivers are also on standby to transport the homeless to housing sites if deemed necessary.

3pm

The Monterey County Emergency Operations Center says of all the sites they have identified, only the Marina Airport (Joby Aviation facility) will be used as an Alternative Care Site during the coronavirus pandemic. If local hospitals are unable to cope with a surge in cases the Marina Airport site will be able to support between 250 and 350 patients.

The other sites they have identified will be used as Alternative Housing Sites. They will house, if deemed necessary, up to 500 people. These are:

Monterey County Fairgrounds, City of Monterey

San Lorenzo Park, King City

Laguna Seca Recreation Area

Sites in the Salinas area (still to be determined). 

Alternate Housing Sites are temporary housing for persons who have been confirmed COVID-19 positive or being monitored but require minimal or no medical care and live in compromised, congested, or congregate living situations with no alternate housing.

2:11pm

The Monterey County Behavioral Health department has launched the ‘Forward Together’ initiative which is a variety of virtual opportunities for social connection, information sharing, and live discussions. The categories include help for seniors, parents and educators. There will also be mindfulness and self care classes. Information can be found here

1:45pm

Fourteen thousand non medical masks will be distributed to the public in Parking lot C at Monterey Peninsula College on Thursday, April 16 between 3:30pm and 5 pm. The masks are being donated by parents of Chinese students at Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach.

1:20pm

The City of Monterey has a coronavirus webpage that has information about economic assistance for employees and employers, restaurants offering to-go and delivery services, special hours at grocery stores and more.

1pm

The Monterey City Operation Outreach program will be sending out postcards to city residents informing them of the program. The postcards will include a phone number they can use to reach volunteers. Operation Outreach has been calling both residents and those who use facilities such as the library and sports center. The program offers help and support to community members during the pandemic.

11:20am

As of April 13, there are 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. 13 new cases were reported on April 13. 2,019 tests have been conducted. The number of deaths remains at 3. The county's daily situation report includes data on age, gender, exposure risk and clinical information.

9:30am

The Monterey Beer Festival has been postponed from July 11th to October 17th because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY

2:05pm

Santa Clara County is reporting, as of April 15, 1,793 confirmed cases of COVID- 19. A total of 65 people have died. 71 news cases and 1 new death was reported today (April 15). 195 patients are currently hospitalized. 16,585 people have been tested.

TUESDAY, APRIL 14

SANTA CLARA COUNTY

5:20pm

Santa Clara county has added a long-term facility data dashboard to their coronavirus informational webpage. The county’s public health department says they are paying special attention to long-term care facilities because their clients are at higher risk for more severe disease from COVID-19. They have a specialized team that responds to cases and potential outbreaks in long-term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities.

CALIFORNIA

3pm

The California Department of Public Health says as of April 13, 758 people have died from COVID-19. There are 23,338 confirmed cases. Local health departments have reported 2,599 confirmed positive cases in health care workers. More than 215,400 tests had been conducted in the state (some of these results are pending).

12:20pm

Local Congressman Jimmy Panetta has announced the distribution of $12,892,025 in federal government grants for airports in California’s 20th Congressional District experiencing severe economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding for these grants comes from the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and through the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The funds are available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and airport debt payments.

Hollister - Hollister Municipal- CVH- $30,000

King City - Mesa Del Rey - KIC - $30,000

Marina - Marina Municipal - OAR - $30,000

Monterey - Monterey Regional - MRY - $12,664,025

Salinas - Salinas Municipal - SNS - $69,000

Watsonville - Watsonville Municipal - WVI - $69,000

10:20am

The U.S. Department of Education has granted preliminary approval to California’s request for flexibility in using federal funds to ease the immediate impacts of COVID-19 school closures.
The waivers loosen restrictions on how and when federal education funds can be spent. They remove a cap on technology purchases, ease limits on the amount of unspent federal funds that can be carried over from one federal fiscal year to the next, and relax rules about the use of money for teacher professional development.

MONTEREY COUNTY

3:45pm

The 53rd Annual Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival that was to be held at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center on August 1st and 2nd, 2020, is being cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

3:30pm

Monterey County is creating an Emergency Microloan Fund within its Small Business Revolving Loan Program with Cal Coastal to assist local small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Businesses can apply for loans up to $25,000 at a reduced interest rate (rate at 75% of WSJ Prime). Loans will have up to a 5-year term, with payments deferred for up to nine months.

Find out more here or call (831) 424-1099.

3:20pm

The Care and Shelter Branch in the Monterey County Emergency Operations Center has developed what they’re calling an aggressive, two-pronged approach of using Alternate Care Sites and Alternate Housing Sites to care for and house local residents, should the county experience an anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases over the next several months, which could potentially overwhelm the local healthcare system.

The following sites have been identified for use:

  • Monterey County Fairgrounds, City of Monterey
  • San Lorenzo Park, King City
  • Laguna Seca Recreation Area
  • Marina Airport, City of Marina (Joby Aviation facility)
  • Sites in the Salinas area

Should the county experience a COVID-19 surge, sites that have been identified could open in late April, May or June.
Alternate Care Sites are large facilities that can accommodate the anticipated surge beyond the collective hospital capability.

Alternate Housing Sites are temporary housing for persons who have been confirmed COVID-19 positive or being monitored but require minimal or no medical care and live in compromised, congested, or congregate living situations with no alternate housing.

 1:05pm

The agenda for the Tuesday, April 21 Monterey City Council meeting will be out on April 15. It is expected the council will approve setting up a city stimulus plan that involves aid for laid off residents. The city is planning to include non-governmental partners to help administer the program. The aim is to aid those laid off workers who have a demonstrated need for financial help.

12:50pm

This Friday, April 17 from 1 - 3 pm, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, is partnering with the Food Bank of Monterey County, the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey, and the cities of Marina and Seaside to offer ‘Food for Families’ again at Los Arboles Middle School and Seaside High School. Recipients are encouraged to stay in their vehicles and drive thru to access food.

12:45pm

A group of Monterey residents, who call themselves “The Sewing Sisterhood of Monterey,” have donated 500 non-medical masks to the city for city employees and first responders.

12:45pm

A new ‘mask give away’ has been scheduled for this Thursday, April 16th from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Fifteen thousand masks will be distributed at Monterey Peninsula College. The masks are being donated by parents of Chinese students at Robert Louis Stevenson School.

12:40am

The city of Monterey is now estimating a $10 million general fund loss in revenue for the period March 15th through June 30th due to the coronavirus. The city’s annual budget is $80 million. Much of the loss of revenue is due to lower than normal collections from the transit (hotel) tax, sales taxes, Convention Center and Sports Center income.

12:10pm

Monterey County Business Council and the Cal Coastal Small Business Development Center will hold an online webinar in Spanish this Friday, April 17 from 10-11am. The webinar will cover small business disaster loans and assistance. They will specifically review requirements for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the federal CARES relief package for the COVID-19 crisis.

11am

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office says it has received numerous complaints about ongoing construction activities that may be occurring in violation of Monterey County’s revised Shelter-in-Place Order.
The revised April 3rd Order allows only the types of construction activities that are listed below to continue while the shelter-in-place restrictions are in effect:

1. Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure;

2. Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations;

3. Affordable housing that is or will be at least partially income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments;

4. Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;

5. Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;

6. Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;

7. Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and

8. Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable and operable, to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed.

Reports of non-essential construction activity may be sent to the District Attorney’s Office at consumercomplaints@co.monterey.ca.us or quejasdelconsumidor@co.monterey.ca.us or by calling (831) 755-5070.

10:05am

As of April 12, there have been 87 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Monterey County residents. This number remains unchanged from April 11. A total of 1,930 people have been tested. The amount of deaths remains at 3.

10am

Monterey Bay Community Power or MBCP have announced that they will defer electric generation charges by 50% for the months of May and June. They estimate the total customer bill deferment will be around $22.4 million.

To recover part of the deferred generation charges, MBCP will decrease its Energy Programs funding from 4% to 3% of revenue through 2021. MBCP will also adjust its electric generation rates to 2% below PG&E’s for the months of July through December 2020. Customers pay for the service through their PG&E bills. Your PG&E bill indicates if you are a Monterey Community Power customer.

9:40am

A Carmel couple has donated $500,000 to Montage Health Foundation to help support the work of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Montage Health says to prepare for and rapidly respond to a potential surge of COVID-19 cases they have dramatically suspended or reduced non-urgent services. They add that at the same time, costs for protective equipment, emergency supplies and critical-care staffing are escalating. Because of that they have set up a Most Critical Need Fund.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY

5:15pm

At the Mayor’s direction, City of Santa Cruz flags will fly at half-staff from April 16–18, to honor the sacrifice of the numerous public safety workers, doctors, nurses, and other essential employees across the country who have lost their lives while trying to help and protect communities from COVID-19.

3:05pm

The City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation says out of deep concern for the health and safety of the community they are cancelling the following 2020 summer events:

  • Japanese Cultural Fair – June 6, 2020
  • Juneteenth – June 13, 2020
  • Woodies on the Wharf – June 27, 2020
  • Church Street Fair – August 1-2, 2020

11:20am
The Santa Cruz County Public Health Division has announced that a second resident with COVID-19 has died. The individual was a male in his late 60s with an underlying health condition. Officials say he was a grandfather and father and that he lived in South Santa Cruz County and was employed by a local university. He was admitted to a local hospital on April 9th with symptoms including fever, cough and fatigue, and was confirmed by laboratory testing to be positive for COVID-19. He died in a local hospital early on April 14th. Santa Cruz County now has 91 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

UC Santa Cruz announced today that one of their campus shuttle drivers, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, died today from complications related to the virus. Santa Cruz County officials would not confirm, for privacy reasons, the identity of the patient.

9:30am

A new website has been launched in Santa Cruz that allows people to donate a meal that will be delivered fresh to staff at local hospitals, health clinics and other facilities.

Restaurants that are involved thus far include Charlie Hong Kong, Real Thai Kitchen, Vasili’s Greek Restaurant, Ambrosia, and Pacific Cookie Co. in Santa Cruz, and Ella’s at the Airport and the Wooden Nickel in Watsonville. Participating facilities include Dominican Hospital, Watsonville Community Hospital, Driftwood Health Care Center and Westwind Memory Care in Santa Cruz, and Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville.

MONDAY, APRIL 13

CALIFORNIA 

5pm

As of April 12, there are 22,348 confirmed cases  of COVID-19 in California, and there have been 687 deaths. Local health departments have reported 2,501 confirmed positive cases in health care workers. This includes on-the-job exposures, and other exposures, such as travel and close family contact. The California Department of Public Health has age, gender and race and ethnicity data on their website. More than 212,900 tests had been conducted in California.

4:10pm

Caltrans is issuing temporary permits to overweight trucks transporting emergency supplies in support of COVID-19 relief and prevention efforts. They say authorizing these special exceptions clears a path for greater volumes of material vital in the fight against the virus. These permits increase the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight from 80,000 to 88,000 pounds and will be valid until further notice.

MONTEREY COUNTY

3:50pm

The Carmel Public Library and Visit Carmel have teamed up to promote community solidarity with a “Carmel Shell-ter In Place” campaign. A shell template has been designed with the aim of disseminating it to as many families and business owners. Instructions include decorating and hanging the “Carmel Shell” in your home or business’ window as a sign of “shell-tering-in-place”. The idea is to cover the town in decorated shells. Download the shell here.

3:10pm

Monterey County says it is monitoring about 500 people who they say could have had significant exposure to people who have tested positive for COVID-19. 
Some individuals have already finished 14 days of quarantine, others are still in isolation. The county is prioritizing people who are at high risk of spreading the virus, for example those in nursing homes.

3pm:

Monterey County says that they are still in the process of identifying the location for an alternative care site. They do though add that if the community continues to follow the current shelter-in-place order, there may not be a need for a site. They say social distancing has slowed the spread of the virus.

2:45pm

Monterey County has been decreasing the number of youth in their juvenile hall population during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 17 there were 50 people in detention and as of April 13, there are 20. They decreased the numbers by fast tracking those waiting for groups homes, for example. 

To help prevent the further spread of the virus 70% of probation staff are working remotely; all visitation has been suspended; and juvenile court is being done remotely. 

So that the youth can stay in contact with their families, phone access is currently free and video conferencing is being offered.

1:30pm

California Water Service or Cal Water, which supplies water to areas like King City and Salinas in Monterey County, is encouraging customers, who are experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to contact them for assistance. They are offering a due date extension or helping customers enroll in their Low-Income Ratepayer Assistance program.

1pm

The city of Monterey says an appeal they were running for donations of unused N-95 masks, that ended on April 10, ended with 836 medical masks being donated. The majority came from Big Sur Health Center.

11:50am

The city of Monterey says concern over people congregating in parks and on beaches over the Easter Weekend turned out to be unwarranted. Police and Park officials in Monterey reported no problems. They do though add that weather may have been a factor.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY

3:40pm

UC Santa Cruz says one of their employees, a campus shuttle driver who works in their Transportation and Parking Services, has tested positive for COVID-19. They have made the announcement in case a student, facility or staff came into contact with the driver. 
The employee drove the loop route on April 1 and 2 and has not been on campus since then. Transit records indicate that approximately 19 people rode the driver’s bus route over the course of the two days; identities of the passengers are unknown.
Because of social distancing protocols put in place on March 17, the university believes this case presents a low risk of exposure to the campus community. They say campus shuttle passengers use only the rear entrance of a bus to enter and exit the bus; passengers are separated by at least six feet from the bus driver; and buses are cleaned several times throughout the day.

10:10am

The city of Santa Cruz is putting a temporary limit on commissions charged by third-party food delivery companies in the city. With the current shelter-in-place-order, many consumers are using third-party apps and websites to order food, and these third-party platforms charge restaurant fees. 

The order caps the per-order fee at 15%. The city says this will ease the financial burden on struggling restaurants during this emergency while continuing to allow third-party platforms to earn profits.

This order will take effect on April 16.

10am

The city of Santa Cruz has released a https://vimeo.com/406432222">video message from the city manager, Martin Bernal, sharing an update on how the city is responding to COVID-19. 

The mayors of Santa Cruz and Capitola, along with County Supervisor John Leopold,  also shared a https://vimeo.com/406020474?fbclid=IwAR2v7_EhcKauCOKxiB10DYSD_iMU09djW0Riv2MNyVnfEJ3yK7tfBxSGwOs">video message on what they’re asking visitors and tourists to do to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.   

The city of Santa Cruz has launched a virtual recreation resource page. It includes five categories: Fun for Seniors, Fun Outside, Fun at Home, Arts and Culture and Local Resources.

MONTEREY COUNTY

9:25am

At the April 14 Monterey County Board of Supervisors meeting, there will be a public presentation on how COVID-19 is affecting the county. The special report will include scientific modelling showing the anticipated peak of the virus; the current state of testing; a care and shelter plan update; and details on economic support. 

The presentation is scheduled for 10:30am after the Board takes care of routine matters. You can view the meeting online and give or send comments before and during the meeting.