COVID-19 Community response group meeting notes: 4/6/20

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Big Sur Health Center, Big Sur Fire, Big Sur CERT, Esalen and the Community Association of Big Sur met once again to continue coordinated efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each organization provided an update on their current operations and preparations for continuing to shelter in place. 

It is important to note that as of this moment, there continues to be no known cases of COVID-19 in the Big Sur planning area. 

Big Sur Health Center:

Sharen Carey reports that 80% of patient visits occur by telephone.  Those that need to physically be present to be evaluated or receive care at the Health Center must observe social distancing protocols and hygiene measures posted in English and Spanish at the entry. Sharen wants people to know if you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms (Fever, difficulty breathing) to first call the HC at,

(831-667-2580).  The practicing Physician will ask a series of questions that may lead to coming to the Health Center for a COVID-19 Test, utilizing the interview tent set up in front of the building, to evaluate your condition. Currently, results are coming back within 48 hours.

There is a significant amount of disinformation regarding factors affecting the severity of sickness in individuals. • Contrary to anecdotal observations coming from France, there is no clinical support for the contention that Ibuprofen use worsens outcomes for those testing positive for COVID-19.• No studies support the contention that anti-malarial drugs are helpful in treating COVID-19.• Currently, there are no drugs or treatments to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 beyond self-isolation, social distancing and meticulous disinfection of surfaces that others use.  • Mask use in public is now recommended and a short video to make your own is below.• Best mask making material instructional video is below:• Bottom line defense against contracting the virus: Assume it is in Big Sur and take every precaution recommended above.

Big Sur Fire:

Matt Harris reports:• Call volume remains low, but sad to report a local car accident fatality on the South Coast near Treebones. He asks that we all drive safe and be careful!• Emergency Operations continue out of the Firehouse.• Burn season will conclude on April 30th.• Out of work Fire Fighters very appreciative of temporary work opportunities.

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:

Kirk Gafill reports:• Is using the Chamber email distribution list to push out relevant informational resources to assist employees andemployers.• Members are self-educating on the myriad governmental programs rolling out to support workers and employers. • More questions than answers regarding how Banks will interpret legislation and implement programs in response to the global pandemic.• Best description of the current situation would be that the Banks are being asked to build an airplane that has already taken off and is in mid-air.• Lack of TOT will have an immense impact on discretionary spending by the County.

Community Emergency Response Team:

Martha Karstens reports that the survey continues and that she will be sending a spread sheet with interim results shortly to CABS. 

Esalen Institute:

Lacy Shannon reports:• Esalen will remain closed through May 10th, potentially extending closure beyond that date, subject to guidance from Public Health authorities.• Esalen is working with staff to navigate state and federal processes, so they can apply for and receive relevant funds and aid given an employment status change.

Community Association of Big Sur:

Butch Kronlund reports:• Efforts are underway to establish the scope of financial need for the most vulnerable members of the community. That effort includes polling business owners on their plans to apply for Federal SBA loans and Payroll Protection Plan funding administered by local banks. So far, it appears that there is a role for CABS to play in deploying funds to those in most need and unable to apply for unemployment benefits.• CABS has applied for grant funding from the Community Foundation for Monterey County and is also actively fundraising to support the least able to weather the financial stress brought about by lack of employment.• CABS developing a needs assessment system reliant on working with each business’s HR Department.• CABS has contacted our LPNF District Ranger and Forest Supervisor requesting they issue an order closing the dispersed camping and back country trails in the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest. Accompanying this request was the updated Shelter in Place Order from the Monterey County Health Officer. District Ranger Tim Short reports that the request is being taken seriously and that photo and video evidence of over-crowded dispersed camping areas and other misadventures like abuse of the resource (use your imagination) really help to make the case.• CABS has been working with Costas Christ and Supervisor Adams office to extend the completion date of the Destination Stewardship Plan by an additional month.  The approval to do so just occurred. Pending approval of the Steering Committee, the plan completion date is now July 31, 2020.

Some good of the order remarks.• Kirk in admiration of the pivot MST is making, ie. providing meals on wheels and repurposing their busses and drivers in imaginative ways in order to retain their workforce, post COVID-19.