Dr. Penny Borenstein

Greta Mart/KCBX

After three days on the state’s watchlist for COVID-19 cases, San Luis Obispo County is now back under the kind of closure orders experienced in March, April and May. All bars are closed. Starting Thursday, gyms, churches, most offices, salons and malls are ordered to close down all indoor operations.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

San Luis Obispo County officials have released a framework for reopening the county—called the START guide—emphasizing that it's a draft outline. At times contradictory, nevertheless the guide is designed to “give our business partners, our organizations, places of worship the best ideas about how they can begin planning in the days and weeks to come,” said the county’s health officer.

SLO County

On Wednesday, the name of San Luis Obispo County’s reopening plan was revealed—the START guide, or ‘Steps To Adapt and Reopen Together.’ Expected to be released Friday, county health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said it’s not going to be a set-in-stone plan.

On March 14, there was one confirmed cast of COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County. Nine days later, as of Monday afternoon, there are 33. Two of those patients have been admitted to a local hospital, one in the intensive care unit.

Flickr member Enrique Dans

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department says the county now has its first confirmed case of West Nile Virus since 2009. 

Central Coast Voices…hears from Joel Diringer, who is a Central Coast health consultant and advocate, and Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo's County Health Officer. This week's topic will be learning about healthcare reform and starting to understand its many complexities. Learn how this dramatic change in US healthcare will be affecting you and our community.