COVID-19 Community response group meeting notes:
20th Congressional District, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, 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:
Executive Director Sharen Carey is following the development and availability of antibody testing around the country and how that testing may play out locally. In response to a question, Sharen confirmed that having COVID-19 antibodies may not confer automatic immunity to the virus. Sharen Carey reports that a majority of patient visits still 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. A plexi-glass screen has been installed at the reception desk, refining the effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. 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 Medical Staff 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.
The Information below has been provided by Sharen and is still pertinent and worth reposting:
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.
https://wpde.com/news/nation-world/video-us-surgeon-general-makes-a-face-mask-in-a-few-easy-steps• Best mask making material instructional video is below:
https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-homemade-mask-material-DIY-face-mask-ppe.html• 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:• BSF worked in cooperation with State Park and MOCO Sheriff SAR Team to conduct a cliff rescue at JP Burns. The individual was successfully saved and then cited for violating the SIP order.• Expressed thanks for the Forest Order to close the dispersed camping areas.• Emergency Operations continue out of the Firehouse.• Burn season will conclude on April 30th.
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:
Kirk Gafill reports:• The Chamber is working with the Monterey County Hospitality Association to identify and develop conditions for reopening business. • A big focus is in making sure the hospitality industry and the State and County Health Departments are in alignment on protocols and best practices for opening and operating in a “post COVID-19” business environment.• Is continuing to use the Chamber email distribution list to push out relevant informational resources to assist employees and employers.
Community Emergency Response Team:
Martha Karstens reports:• That the residents SIP survey is still waiting on Clear Ridge and South Coast numbers.
Lacy Shannon reports:• Esalen will now remain closed through June 7th.• The Institute continues to follow the SIP guidance provided by Governor Newsom and looks to the recommendations of other officials.
LPNF District Ranger Tim Short reports:• The Monterey District is working through implementation of the Forest Order closing the roads, trails and dispersed camping areas.• Order is being amended to include Plaskett Ridge and the North Coast Ridge Road.• In response to a request from Butch, USFS will work to coordinate lifting the Forest Order in concert with easing of the State and Local SIP orders. The easing of Local and State SIP restrictions will influence the reopening of the State Parks in Big Sur. This coordination between Agencies is key to a smooth transition toward normal operations.
Ca. State Parks:
Superintendent Brent Marshall reports:• Hard closure of all State Parks was successful last weekend. 10 citations issued for violating the SIP order.• Parks will again be closed next weekend and then re-evaluated.• Parks sending consistent social media and traditional media messaging regarding closure.• Thanked Big Sur Fire and Sheriff’s Search and Rescue for mutual aid on the non-injury cliff rescue at JP Burns.• Coordinating with Monterey County RMA daily on when the local SIP order will be lifted.• Hiring Park Aides in anticipation of a return to normal occupancy and usage of the local State Parks.
Community Association of Big Sur:
Butch Kronlund:• Expressed the community’s gratitude for the follow through on implementing the Forest Order closing the dispersed camping areas on the south coast of Big Sur. He specifically singled out Tim Short, Kevin Elliott, Jimmy Panetta and Mary Adams for their work on the issue.• Went on to make the point that there must be coordination of closure policy between the State Parks and the Forest Service in order to reduce confusion on the part of the public and for Law Enforcement to be able to function without tripping over jurisdictional boundary.• That the Monterey District of the LPNF needs more funding earmarked for management and enforcement.• Reports that by working with local business owners and HR Departments, CABS has identified a significant number of financially vulnerable members of the Big Sur community. The first tranche of financial assistance, provided by a grant from the Community Foundation for Monterey County, will be going to these folks later this week.• A survey, polling community members on their interest in Broad Band internet availability in Big Sur, was recently distributed via email to the CABS server list. Results not yet in. • In light of the delay inherent with the national state of emergency created by COVID-19, Monterey County, MCCVB, Beyond Green Travel and CABS have amended the completion date for the Big Sur Destination Stewardship Plan for up to 3 months. Target date for completion is now July 31, 2020.
20th Congressional District:
Congressman Jimmy Panetta reporting this week’s focus has been on:• The $2.2 Trillion CARES Act including the $347 Billion Payroll Protection Plan component.• Small businesses had difficulty applying, with 1.6 million applicants approved before the money in that program ran out.• Congress to vote Tuesday to extend the PPP program with an additional $310 Billion that will include significant funding for small lenders, SBA disaster loans, Hospitals and $25 Billion for COVID-19 testing.• Congressman Panetta believes there will be additional iterations of the “CARES Act” going forward. These next Bills may address hazard pay for essential workers.• On the subject of the Forest closure, the Congressman acknowledged it as a short-term remedy for a situation brought about by a lack of enforcement tools. That he will push for more resources to manage the federal lands.• In response to a question from Dick Ravich, Congressman Panetta is working to get $3 Billion of “CARES Act 2” funds into the hands of Food Banks.• Jimmy Panetta wrapped up his comments by lauding the leadership of our country’s Governors and by stating that our nation’s response to the global pandemic is: o Nationally mandated.o State activated.o Locally implemented.