This week of June 29th-July 3rd newsletter gives you the latest update on local issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to move through this pandemic, I will be sending less frequent updates. Should major news or changes be released I will make sure to notify everyone. Remember to visit the County website about COVID-19 by clicking here which will be updated when anything NEW is announced.
County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel issued a new health order removing the limited beach closure that has been in place. We had hoped to keep the limited beach closure in place through July 4th but enforcement became untenable as State Parks and some cities chose not to enforce. Additionally and increasingly the Sheriff's Department found people would not even sign their citations and the deputies (wisely) chose not to arrest anyone over that. The risk of transmission at the beach has always been low and the beach closure was an effort to dissuade visitors from surrounding counties with greater numbers of cases from coming here. As we saw over the last few weekends, that has not worked as well as we hoped. While we have seen more cases in our county the new transmissions do not appear to be coming from outdoor beach activities. Most of the new cases have been spread through family contact. We are finding more cases because we have dozens of new contact tracers who are finding people who have been exposed and we are getting them tested. It remains critically important for us all to wear face coverings when in public, wash our hands, and keep a safe physical distance from others outside your household.
The current local Shelter In Place (SIP) order runs through July 6th. It is not expected to be renewed. This has caused some confusion. Although our county enacted a SIP before the State, once the State issued their SIP order we are under that Statewide SIP order. We can be more restrictive but not less. With our attestation and removal of the limited beach closure, our SIP order is now aligned with the State's order. Therefore there isn't a reason to have a separate local order. We are all covered by the State's SIP order, which includes a requirement for face coverings.
The County regrets to announce that a third county resident has died after experiencing complications from COVID-19. The patient was a male in his mid-90s who was undergoing hospice care. The method of transmission is under investigation but is thought to be person-to-person from a close contact. The individual resided in mid-county and passed away
last week on June 15th. COVID-19 was a significant contributing factor in his death, but not the primary cause. After consultation with State public health officials, the County is listing his death as COVID-19-related.
The County is also working on getting a definition from State for a 'COVID death.' It has been more than two months since the County reported its last COVID-19 death. The County would like to express its sincere condolences to the patient's family and friends.
County Health officials will be ending their weekly press conferences and switching them to an as-needed basis. You can review past press conferences on the County's COVID-19 Latest News page by clickinghere and scrolling down to Press Conferences and Media.
Upcoming Town Halls
I will host a Zoom Town Hall this Wednesday with Operation Chief Chris Clark to talk about the Sheriff's Office preparations for the July 4th holiday and other law enforcement issues in Santa Cruz County. This a good times to find out what the Sheriff's Office has planned for the holiday weekend.
Or Dial: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 Webinar ID: 922 8880 7052.
On July 8th I will be hosting Central Fire Chief Steven Hall. We will talk about preparations for the upcoming fire season and the changes at the fire district. The district is in process of consolidating with the Aptos/La Selva Fire District. Find out what you can do to be safe from fire and how the changes in organization at the district will affect you. Details about the meet will be shared through my Facebook page and in the press.
If you have missed any of these Town Hall meetings, I have included them all on my YouTube page. You can see and hear them by clicking here. For details about upcoming Town Halls please check my Facebook Page, the newspaper or www.friendsofjohnleopold.com.