On July 25, the California Department of Public Health notified Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan that our county has been placed on the state watch list. When placed on the state watch list, a county is subject to the restrictions the state has established in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. This new watch list status will be reflected on the state COVID-19 website on July 28, 2020, at this link: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CountyMonitoringDataStep2.aspx
As of July 24, 2020, Dr. Doohan has already implemented these additional restrictions in our county proactively, in order to prepare for this placement on the state watch list.
Criteria for state watch list placement includes having at least 100 new infections of COVID-19 per 100,000 over a time period of 14 days. For Mendocino County and its population of 90,000 people, the trigger placing us on this watch list is 90 new cases in 14 days. At the time of this Press Release, our county has seen over 120 new cases of COVID-19 within the last 14 days. The state has informed Mendocino County that our county level data shows a doubling time of 15 days. This would mean that without increasing mitigation measures, by mid-August we could see approximately 240 new cases, and by early September, approximately 480 new cases.
The updated county Shelter in Place Health Order, issued on July 24, 2020, mirrors state direction given to counties who have surpassed the three consecutive days on the state watch list without COVID-19 data improvement.
Revised Health Order, issued on July 24, 2020: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/Home/Components/News/News/5181/3242
The County notified residents of this updated Health Order a week in advance of its implementation, in order to allow businesses more time to prepare for the mandatory closures of indoor operations in these additional sectors.
“Mendocino County has been preparing for this moment for over 6 months,” says Dr. Doohan. “The COVID-19 surge has arrived here now, and for this reason, we have been placed on the state watch list. I have been closely monitoring our County data and started to see all of the signs that the surge was arriving over a week ago. For this reason, we have been able to prepare and operationalize additional mitigation measures in the last week, including enhanced enforcement, expanded communications, and preparation of new orders to support improved county-level COVID-19 data sharing and improved response to workplace outbreaks. We have also been able to help prepare our schools and higher-risk businesses for the restrictions mandated by the state for these sectors in watch list counties.”
The new state watch list restrictions, included in the July 24, 2020 Health Order, mandate closing the following indoor operations (outdoor operations with restrictions allowed):
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Places of Worship and cultural ceremonies, like weddings and funerals
- Offices for non-essential sectors
- Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Indoor shopping malls
These industries must shut down unless they can be modified to operate outside (under a canopy or other sun shelter for sufficient air movement) or by pick-up.
Mendocino County has prepared well in advance for placement on the state watch list, and continues to work closely with state and local authorities to monitor COVID-19 in our county. The COVID-19 surge has arrived in our region, and individual responsibility is key to slowing the spread. Remember:
- Avoid all gatherings
- Wear a facial covering at all times when in public
- Practice social distancing
- Stay home when you feel sick