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Update: City and State ‘direct’ all bars, wineries, breweries to close, ask seniors to stay home 

Gov-Newsom-coronavirus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a recent press conference.

Newsom calls for home isolation of all people 65-years-old and older, restaurants asked to limit occupancy by 50-percent

–California Governor Gavin Newsom gave a press conference Sunday afternoon to offer new measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the state. He began by reporting that 8,316 Californians have been tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus and 335 cases are confirmed. Six people have died in California of the virus, he said.

In San Luis Obispo County, health officials have tested at least 149 individuals, two people have tested positive, and 11 suspected cases are under quarantine. Santa Barbara County reported its first case over the weekend.

“Most important thing is to protect the most vulnerable, protect our seniors,” he said. “We are calling for the home isolation of all seniors in the state of California,” and those with chronic conditions, he said. Some 5.3 million Californians are 65-years-old and over, he said.

“We are directing that all bars, night clubs, wineries, brewpubs, and the like, be closed in the state of California,” Newsom said. “We believe that this is a non-essential function in our state and we believe that is appropriate under the circumstances.”

He also directed restaurants to create “social distance” for patrons. Specifically, he said the state is reducing the current occupancy of restaurants by half.


City of Paso Robles issues same guidelines

The governor advised all seniors age 65 and older, and individuals with underlying health conditions to remain at home in isolation, the City of Paso Robles said in a statement. “He also called for bars and wineries to close,” the city said. “Restaurants can remain open but are advised to limit occupancy—by as much as half—in order to achieve social distancing. The City of Paso Robles urges local residents and businesses to adhere to these guidelines.”RFP emergency warming center

Residents are also encouraged to practice social distancing as recommended by public health officials in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This requires minimizing gatherings to the greatest extent possible and maintaining space of at least six feet between individuals when gatherings cannot be canceled or postponed.

All Paso Robles Unified School District schools will be closed until at least April 13th.

Most city services will continue, but many will be in a modified to maintain social distancing, the city said.  The city has modified programs and meetings that involve group gatherings. Non-emergency police calls will be handled by officers over the phone. The city urges residents to call into the city for as much other business as possible using the city directory. See more local closures and postponed events here.

Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin encourages residents to “Stay calm, stay in control, stay strong Paso Robles.”

The Paso Robles City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, will be held as scheduled with social distancing implemented; residents are encouraged to live stream the meeting on YouTube and may call (888) 867-1694 to provide public comment via phone.

Employers who are experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 can apply for an unemployment insurance work-sharing program through the California Employee Development Department. Individuals who are unable to work due to exposure to COVID-19 can also file a disability insurance claim with EDD.


Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance updates guidance

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance updated guidance for its members on Sunday, saying, Gov. Newsom asked for “closure of bars, wineries, breweries, and pubs, and called for restaurants to reduce their occupancy by half”. The announcement, designed to limit places open to the public, called for “deep social distancing” and a “pragmatic response to the moment”.Wine-tasting-during-coronavirus-COVID-19

“Although these changes are urged rather than required, in his press conference Gov. Newsom said that if they were not followed he would make them mandatory,” said Joel Peterson, executive director of the wine alliance. “The best we can do for our membership, as responsible members of the community, is to inform you of the governor’s statement and ask you to follow this directive by closing your tasting rooms to the public. This is part of what we are doing as an integral part of this community to help head off what could be a terrible outbreak locally.”

“The Wine Institute sent communication after the speech noting the closure recommendation applies only to winery tasting activities and events. The purchase and pick up of wine and winery business and production operations are not impacted,” he told members. “We will await further details that clarify the governor’s closure announcement and what it means for our local wineries. I can assure you we will be in touch daily with more details as we get them. We understand the gravity of this situation and how it will greatly affect your business and our local wine economy.”


Governor gives update on COVID-19 testing and preparations

Governor Gavin Newsom updated Californians on the current situation. Statewide, COVID-19 tests are being done by the state health department, county health departments, universities, hospitals, and private companies, he said. 8,316 people have been tested in the state.

A private lab, Quest, located in San Juan Capistrano, is currently doing the most, running 1,200 tests per day, he said. This coming week, or so, there should be more than 5,000 tests per day in the state, he said. Even still, there are capacity concerns regarding the number of tests that may be needed but also concerns about the number of medical supplies in the state.

“We have about 74,000 hospital beds in the state at 416 different hospitals, we have surge capacity of in our state just shy of 9,000 beds,” Newsom said. There are 11,500 ICU beds total for adults and babies in California, and 7,587 ventilators that can be used to treat the worst cases of coronavirus, he said, adding the state has procured a few hundred additional ventilators and has resources ready to purchase 600 more.

Newsom announced that Verily, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is quickly bringing to market the capacity of individuals to screen themselves online and then get mobile testing. “We hope this partnership can scale and we believe it will be a national model,” he said.

Watch Gov. Newsom’s press conference here.


COVID-19 in California by the numbers

Updated 6 p.m., March 14, 2020

  • 6 – Deaths
  • 335 – Positive cases
  • 24 – Cases of positive tests related to federal repatriation flights
  • 311 – Cases not related to repatriation flights
  • 70 – Travel-related
  • 68 – Person to person
  • 82 – Community transmission
  • 91 – Under investigation
  • 11,700+ – Number of people self-monitoring who returned to the U.S. through SFO or LAX
  • 49 – Number of local health jurisdictions involved in self-monitoring
  • 21 – Labs with test kits, 19 of which are already testing

Ages of all confirmed positive cases in California

Age 0-17: 6 cases
Age 18-64: 210 cases
Age 65+: 116 cases
Unknown ages: 3 cases


How people can protect themselves

  • Social distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other individuals
  • Sanitize and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20-seconds
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 or local public health department first 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.