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Local News

"That is inevitable:" More outbreaks expected as economy reopens

April 29, 2020 — Public health officer Dr. Noemi Doohan told the Board of Supervisors to expect more outbreaks as the economy slowly opens up again, starting May 10th. The current outbreak in Round Valley is up to seven confirmed cases.

A lot of plans these days are contingent on more widespread testing, ideally 150 tests a day per 100,000 people. “We do not have anywhere near that capacity at this time,” Doohan said; though county staff conducted 160 tests in Round Valley Monday, and expected to continue testing throughout the week. Public health also carried out another sixty tests in Gualala. But the multi-agency surge preparation that was originally planned for Round Valley was called off, pending more test results.

Doohan cautioned the board that she believes further outbreaks are inevitable, as sheltering in place restrictions are lifted. Still, she expects that the criteria for the limited re-opening, which will eventually be laid out by the Governor, will be based on how risky the business activity is, rather than whether it is essential or not. She believes parks and golf courses will begin to open up for the first phase in early May, but not gyms, bars, and personal service providers like salons and barbershops. And without rapid testing on demand, she does not believe it would be safe for lodging businesses to open their doors. But curbside pickup at retail shops is a popular idea that sounded like it might get some traction. And parents sending their kids to summer camp may have to make a calculated risk, confining children to small groups to contain any outbreaks.

“You know, I’m very sad to say is what I’m hearing across the board is a year to eighteen months before we’re seeing life going back to normal in our world, in our country, and our state,” she concluded.


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