COVID-19: Local schools issue guidance, some cruise passengers taken to Monterey, latest stats
–Paso Robles School District Superintendent Curt Dubost, on Tuesday evening, sent the following to local parents and staff:
There have been no reported cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in San Luis Obispo County.
We have received updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health which will exclude students and staff who have a fever and/or are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness. The San Luis Obispo Public Health Office defines respiratory symptoms as a pronounced/persistent/disruptive cough. The site nursing staff will evaluate individuals to make a determination regarding exclusion due to respiratory symptoms.
Advisory on social distancing and potential school closures
The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department issued recommended community actions to limit exposure to COVID-19. One of the recommendations is to prepare for the possibility of social distancing which would include contingency plans for how to modify, cancel or postpone mass gatherings or large community events if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in the community.
In addition, the Public Health Office recommends “schools and childcare facilities should have plans in place and communicate with parents about possible temporary closures.” Closures are not imminent in Paso Robles at this time. If a confirmed case of a student or staff member is identified, Paso Robles will work with the San Luis Obispo Health Department to take necessary steps to ensure public safety. The district is also receiving guidance from the California Department of Education regarding educational options in the event of a school closure. Parents and guardians may wish to plan for childcare in the possible event of school closure.
Public health officials also advise caution for overnight field trips and state that districts have a responsibility to notify parents of the risk. District staff have reviewed all approved overnight field trips and field trips over 150 miles. Based on destination and interaction with large groups, some field trips have been canceled or rescheduled. Notification of increased risk of COVID-19 will be shared with parents of approved field trips that are continuing. Local field trips that involve a single class, club or grade level who are traveling to local educational or city facilities are being evaluated each week based on current public health advisories. Sport competitions are continuing as long as schools are open with notices posted regarding increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 through travel or crowd exposure.
Cleaning and sterilizing
The district continues to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines regarding cleaning. Staff routines have been changed to assure that frequently used surfaces are disinfected. Classroom and office staff have been provided training for the use of disinfectant wipes as required by California law and wipes have been made available for classroom use. Soap dispensers are being monitored on a daily basis to assure that they are in good repair and have soap.
The district continues to meet regularly with officials from the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education and San Luis Obispo County Public Health Office as well as follow guidelines developed by California Department of Public Health and California Department of Education. We will continue to provide updates as we receive them. While our overriding concern is for the health and safety of our students, staff and our community, we also don’t want to overreact and create unnecessary hardship.
Trinity Lutheran School issues COVID-19 update:
Trinity Lutheran School Principal Jane Fairbank on Tuesday sent the following to local families:
As you are likely aware, The CDC continues to update and monitor the current status of coronavirus (COVID-19) and what steps should be taken moving forward. The possibility of a pandemic has “become very real,” the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday. As a school, we are given frequent updates from the County Office of Education in SLO, as well as the Department of Education in Sacramento who both are informed through the CDC and WHO.
We wanted to share with you some of the steps our school is taking to prevent the spread of illness across our campus, and plan for the possible spread of the coronavirus in our community. Though it is currently not stated as a pandemic in the United States, this would be declared as such When a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region. The number of cases across the US is still relatively small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily. In the meantime, the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health best practices:
- Enforcing great hygiene, such as washing hands thoroughly and covering up coughs/sneezes,
- Making sure all staff and students who are feeling ill stay home until they recover.
- Thoroughly cleaning all services regularly, including tables, desks, doorknobs, sinks, etc. Our school community is prepared to alter our procedures and planning should the situation change (including strategies like virtual schooling).
We are also thinking ahead regarding the impact of spring travel, upcoming school trips, and other non-typical school activities will have in the context of the coronavirus. We will communicate any changes when the time is appropriate. It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies.
Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. As is always our policy, no staff or student should be at school if they have a fever. They need to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter, should the need arise.
Some suspected passengers from cruise ship are taken to Monterey County
– As passengers disembark from the Grand Princess cruise ship in Oakland, the state and federal government are working quickly to ensure that Americans are housed in safe and secure sites during their mandatory 14-day quarantines, the California Office of Emergency Service said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
In continuing support of these Americans, up to 24 individuals who disembarked the cruise ship are being relocated to a cluster of buildings on the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. The individuals will be temporarily housed in buildings that are removed from visitors and the public, and will not interact with other Asilomar guests, employees or the general public.
All the individuals have been screened by medical professionals, and because they have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, they cannot be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base. While none of these individuals is known to have contracted novel coronavirus (COVID-19), they will be tested and monitored by medical professionals while at Asilomar.
“These residents have endured a lot of stress in the last few days, and our top priority is to protect their health – and the public health of California – until they can return to their homes,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “We understand people across California are concerned about novel coronavirus, and that’s why we’re collaborating with our federal partners to ensure that the community surrounding Asilomar is not impacted.”
“The nation and indeed the rest of the world is watching how our community reacts to this situation,” said Monterey County District 5 Supervisor Mary Adams. “We have an opportunity to provide an example of a compassionate humanitarian response.”
State public health releases recent statistics on COVID-19
The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday morning reported the most recent statistics on COVID-19. Paso Robles Daily News updated this report on Wednesday morning with additional information from the New York Times comprehensive effort to track details of every confirmed case in the United States.
COVID-19 in California by the numbers
- 2 – Deaths confirmed, a third victim was reported dead Tuesday evening
- 178 – Positive cases: 2 under 17-years-old, 91 ages 18-64, 50, older than 65, additional unknown
- 24 – Cases of positive tests related to federal repatriation flights
- 133 – Cases not related to repatriation flights
- 50 – Travel-related
- 30 – Person to person
- 29 – Community transmission
- 24 – Under investigation
- 10,300+ – Number of people self-monitoring who returned to the U.S. through SFO or LAX
- 49 – Number of local health jurisdictions involved in self-monitoring
- 19 – Labs with test kits, 18 of which are already testing
Diablo Canyon meeting moved to live-stream
Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in California, the Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel is requesting that the public participates in today’s meeting by “Live Stream” and avoid attending the meeting in person. The meeting begins today at 6 p.m. Click here for details.
The permit submission and review process must begin in 2020 for decommissioning to begin immediately upon shut down of the nuclear reactors in 2024 and 2025, the panel reports. This panel meeting will focus on the local and state permits and permitting process to better understand the steps to secure the approvals necessary for decommissioning to begin.
How people protect themselves
Guidance from the state health department: Every person has a role to play. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:
- Washing hands with soap and water.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
- Following guidance from public health officials.
What to do if you think you’re sick
Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
San Luis Obispo County’s urgent communicable disease line is (805) 781-4553.