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COVID-19: One more reported case brings total to 125 in SLO County, recovery rate is high 


–On Thursday afternoon, the County of San Luis Obispo reported 125 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 104 recoveries. One person has died from the virus. That leaves 20 active cases of the disease in the county. Two people remain in the ICU. The curve of new infections has remained steady and is “flattening,” according to county health officials.

By Thursday afternoon, there were at least 27,201 cases and 896 deaths in the State of California; and 654,301 cases in the United State of 3,262,921 people tested; and 32,186 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors’ new Chair Lynn Compton said there will not be a full opening of the local community or the state until there is a certain level of herd immunity for COVID-19 among the populace. Guidelines for re-opening will come from the state, she said.

Dr. Penny Borenstein, the county health officer, added, “At the end of the day, the only way we go back to complete normal is when there is a vaccine or widespread herd immunity.”

Borenstein reviewed the six steps outlined by the State of California that are required to lift current restrictions:

California’s six indicators for modifying the stay-at-home order

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.


“We feel we are in a good position in this county,” Borenstein said regarding the steps.

Borenstein said one case of COVID-19 was reported this week at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. She said the individual was not in close contact with other people, so health officials are hopeful there is not going to be an outbreak there.

She said the rate of recovery for COVID-19 patients in SLO County is high, at about 85-percent.

The San Luis Obispo County Health Department is live-streaming regular press conferences on its Facebook page. Click here to see their page, “follow” to be reminded when they go live.

Distribution of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Paso Robles reported COVID-19 cases: 31
  • Atascadero reported COVID-19 cases: 23
  • Arroyo Grande reported COVID-19 cases: 17
  • City of San Luis Obispo reported COVID-19 cases: 14
  • Morro Bay reported COVID-19 cases: 6
  • Templeton reported COVID-19 cases: 7
  • Nipomo reported COVID-19 cases: 10
  • Pismo Beach reported COVID-19 cases: 5
  • Other San Luis Obispo County reported COVID-19 cases: 12

Ages of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County

  • Age 0-17 years old – 6
  • Age 18-49 years old – 46
  • Age 50 – 64 years  – 37
  • Age 65 and older – 36

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

  • At home – 16
  • Hospitalized – 4 (2 in ICU)
  • Recovered – 104
  • Deaths – 1

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

  • Travel related transmission – 43
  • Known person-to-person transmission – 42
  • Unknown community-acquired transmission – 36
  • Unknown – 4

Number of people tested for COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County

The county reports conducting 790 COVID-19 tests. An unknown number of residents have been tested by private labs, the county reports. The county detected 48 cases, and 77 cases were detected by private labs. Private labs doing testing include WestPac Labs, Quest Diagnostics, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories, LabCorp, and VRDL.

Recent SLO County COVID-19 coronavirus updates

Additional information from the State of California:

Governor announces paid sick leave benefits for food sector workers

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order to support California workers from large employers in the food sector industry impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with two weeks of paid sick leave, filling a gap left by federal relief that had provided similar paid leave benefits for employers with fewer than 500 workers.

Workers in the food sector, including farmworkers, agricultural workers, and those working in grocery stores and fast food chains, and as delivery drivers, are part of the state’s essential infrastructure workforce, and have continued to work to serve Californians.

“These workers on the front lines of this crisis are our unsung heroes for continuing to work to ensure that Californians have food on their tables during these challenging times, and we must do everything in our power to make sure they are taken care of at home and in the workplace. Making sure they have paid sick leave and added protections in their place of work is critical,” said Governor Newsom.

Additionally, the Executive Order provides health and safety standards to increase worker and customer protection by permitting workers at food facilities to wash their hands every 30 minutes, or as needed, to increase proper sanitation measures.

The Administration has taken several actions to ensure food worker protections, including recently issued guidance by Cal/OSHA for the grocery industry on best practices on physical distancing, disinfecting, and the use of reusable bags. Also, the Governor released $100 million to support child care for essential infrastructure workers, including grocery workers, and vulnerable populations last week.

Governor announces initiatives to support workers impacted by COVID-19

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced new initiatives to support the millions of California workers who have lost jobs or wages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Governor’s direction, the Employment Development Department (EDD) will launch a new call center on Monday that will operate 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Unemployment Insurance Branch will be upstaffed with 1,340 employees, including 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from across state government. The Governor also directs EDD to expedite access to the Work Share program to avert layoffs.

The EDD will also stand up a one-stop shop for individuals applying for unemployment insurance and the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program starting April 28. The PUA will provide federally funded benefits distinct from UI program for certain individuals out of work or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. This includes the self-employed, ​individuals who may be employees but who lack sufficient work history and independent contractors. Federal guidelines include gig workers and California’s gig workers will continue to be protected by our strong laws against misclassification in the administration of PUA. PUA benefits will be issued within 24-48 hours – not the traditional 21 days ​for regular UI claims.

“Many Californians are one paycheck away from losing their homes or from being able to put food on their tables, and COVID-19 has only made these challenges worse,” said Governor Newsom. “California is focused on getting relief dollars and unemployment assistance in the hands of those who need it as quickly as possible.”

The Governor also announced an unprecedented $125 million in disaster relief assistance for working Californians. This first in the nation, statewide public-private partnership will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by COVID-19. California will provide $75 million in disaster relief assistance and philanthropic partners have committed to raising an additional $50 million.

“California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient. Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together,” said Governor Newsom.

California’s $75 million Disaster Relief Fund will support undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19 who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Act, due to their immigration status. Approximately 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $500 per adult with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the specific needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can apply for support beginning next month.

The state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.

Governor signs order on division of juvenile justice discharge and reentry process

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an executive order that addresses the release and reentry process at the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so that eligible youth serving time at DJJ can be discharged safely and expeditiously.

The executive order calls for all discharge and reentry hearings to be held via videoconference to minimize the youth’s and other participants’ exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, notification given to county probation departments, the court in the county of commitment, and the youth’s legal counsel will be shortened from 60 days to 30 days before holding a discharge consideration hearing. The discharge hearing is conducted by the Board of Juvenile Hearings.

The order also allows for reentry consideration hearings—which are held in the court of commitment after approval of discharge consideration hearings—to take place at the DJJ facility where the youth are housed, instead of transferring youth to a county jail to await these hearings.

This new timeframe does not impact victim notification, as they already receive a 30-day notice. Victims and victim representatives will be able to participate in the videoconference hearings.

On March 24, Governor Newsom signed an executive order temporarily halting the intake of youth offenders into DJJ in response to COVID-19 efforts.

A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here.

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.



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.