Tag Archives: Controlled shutdown

Solano County schools ordered to stay closed this fall

Gov. Newsom orders California schools on watch list stay closed

SFGate, by Amy Graff, July 17, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Press Conference, July 17, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a Friday press briefing that schools in counties on the  watch list for more than 14 days open with distance learning. Counties would need to meet strict criteria for schools to offer in-class instruction.

This marks a change in what Newsom has said in the past with the state initially giving school districts the flexibility to reopen on their own timelines in consultation with local public health officials.

Newsom also said the new reopening guidelines for schools require teachers and students in third grade and above to wear masks. There’s also a new requirement to keep students six-feet-apart.

More than half of the state’s 58 counties are on the watch list including seven Bay Area counties — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara,  Solano  and Sonoma. Being on the list puts restrictions on the ability to reopen various segments of the economy.

The California Department of Public Health created the watch list to monitor counties that experience significant changes in COVID-19 infection rates, an increase in hospitalizations, outbreaks in congregate settings or a rise in community transmission at workplaces. Counties on the list are working with the state to identify the causes for any worrisome trends and next steps to mitigate the virus spread. The watch list is constantly changing based the latest data available from public health departments.

Several school districts have already said their schools will begin the new term virtually, including Los Angeles and San Diego, the state’s two largest, with a combined population of 720,000 K-12 students.

San Francisco Unified School District announced this week fall semester classes will begin August 17 via distance learning exclusively.

The news, sent in a letter by Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews, notes that the district eventually hopes to implement a “hybrid approach” to learning. This involves a combination of in-person classroom learning and virtual instruction, but only “when science and data suggest it is safe to do so.”

Administrators intend to release a plan detailing ways in which virtual learning can be improved in a meeting with the San Francisco Board of Education on July 28 at 3 p.m. The “most essential details” will be shared with parents the following day.

Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Bernardino are among the other districts opting not to immediately return to classrooms.

Some districts have said they aim to open with hybrid models. The Palo Alto Unified School District recently approved a plan for distancing learning for high school and middle school students and a return to classrooms for elementary school students. The Alum Rock district in San Jose said 90% of students will continue with online school while 10% will come to class. Students in foster care and with disabilities will be prioritized for on-site school.

The decisions were made amid growing concern by teachers and parents over the state’s surge of coronavirus cases and uncertainty surrounding the safety of both students and staff on campuses. The state this week reported its second-highest one-day totals in infection rates and deaths since the start of the pandemic and more than 7,200 have died.

Many small, rural communities argue they shouldn’t have to comply with the same rules as big cities where infection rates are higher. Thurmond indicated Wednesday that he agreed.

“We have some counties in this state where the number of cases is actually quite low,” Thurmond said. As long as schools in those counties follow state guidance on hand washing, six feet (1.8 meters) of spacing, maintaining physical distance and face coverings, Thurmond said, “we believe that those schools can open safely.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Dr. Matyas on COVID-19 closures in Solano County: “We continue to see a surge…”

State orders Solano churches, malls other businesses to close, again

Fairfield Daily Republic, by Todd R. Hansen, July 14, 2020
The Solano Town Center was closed Monday on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to close certain businesses again because of Covid-19. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

FAIRFIELD — The state on Monday ordered Solano and 28 other counties on its watch list to close places of worship, malls and a number of other business sectors due to the rise in hospitalizations and other Covid-19 concerns.

Covid-19 is responsible for more than 135,000 deaths in the country and more than 7,000 in California, Johns Hopkins University reported.

Solano County Public Health reported Monday that the number of deaths at least partially attributable to Covid-19 rose by three to 31 over the weekend.

“The fatalities are all elderly individuals (who) were exposed by family at social gatherings,”  Dr. Bela Matyas , Solano County public health officer, said Monday in a phone interview.

Matyas also said the number of current hospitalizations is 47, up from 40 over the weekend. The county’s online report initially had the number holding at 40.

“We continue to see a surge in the number of new cases across the county, including a rise in positivity rates, hospitalizations and fatalities,” Matyas said in the statement announcing the health order change.

Matyas once again urged Solano County residents to take precautions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

“While it may be difficult, especially during the summer, we strongly urge all Solano County residents to limit or avoid in-person gatherings, as we know the recent rise in Covid-19 cases is due to families and friends getting together with people outside their households and infecting each other, which can be especially dangerous when transmitted to high-risk individuals,” Matyas added in the statement.

Since the county’s Friday afternoon update, Solano added 144 more Covid-19 cases to bring the total to 2,219, but experienced a decrease in active cases, from 435 to 301, which is explained, in part, by the fact so many had become sick at the same time and are now past the infectious stage at the same time. Hospitalizations reported since the beginning of the outbreak was listed at 114.

The county released its amended health order Monday evening to reflect the state order. But hours before that, the Solano Town Center mall had already locked its doors.

In addition to churches and malls, also ordered closed by the state are nail and hair salons, fitness centers, personal care establishments such as tattoo parlors, and some offices.

Gov. Gavin Newsom noted in his comments that over the previous 14 days, hospitalizations in the state had risen by 28% and intensive care admissions are up 20%.

However, those rate increases are actually slower compared to the rate for the prior two-week period, the state reported.

The positive rate for Covid-19 testing, according to the state, is up to 7.7% over the past seven days.

Fairfield as of Monday afternoon added 45 confirmed cases since Friday for a total of 765; Vallejo added 41 for a total of 747; Vacaville added 34 for a total of 354; Suisun City added 18 for a total of 160; Dixon added four for a total of 122; Benicia added one for a total of 41; and Rio Vista added one for a total of 22…. [continued]

All Solano cities included in most severe COVID19 shutdown orders: Benicia, Vallejo, Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun, Rio Vista, Dixon

State of California – COVID19.CA.gov, July 13, 2020

County data monitoring

California is monitoring COVID-19 closely in each local community and keeping the public informed. We’re teaming up with counties to fight it with every tool we have: current local data, testing, contact tracing, infection control, emergency supplies, containment measures, and more.

Counties should be ready to restore limitations if outbreaks increase. The State Public Health Officer may take action if needed.

Effective July 13, 2020,  ALL counties  must close indoor operations in these sectors:
    • Dine-in restaurants
    • Wineries and tasting rooms
    • Movie theaters
    • Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
    • Zoos and museums
    • Cardrooms

Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide, unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal.

 Counties that have remained on the County Monitoring List  for 3 consecutive days will be required to shut down the following industries or activities unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up.
    • Fitness centers
    • Worship services
    • Protests
    • Offices for non-essential sectors
    • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
    • Hair salons and barbershops
    • Malls
The following counties have remained on the County Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days:
Affected counties as of 7/13/20
  • Colusa
  • Contra Costa
  • Fresno
  • Glenn
  • Imperial
  • Kings
  • Los Angeles
  • Madera
  • Marin
  • Merced
  • Monterey
  • Napa
  • Orange
  • Placer
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Benito
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Joaquin
  • Santa Barbara
  •  Solano 
  • Sonoma
  • Stanislaus
  • Sutter
  • Tulare
  • Yolo
  • Yuba
  • Ventura

The State Public Health Officer may take additional action if needed.

Track county data and monitoring status

What is allowed to open in my county?

Use the map above to see which category your county falls into. See guidance for each of the mentioned industries.

For counties on Monitoring List for 3 consecutive days  [includes Solano] 

The following industries must close indoor operations, but they may be modified to operate outside or by pick-up:

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Wineries and tasting rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
  • Zoos and museums
  • Cardrooms
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
  • Places of worship
  • Offices for non-essential sectors
  • Malls

NOTE: Imperial County is open to the essential workforce only (Stage One). Alameda and Santa Clara County do not have an attestation and can only open industries open statewide.