COVID-19 Community response group meeting notes:                                       


20th Congressional District, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, Parks Management Company, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Monterey County 5th District Supervisor, Monterey County Sheriff, 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 continues to provide critical and timely medical updates as the scientific community continues to improve its knowledge base of COVID-19. These updates are available via CABS and the Chamber server lists and at the Big Sur Health Center Face Book home page.

Some takeaways from Monday’s call.:• Never ingest disinfectants or other cleaning products.  Store them in a manner that is inaccessible to children and vulnerable adults.• If you are prescribed Statin or Steroid medications, continue taking, as directed by your Physician.• There is currently no medicine approved by the FDA or CDC to treat COVID-19, although there is a medication undergoing clinical trials, with results due soon.• As yet, it is unknown whether having COVID-19 antibodies confers immunity.• A local Lab, ARCPoint, in Monterey, is offering an antibody test for $175.  The test is FDA approved and they claim it is 90% sensitive for the COVID-19 antibodies.  You can schedule an appointment online for the blood-draw and it does not require a doctor’s order.  Results will be available on-line, usually within 72 hours.• ER visits are down.  The ER physicians at Chomp have indicated that people are deferring needed medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19 at the Hospital. This is dangerous and is a baseless concern as protocols are in place isolating COVID-19 patients from all others., along with good sanitation procedures.• CDC has added additional symptoms to the list used to determine who gets a test.  Those include chills, chills with shaking, muscle aches, headache, sore throat and loss of taste and smell.

Sharen wants people to know if you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms (Fever, cough, or 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 evaluation utilizing the interview tent set up in front of the building, to evaluate your condition. Currently, results are coming back within 48 – 72 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.• 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:

Chief Matt Harris reports:• Big Sur Fire is operationally prepared for an increase in call volume when the SIP order is lifted.• The organization is preparing for fire season.• In person, live training sessions are currently suspended.• The annual “Muster” at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is scheduled but dependent on the status of the SIP order and Park status.• Big Sur Fire again offers to respond to illegal campfires in the Big Sur planning area. They cannot cite illegal activity but can offer education as a deterrence.• Burn season will conclude on April 30th.


Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:

Kirk Gafill reports:• The Chamber focus continues to be on interfacing with Monterey County government, hospitality promotional organizations and city COC’s in making the pivot from SIP to opening up business.• They are looking internationally at lessons learned from countries that are reopening post COVID-19.• Working on a collaborative approach to creating guidelines and best practices for the hospitality industry to operate under, with County and State Health Departments. • The restaurant business has social distancing challenges that begin in the kitchen and extend to the dining room. • Screening both employees and guests for contagion is a key component to opening.• Food to go will be phase 1 of a multi-phase process to normalcy.• Safety of employees and guests the top priority.• 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.• CERT has gone to a “Zoom” format for upcoming trainings.• Radio check reveals that repeater at Buzzards Roost not optimal. Jess Mason to make repairs, adjustments, as necessary.

Esalen Institute:

Lacy Shannon reports:• Esalen will now remain closed through June 7th. Will extend the closure based on Local and State Health Officer guidance.• The Institute continues to follow the SIP guidance provided by Governor Newsom and looks to the recommendations of other officials.


LPNF Monterey District Ranger Tim Short reports:• The Forest Order closing the Monterey District is set to expire on April 30th. Extending the Order is a probability.• USFS is considering the timing of lifting the Forest Order relative to what other agencies have planned. Ie. City, County and State Parks.• A key to implementing the Forest Order has been the mutual aid proffered by Monterey County Public Works, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and the Department of Fish and Game. • Acknowledged the traffic data sets provided by Anneliese Agren showing nearly 4K car trips in the month of April on Plasket Ridge, despite the closure. 


Ca. State Parks:

Superintendent Brent Marshall reports:• Hard closure of all State Parks will continue, at a minimum, through this weekend.                                                            • Due to a lack of resources, Carmel River Beach and Monastery Beach were left open last weekend. Verbal warnings to maintain social distancing outpaced citations 25 to 1.• Commented that like other agencies, Parks is trying to thread the needle in implementing the SIP order. Can they effectively close an area? Can they maintain enforcement of the closure? And what are the impacts at other locations of a closure?• Although Parks are agile and capable of pivoting from closed to open, any lead time in a change in SIP status is critical in order to coordinate with other agencies within Monterey Parks large jurisdiction.• Parks sending consistent social media and traditional media messaging regarding closure.• Considering a phased approach to reopening (Day Use areas first then Campgrounds).

Parks Management Company:

Brian Cushman, CEO. Reports:• All Campgrounds and Day Use Areas remain closed.• Issues with trespassing have decreased thanks to increased law enforcement.• Looking for whatever advanced notice is available prior to reopening.• Employees are here and ready to open once the SIP order is lifted.

Ventana Wilderness Alliance:

Mike Splain, Executive Director reports:• Is working on a prototype for self-registration to access the Pine Ridge Trail, once it opens again.• The Back-Country Ranger training event planned for June at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has been canceled.• Has received push back from constituents regarding the closure of the trails in the Monterey District.  VWA in favor of a safely executed phased reopening of the trails.

Monterey County Sheriff:

Deputy Jesse Villasenor reports:• Barricades at the dispersed camping access points are key to helping enforce the Forest Closure Order.• Mutual Aid between LE agencies is working to increase effectiveness of enforcement of the Forest Order.• Jesse is reaching out to USFS LE Daryl Scott to coordinate efforts.• Ongoing enforcement of the County, no overnight camping ordinance.


Community Association of Big Sur:

Executive Director Butch Kronlund reports:• Working with Big Sur business Human Resource departments, CABS has identified 36 Big Sur Families in need of emergency financial assistance.  Those families received checks                                                                • ranging from $600 to $1100 each, depending on the number of family members impacted by loss of work.• 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. 136 people responded overwhelmingly in favor of learning more details on the potential opportunity for true high-speed internet in Big Sur.  Those details coming soon.• CABS is continuing to work to help facilitate and support a consistent interpretation of the Local and State SIP orders across jurisdictional boundaries.  • 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:

Katie Moon on behalf of Congressman Jimmy Panetta reports:• Congressman Panetta extends his thanks and appreciation for our groups efforts to coordinate the Big Sur Community’s health and safety during the global emergency.• Panetta understands the limitations in resources available to the Monterey District of the LPNF, both COVID and non COVID related, and is working to rectify.• Congress passed a $484 Billion package that reloads the PPP with $310 Billion in additional funding, $60 Billion set aside for smaller community banks and credit unions.

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