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COVID-19: San Luis Obispo County reports 77 coronavirus cases, 27 recoveries 

Click for latest March 31 COVID-19 update: SLO County reports 80 coronavirus cases, 30 recoveries 


–On Monday, March 30, at 1:30 p.m., the County of San Luis Obispo updated the community regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time 77 local residents have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. That’s six more cases than reported Sunday and appears to continue to show a stable rate of new infections. The county reports that 27 local patients have now recovered from the virus, one is in intensive care units, seven are hospitalized, and 43 are at home.

There are 39 cases in North San Luis Obispo County, 20 cases in Paso Robles, 13 cases in Atascadero, and six cases in Templeton. By Tuesday morning, there were at least 7,394 cases and 149 deaths in the State of California and 164,610 cases and 3,170 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Information as of 1:30 p.m., March 30:

Distribution of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Paso Robles reported COVID-19 cases: 20
  • Atascadero reported COVID-19 cases: 13
  • Arroyo Grande reported COVID-19 cases: 12
  • City of San Luis Obispo reported COVID-19 cases: 7
  • Morro Bay reported COVID-19 cases: 6
  • Templeton reported COVID-19 cases: 6
  • Nipomo reported COVID-19 cases: 5
  • Other San Luis Obispo County reported COVID-19 cases: 8

Ages of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Age 0-17 years old – 3
  • Age 18-49 years old – 33
  • Age 50-64 – 20
  • Age 65 years or older – 21

Cases of COVID-19 by status in San Luis Obispo County

  • At home – 43
  • Hospitalized – 7
  • Hospitalized in intensive care – 1
  • Recovered – 27
  • Deaths – 0

Source of transmission of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Travel related transmission – 28
  • Known person-to-person transmission – 24
  • Unknown community-acquired transmission –17
  • Unknown – 8

Cases of COVID-19 by testing laboratory

  • SLO County Public Health Lab –34
  • Private labs – 43

Private labs doing testing include WestPac Labs, Quest Diagnostics, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories, LabCorp, VRDL. As of Monday afternoon, the county reports conducting 416 COVID-19 tests. An unknown number of residents have been tested by private labs, the county reports.

Regional COVID-19 coronavirus cases by county

San Luis Obispo County’s total number of COVID-19 cases is higher than its neighboring counties as a percentage of population. Information posted as of  6 a.m., March 31:

Recent updates include

Additional information from government agencies:

County seeking donations of personal protective equipment from community

–The County of San Luis Obispo is accepting donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the community. Donated PPE will supplement supplies the County is coordinating and distributing to local health care providers and first responders. See below for details regarding the types and criteria of PPE needed.

“We know a lot of people want to help as our community works together to combat this disease, and while we appreciate that some people want to make homemade masks and other protective equipment, we cannot accept homemade items,” said County Administrative Officer and Emergency Services Director Wade Horton. “We encourage anyone who wants to help to visit for information on how to volunteer.”

Types of PPE Accepted:

  • N95 masks (NIOSH-approved)
  • Surgical and procedure masks (FDA-approved)
  • Exam gloves (powder-free; nitrile or latex preferred)
  • Isolation gowns/coveralls
  • Hospital-grade cleaning wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Eye protection: Face shields. goggles, safety glasses
  • Thermometers: Disposable and non-contact/temporal scanner

Criteria for Donated PPE:

  • Sealed, original packaging
  • Not expired (with the exception of NIOSH-approved N95 masks in accordance with the Emergency Use Authorization)
  • No stains, odors, or tears

Governor announces California Health Corps, a major initiative to expand health care workforce

– Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday launched a major new initiative to expand California’s health care workforce and recruit health care professionals to address the COVID-19 surge. Health care professionals with an active license, public health professionals, medical retirees, medical and nursing students, or members of medical disaster response teams in California are all encouraged to join the new California Health Corps.

Interested medical and health care professionals are encouraged to visit for more information and to register for the California Health Corps. Medical doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, behavioral health scientists, pharmacists, EMTs, medical and administrative assistants, as well as certified nursing assistants are encouraged to step up and meet this moment to help California respond to the outbreak.

The Governor also signed an executive order that will temporarily expand the health care workforce and allow health care facilities to staff at least an additional 50,000 hospital beds the state needs to treat COVID-19 patients.

“California’s health care workers are the heroes of this moment, serving on the front lines in the fight against this disease. To treat the rising number of patients with COVID-19, our state needs more workers in the health care field to join the fight. If you have a background in health care, we need your help.”

“Outreach to unemployed health care workers and under-employed foreign medical graduates will help build the workforce needed to fight the pandemic — and also create new opportunities and jobs for Californians struggling with unemployment,” said California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su.

“California must continue to prepare our health care delivery system and make sure it has every resource to respond to a potential surge in COVID-19 patients. California’s most valuable resource is its people and I join the Governor in calling on all medical professionals to join the fight against COVID-19,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Governor signs order providing relief to state’s small businesses

SACRAMENTO – On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that will provide tax, regulatory and licensing extensions for businesses.

The executive order allows the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to offer a 90-day extension for tax returns and tax payments for all businesses filing a return for less than $1 million in taxes. That means small businesses will have until the end of July to file their first-quarter returns.

Additionally, the order extends the statute of limitations to file a claim for refund by 60 days to accommodate tax and fee payers.

The executive order also includes extensions that impact state government workers, as well as consumers. For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles will limit in-person transactions for the next 60 days, allowing instead for mail-in renewals. Additionally, the Department of Consumer Affairs will waive continuing education requirements for several professions, also for the next 60 days.

Further, the order will extend the Office of Administrative Law’s deadlines to review regular department proposed regulations. The order also extends by 60 days the time period to complete investigation of public safety officers based on allegations of misconduct. Finally, deadlines for trainings, investigations, and adverse actions for state workers will also be extended.

State Insurance commissioner directs health insurance companies to provide increased telehealth access

OAKLAND, Calif. — On Monday, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the California Department of Insurance directed health insurance companies to provide increased telehealth access for consumers during the declared COVID-19 state of emergency. Health insurance companies must continue to provide access to medically necessary care and California policyholders should be able to access medically necessary health care without physically visiting their provider in person, when clinically appropriate.

This action affects two million Californians covered by the Department of Insurance-regulated health policies.

“Being able to interact with your health care provider electronically will protect vulnerable people from unnecessary in-person visits with their health providers and get them help faster,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Increasing access to telehealth helps consumers comply with social distancing guidelines, protects the health of vital health care providers, and guarantees access to care for our most vulnerable during these extraordinary times.”

The Notice from Commissioner Lara directs that health insurance companies provide increased access to health care services through telehealth and encourages patients to use telehealth delivery options, so as to limit the amount of in-person health care they seek while continuing to receive the essential care that they need during this challenging time. Cost-sharing requirements for services delivered via telehealth should be consistent with, or no greater than, the cost-sharing requirement for services delivered through in-person settings.

The Notice also provides that insurance companies should:
Allow all network providers to use all available and appropriate modes of telehealth delivery including, but not limited to, synchronous video, and telephone-based service delivery
Immediately implement reimbursement rates for telehealth services that mirror payment rates for an equivalent office visit
Eliminate barriers to providing medically and clinically appropriate care using appropriate telehealth delivery models
Use telehealth service delivery methods to enable consumers to have access to mental health and substance use disorder services, family therapy, and behavioral health services, including services to treat autism, among others

On March 18, Commissioner Lara directed health insurance companies to maintain health care access during the COVID-19 emergency including prescription refills. Insurance companies were required to submit emergency plans on prescriptions, maximizing telehealth, and ensuring network provider adequacy.

LA County announces seven new deaths related to COVID-19 – confirms 342 new cases

LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed seven new deaths and 342 new cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Six of the seven deaths reported today occurred in people over the age of 65; five of those had underlying health conditions. One death was reported in an individual between 41 – 65 years old who also had underlying health conditions. Additional information regarding some of the new cases is pending further investigation. Over the last 48 hours, there have been 675 new cases.

To date, Public Health has identified 2,474 cases across all areas of LA County, including 44 deaths. Upon further investigation, four cases reported earlier were not LA County residents. As of today, 492 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (20% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.

Current Health Officer Orders prohibit any public or private gatherings or events, and temporarily close all beaches and hiking trails throughout the entire County. Only essential businesses may remain open, and individuals are asked to stay home except to obtain essential goods or services. Health Officer Orders will continue through April 19.

“I want to thank everyone who is doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, both businesses and residents across the county who have met this moment with innovation and charity,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Los Angeles County Public Health Director. “This situation is serious, and I applaud the essential employees who meet the daily challenge of keeping the public healthy and our community functioning, from public safety and healthcare workers, to grocery store clerks and food deliverers. The greatest service the general public can provide is to stay home, to self-isolate when sick and to self-quarantine if exposed. These measures will make the biggest impact in our efforts to mitigate the infection rate in the county.”

What is the cause of COVID-19 transmission?

–Transmission of the COVID-19 virus appears to be caused by close and prolonged contact, Borenstein said. The greater the illness has affected someone, the more likely they are to transmit it to other people, she said. Asymptomatic transmission, if occurring at all, is a minor proportion of infections, she said. Airborne infection appears to be limited to someone infected who coughs or sneezes and vapor droplets may linger for a short period of time. But neither asymptomatic transmission nor airborne transmission appear to be a dominant means of transmission, she said. The virus does tend to transfer well with human contacts, like shaking hands, and linger on hard surfaces, studies have shown.

How people can protect themselves

Every person has a role to play. Protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:

  • Staying home except for essential activities – “Shelter at home
  • Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with your sleeve, or disposable tissue. Wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Practicing social distancing.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.

What to do if you think you’re sick

Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

San Luis Obispo County’s urgent communicable disease line is (805) 781-4553.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.