According to a letter obtained by the News-Press on Wednesday evening, the California Police Chiefs Association stated that Gov. Gavin Newsom has decided that he will be shutting down all beaches and state parks in California, effective Friday.
Here is the letter sent out on Wednesday at 7 p.m.:
“Our Executive Committee had a call with Mark Pazin, chief of the Law Enforcement Division of Cal OES today. Joining us on the call were CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley and representatives from California State Parks. After the well-publicized media coverage of overcrowded beaches this past weekend, in violation of Governor Newsom’s Shelter in Place Order, the Governor will be announcing tomorrow (Thursday) that ALL beaches and all state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday, May 1st. We wanted to give all of our members a heads up about this in order to provide time for you to plan for any situations you might expect as a result, knowing each community has its own dynamics. The League of Cities and CSAC leadership have also been informed. State Parks personnel will be out in order to help support local efforts as well. Our legal counsel, Jim Touchstone, sent out a Legal Alert about the Governor’s order a few weeks back.”
A Santa Barbara County official later independently verified that this is indeed Gov. Newsom’s plan for today.
Large crowds could be seen up and down the Southern California coast this past weekend as temperatures reached the low 90s, meeting the ire of the governor.
Locally, while crowds were larger than in recent weeks, Santa Barbara County put a concerted effort into education and keeping crowd size to a minimum, even if a few did get to be overcrowded at times.
The county’s Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart indicated on Monday that further enforcement was to come this weekend, as temperatures are expected to rise once again.
Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo took the news in stride.
“If this is true, the Governor has been consistent in his efforts to protect Public Health by taking these bold measures. I know this will be unpopular with many of our residents and everyone who enjoys the beach. Others will say this is the right thing to do. We will follow his order and we will do whatever it takes to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Ms. Murillo said.
The news comes just hours after the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced the county’s eighth death — an individual living in Santa Maria in their 60s with underlying health conditions — and also unveiled eight new COVID-19 cases, it’s highest count since Saturday.
There are now 485 confirmed cases in the county, with 360 having fully recovered.
COVID-19 testing site to be available next week
Santa Barbara County residents will have access to the initial COVID-19 testing site starting Monday in Santa Maria.
In order to set an appointment — no walk-ins will be taken — you can call or go online this weekend to be screened for symptoms and risk factors, and if they qualify to be able to set up an appointment.
This is the first of three community-based testing sites that will open, with others to come in Lompoc and Santa Barbara, likely in the coming weeks.
“Our county welcomes this new testing opportunity and is pleased to expand access to our community members,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director. “This expanded COVID-19 testing option will be in Santa Barbara County for the next few months and possibly longer.
“Testing services will cycle through key locations identified by the State. With additional testing, will also come expanded contact tracing and increased resources dedicated to safe quarantine and isolation housing, if needed. We are here to support our community through every step that comes after being tested for COVID-19.”
Cottage Health, by the numbers
A look at Cottage Health through Wednesday:
- Cottage Health is caring for a total of 210 patients across all campuses.
- 161 are acute care patients; 212 acute care beds remain available.
- Of the 161 patients, 8 patients are on ventilators; 62 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators)
- Of the 161 patients, 18 are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms; 6 are confirmed COVID-19 positive.
- Of 18 patients in isolation, 4 patients are in critical care.
- Cottage has collected 3,428 cumulative test samples: 201 resulted in positive, 3,021 resulted in negative, and 206 are pending. In most of these tests, patients did not require hospital admission.
MTD to require face coverings
Beginning Friday, MTD will require all passengers to utilize face coverings or masks in order to ride an MTD bus. A grace period is being offered through May 5 so that passengers can secure appropriate face coverings.
“While continuing to provide essential service to our community, the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and employees is the foremost consideration of MTD. MTD has consistently followed, and at times exceeded, the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and local Public Health officials. To that end, enhanced cleaning protocols have been implemented since early March,” MTD said in a news release.
“These protocols include nightly disinfecting of all high-touch surfaces in buses with a hospital-grade disinfectant. To support physical distancing between our drivers and the public, in mid-March MTD voluntarily instituted rear door boarding and is not currently collecting fares. There is also a greatly reduced maximum occupancy limit on board the buses.”
COVID-19, by the numbers
A look at nationwide and worldwide numbers through Wednesday:
- In the United States, there are 1,064,572 confirmed cases with 61,669 deaths and 147,411 have fully recovered.
- Across the world, there are 3,193,961 confirmed cases with 227,644 deaths and 972,741 have fully recovered.