Coronavirus information from KCBX News

KCBX News aims to provide our audience with the latest local and regional information and updates on the coronavirus and COVID-19. Several times a day we will update this post as new information becomes available.

Click on the link in the county name to find important public health resources in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey counties. 

THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2020

  • The United Way of San Luis Obispo County is partnering with FamilyWize to coordinate home delivery of prescriptions and lower the cost. Call 800-222-2818 for more information.
  • Paso Robles is asking residents and businesses to take an anonymous online survey, so the city can use the data to pinpoint relief effort. The survey should take about 5 minutes and can found here.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2020

  • Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, French Hospital Medical Center and Marian Regional Medical Center—all Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals—have launched informational hotline numbers in both English (805) 332-8276 and Spanish (805) 614-5758.
  • A new website—RecoverCentralCoast.org—has been set up to centralize and simplify access to economic relief resources region-wide. According to organizers, it's being developed by local governments, chambers of commerce, Visit SLO CAL, the Economic Vitality Corporation, higher education, local workforce development boards, and local businesses. 

TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2020

  • Almost all governmental meetings—city councils, board of supervisors, etc—are now being held virtually. Today is the first time Goleta will hold its city council meeeting that way—starting at 5:30, the meeting will be broadcast via Channel 19 and the city's website, but all council members, city staff, city attorney, city manager and the mayor will all join in remotely. 
  • For today's (and future) Paso Robles city council meeting, a call-in number is available for council and planning commission meetings throughout the stay-at-home orders. Residents can call 888-867-1694 and will be able to provide public comment via phone or submit written public comments via email to cityclerk@prcity.com prior to 6:30 p.m. start time.
  • The Central Coast State Park Association and CA State Parks are offering a 'Virtual Mind Walk Lecture Series.' State park staff and volunteer docents are hosting webinars for the public. Coming on Friday, April 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., first up will be 'Southern Sea Otter Basics.' According to the CCSPA, "Heather Barrett, science communication director and research scientist for Sea Otter Savvy, will clarify sea otter fact from fiction [and] this presentation focuses on reviewing southern sea otter life history, critical species information, and how best to portray this information to an audience." Other Friday presentations will continue the focus on sea otters and sharks. State Parks' Robyn Chase will answer questions and help people log in; she can be reached at robyn.chase@parks.ca.gov.

MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020

  • The city of Lompoc says there is help available for residents struggling to pay utility bills at this time. The Community Action Commission (CAC) offers the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) throughout the year. For those who qualify, the CAC will make a one-time payment to a customer’s utility account, and the customer can reapply each year. 
  • The Santa Barbara County public health department reports an additional 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county Monday, bringing the total to 192 confirmed cases, including thirty-seven health care workers.
  • California's insurance commissioner issued a notice to remind insurance companies, agents, and employers that California law requires the payment of workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers regardless of their immigration status. This includes workers engaged in front-line occupations such as health care, emergency services, food production, sales, and delivery, among others. 

WEEKEND, APRIL 4 & 5, 2020

  • San Luis Obispo County reported its first death from COVID-19; a North County resident in their 80s who had underlying health conditions. According to the SLO County public health department,  to date, 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in SLO County; 65 have recovered; 22 are currently recovering at home and five are currently hospitalized.
  • It's now easier to get child care if you are an essential worker. The governor signed an executive order that prioritizes essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers and makes it easier for them to access to state-subsidized child care programs.
  • Santa Barbara County is also reporting one death so far from COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, of 168 confirmed cases in Santa Barbara County, 101 are recovering at home, 26 are recovering in a hospital—17 of which are in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 38 have fully recovered, and two are pending an update.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2020

  • Governor Gavin Newsom announced today "Project Roomkey," which moves people experiencing homelessness into motel and hotel rooms to protect them and the general community from the novel coronavirus. FEMA is supplying funding to pay for the rooms. So far, Newsom says 869 people have been temporarily housed under the program. Project Roomkey will target hotels in counties with significant homeless populations that are also experiencing high concentrations of COVID-19 transmission. According to the governor's office, local governments to date have secured 6,867 hotel and motel rooms for this purpose.

THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2020

  • Central Coast congressman Jimmy Panetta is calling on the Navy to give out more information on how it is protecting deployed sailors and Marines in face of COVID-19. Panetta and 25 other members of Congress sent a letter to Navy leadership, asking for details on what precautions the military is taking to ensure the health and safety of  service members.

CLICK HERE TO SEE AN ARCHIVE OF EARLIER DATES

David Hills/Fishypictures and David Hills Photography

The commercial salmon fishing season along the Central Coast is about to launch. California’s fishing industry is designated as essential by Governor Gavin Newsom, but their usual markets, restaurants, are all but shut down because of the coronavirus. That’s spelling trouble for local fishermen and women. Still, some believe there’s a silver lining to this crisis.

The United States has lost 10% of its workforce as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Newest reports show that almost 17 million Americans filed jobless claims in the last three weeks. With the economy in a coma, small business owners and workers are struggling to find ways to survive. Are there ways for businesses to get help during the crisis? What are some innovative approaches that companies can use to stay afloat?

Join Elizabeth Barrett and her guest Ashlyn Hatch as they discuss ways to reduce stress. Many of us are dealing with isolation, sickness, a house full of family and the loss of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrett and Hatch share their own experiences along with tips and advice.

Thomas Wilmer

Fort Hunter Liggett, in southern Monterey County, is America’s largest US Army Reserve training installation. It is also a remote community with specific actions being taken during the ongoing COVID 19 crisis. Associate Producer Carol Tangeman visits with Colonel Charles Bell, commander at Fort Hunter Liggett

KCBX's Greta Mart has a conversation with Mindbody CEO Rick Stollmeyer about that company's decision to layoff or furlough a third of its employees. We hear from Col. Charles Bell, commander of Fort Hunter Liggett, about how the rural base community is trying to protect itself from an outbreak of COVID-19. From our colleagues in the Central Valley, we get a feel for what it's like to work in a Fresno emergency room during the pandemic. Finally, KCBX correspondent Brian Reynolds has a conversation with first-time novelist Jessica Winters Mireles.

Wikimedia commons

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County has slowed in recent days, say county health officials, but they are urging people with symptoms to get tested.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer talks with wine producer Vic Roberts, owner of Victor Hugo Winery in Templeton, about transformations in the wine industry in response to COVID-19.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Mindbody is a health and wellness technology company headquartered in San Luis Obispo, with offices in Santa Maria and around the world. While the current stay-at-home situation may be good for some tech companies, like Zoom, for Mindbody this is not the case. On Thursday, the company announced it is laying off or furloughing thirty-five percent of its workforce. 

Shelter-in-place parenting has become a category of its own, an unprecedented experience that has even the most confident of caregivers struggling to meet the daily demands of their children. Elizabeth Barrett and her guest, therapist Megan Englert, discuss strategies for keeping it all together when we're not sure where we're going.

Flickr/Paul Hudson

4/2/20 UPDATE: On Thursday, California's governor signed an executive order directing a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs. 

Last year California’s homeless population climbed to 150,000, the most in the nation. Already communities have been struggling throughout the state to deal with this crisis. Now with the outbreak of COVID-19, there are fears that many in this vulnerable population could become infected with the virus. One projection suggests that up to 60,000 homeless in the state could become infected. How can you shelter-at-home when you have no home?

Greta Mart/KCBX

As the novel coronavirus pandemic widens, the acute shortage of personal protective equipment worsens; things like face masks and hand sanitizer. To help meet the great need, Central Coast distilleries are changing their production lines from booze to bottling ethanol-based sanitizer.

Courtesy of Cal Poly College of Engineering

In San Luis Obispo, some Cal Poly professors are using the spring quarter’s curriculum to provide tangible support to doctors and nurses during the pandemic, research the virus, and more—an impromptu study in real-world applications.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is stressful to the community in numerous ways. Individuals may have fear and anxiety about catching the virus for either themselves or their loved ones. People may be experiencing loneliness from isolation due to the stay-at-home orders. And many individuals may have increased worry due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic. How will their business survive? How will they pay their mortgage or rent? How can they get food for their family? The coronavirus can significantly affect mental health for everyone, but especially for those who already suffer from mental illness. How are these individuals able to continue treatment?

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear how the pandemic is affecting the hospitality industry in Monterey County, and operations at the SLO County airport. Cal Poly journalism lecturer Kim Bisheff talks about the current media landscape, and suggests ways we can find news outlets we can trust. We visit Atascadero Lake to witness the installation of a new bioswale project and learn how it will improve water quality. And we hear about the hundreds of 'catch-and-eat' rainbow trout just planted in the lake. 

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.

Thomas Wilmer

Kevin Bumen, director of the San Luis Obispo County Airport, offers insights into the current status of travel by air and specific health and safety responses to COVID-19.  

As coronavirus cases in the world and the U.S continue to soar, we will talk with local experts about what you need to know to stop the spread, stay safe, get tested and how prepared we are to fight this outbreak, as well as what are the political implications of this pandemic for the U.S.

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