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COVID-19 UPDATES FOR VENTURA COUNTY

Wednesday November 25, 2020

LINKS TO OFFICIAL INFORMATION

For Ventura County: https://www.vcemergency.com/ 

For Santa Barbara County: https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/ 

California: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx# 

The CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html 

 

Resources

 

VENTURA COUNTY IS NOW BACK TO THE MOST RESTRICTIVE CORONAVIRUS TIER WHICH IS PURPLE.  FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO THE LINK SHOWN BELOW...

https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/

Here is a link to all the testing sites in Ventura County, please note which sites are both free and do NOT need an appointment (ALL testing sites will be closed on Thanksgiving Day)

https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/coronavirus-testing/ 


Testing sites are 
closed on Thanksgiving.
The following testing sites will be open on Friday:
Santa Paula, 10-7
Oxnard College 10-7
Moorpark College, 10-7
Ventura County Fairgrounds, 9-6
View the testing schedule and address information by clicking here.

 

COVID-19 Update for Ventura County, Wednesday, November 25, 2020

     There were 69 new cases of coronavirus in Ventura County Wednesday with 2411 new people tested.

     The total number of cases since March of 18,394. 

     15,882 are people who have recovered. 

     There are currently 2337 active cases under quarantine Wednesday with 87 Ventura County residents with the virus in hospitals, 16 of them in Intensive Care. 

      No new deaths reported Wednesday so the total remains 175.

 

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COVID-19 NEWS RELEASES 

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County of Ventura

 

November 20, 2020

 

State issues Limited Stay At Home Order

Non-essential businesses and personal gatherings are prohibited between 10 PM and 5 AM, November 21 at 10 PM to 5 am December 21

 

Ventura, CA – The State has issued a limited Stay at Home Order generally requiring that non-essential work, movement and gatherings stop between 10 pm and 5 am in counties in the Purple Tier per the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The order will take effect at 10 p.m. Saturday, November 21 and remain in effect until 5 a.m., December 21, although it may be extended or revised as needed by the State.

 

The Order does not prevent restaurants from operating after 10 p.m. for takeout and does not prevent community members from going to the grocery store or pharmacy for essential needs or walking their dog in their neighborhood. The Order does not prevent members of the same household from leaving their residences together, as long as they do not intermingle with others while out. This is not an exhaustive list, but we hope these examples will help clarify what residents and businesses may be permitted to do under the State’s Order. It does mean that we must restrict our interactions with people outside of our households for non-essential activities or social gatherings.

 

Restaurant/Business Clarification:

 

  • Sit down dining may only take place with members of the same household, it must be outdoors and must end by 10 pm. Restaurants can remain open for takeout or delivery past 10 pm. There is no required closure time.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies may stay open after 10 pm.
  • All businesses not operating as part of California’s Critical Infrastructure workforce must close by 10 pm. View the list of essential workforces from the State at: https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/.

 

“We ask our residents to continue to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities from COVID-19 by limiting gathering with anyone you don’t live with, wearing a face covering whenever you leave home, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from anyone you don’t live with, wash your hands frequently,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Public Health Director.

 

State Resources:

Press release

https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/11/19/state-issues-limited-stay-at-home-order-to-slow-spread-of-covid-19/

 

Read the Order

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/limited-stay-at-home-order.aspx


Questions and Answers

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/limited-stay-at-home-order-qa.aspx

 

As a reminder, the County of Ventura is in the State’s Purple Tier:

 

In alignment with Purple Tier 1, the following sectors are permitted for OUTDOOR operations only until further notice. These sectors must still maintain mitigation measures (social distancing, face covering, and sanitization): 

 

  • Cardrooms, satellite wagering
  • Family Entertainment Centers (e.g. bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages, kart racing, and arcades)
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers
  • Movie theaters
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums
  • Places of worship 
  • Playgrounds and recreational facilities
  • Restaurants 
  • Wineries

 

Bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries may operate outdoors if they are offering sit-down, outdoor meals. Outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy, or other shelter if no more than one side is closed.

 

In alignment with Purple Tier 1, the following sectors are open for INDOOR operations. These sectors must still maintain mitigation measures (social distancing, face covering, and sanitization) and specific modifications in parenthesis below:

 

  • All retail ​(maximum 25% capacity)
  • Critical infrastructure 
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Libraries (maximum 25% capacity)
  • Nail salons and electrolysis operations
  • Personal care services (e.g. body waxing, estheticians, tattoo, massage)
  • Professional sports (without live audiences)
  • Shopping centers (e.g. malls, destination centers, swap meets, excluding food courts and common areas) (maximum 25% capacity)

 

To learn more about the State’s Tier system and specific allowable activities for Ventura County, visit the State of California's COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy website

 

State announces Ventura County among 41 Counties moved back to Purple Tier

Community encouraged to get tested, wear masks social distance and avoid gatherings to slow the spread

 

Ventura, CA - Today, the State of California announced new COVID-19 Tier assignments for counties. Due to increasing case rates, Ventura County and 40 other counties in the State will move back to the more restrictive Tier 1 Purple. Businesses that are impacted by this are asked to make their operational modifications by midnight November 17, 2020.

 

“Community members have taken action. Our average number of tests per day per 100,000 population was in the 200s and has increased to the 400s this past week. This hard work from the community allowed for the State to provide the County with an adjustment factor downward. However, because our case rate was at 12 the week ending November 7th, even with the large adjustment factor, we were not able to get under the required metric of 7 or less,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “Testing is still very important for future case rate adjustments, but also for the Public Health team’s timely and effective contact investigation and tracing efforts. We are encouraging all community members to get tested. Testing is available 7 days a week at sites throughout our County.”

 

In alignment with Purple Tier 1, the following sectors are permitted for OUTDOOR operations only until further notice. These sectors must still maintain mitigation measures (social distancing, face covering, and sanitization): 

 

  • Cardrooms, satellite wagering
  • Family Entertainment Centers (e.g. bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages, kart racing, and arcades)
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers
  • Movie theaters
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums
  • Places of worship 
  • Playgrounds and recreational facilities
  • Restaurants 
  • Wineries

 

Bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries may operate outdoors if they are offering sit-down, outdoor meals. Outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy, or other shelter if no more than one side is closed.

 

In alignment with Purple Tier 1, the following sectors are open for INDOOR operations. These sectors must still maintain mitigation measures (social distancing, face covering, and sanitization) and specific modifications in parenthesis below:

 

  • All retail ​(maximum 25% capacity)
  • Critical infrastructure 
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Libraries (maximum 25% capacity)
  • Nail salons and electrolysis operations
  • Personal care services (e.g. body waxing, estheticians, tattoo, massage)
  • Professional sports (without live audiences)
  • Shopping centers (e.g. malls, destination centers, swap meets, excluding food courts and common areas) (maximum 25% capacity)

 

​Schools

 

In alignment with California Department of Health requirements, schools (all grade levels) that have reopened for in-person instruction, either under a waiver or while Ventura County was in Red Tier 2, are permitted to continue to conduct in-person instruction. Schools that have not reopened must wait until they are eligible again, either by acquiring a waiver from Ventura County Public Health (grades TK-6 only) or by waiting until Ventura County returns to Red Tier 2 for at least two weeks.

 

If a school was implementing a phased re-opening (e.g., only opened grades K-2 for in-person instruction with set plans to phase in grades 3-6) while Ventura County was in Red Tier 2, the school site may continue their phased re-opening. This is only applicable to individual school sites. If a district has a phased reopening of their schools, the schools in that district that did not open for in person instruction may not reopen until Ventura County has returned to Red Tier 2 for two weeks. 

 

Schools that wish to begin providing in-person instruction for select students in grades 7-12 must follow the CDPH Cohort Guidance; this guidance is not meant to bring all students back for in-person instruction, but those that meet the Cohort Guidance criteria.

 

Schools conducting in-person instruction must maintain mitigation measures, including social distancing, face coverings, and sanitization, in compliance with schools guidance from CDPH and Ventura County Public Health. Waiver information can be found at www.venturacountyrecovers.org/school-information/.

 

Tier Advancement

 

Counties are required to remain in an assigned tier for a minimum of three weeks and must meet the criteria for the next tier for two consecutive weeks before being able to advance to the next tier.

 

“To advance forward into the Red Tier 2, Ventura County needs to have lower daily case rates. The only way to do that is to do what we know works,” said Ventura County Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin. “We all have a part in this, and we must be committed to social distancing measures in public spaces (6ft apart, wear face coverings, wash hands, etc.) and to avoid gathering with non-household members. Also, it helps everyone and the County overall to get tested whenever you have any symptom of illness that does not have another explanation, or you think you may have been exposed to COVID.”

 

To learn more about the State’s Tier system and specific allowable activities for Ventura County, visit the State of California's COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy website

 

 

ALERT COVID CASES INCREASING

The County of Ventura Public Health Department is reporting concerning increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate. The community is urged to use caution. The best protection against COVID-19 continues to be to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if you are sick, practice physical distancing, and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others from outside your household.
 
The State monitors three key COVID-19 metrics in assessing how a County can move forward in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The 7-day average case rate per 100,000, the 7-day testing positivity rate and the 7-day health equity testing positivity rate. The County is meeting the metrics for the testing positivity rates for the orange tier, but the 7-day average case rate is on an upward trend. The County must meet all three metrics to continue moving forward. The 7-day case rate was 4.9. It has now increased to 5.3. It is anticipated that next week the rate will be 6.0. If this trend continues and the number exceeds the State metric for the red tier of 7 the County will have to move to the more restrictive purple tier.
“Our community members and businesses have worked so hard to follow the public health guidance. We’ve seen this in the remarkable compliance reported by our business ambassadors and city and state inspectors. Additionally, we fortunately have one of the lowest health equity metrics in the State,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “Our County, in partnership with our community, has done well but we can’t lift our guard. This is now a call to action to continue to be diligent in following the guidance and to use extra caution with any type of gatherings so that we can continue to move forward.”
Daily cases, which are reported Monday through Friday, have increased. This week there were 638 total cases reported compared to lower numbers reported for the week of October 30 with 390 cases, the week of October 23 with 423 cases and the week of October 16 with 334 cases. The last time there was a higher weekly reported case count was on August 28 with 651 cases.
“The individual and collective actions and sacrifices of all of us as Ventura County residents today, and into the holiday season, is going to determine whether we can prevent a continued uptick leading to the possibility that we would revert to the State’s more restrictive purple tier – thus causing greater sacrifice to our businesses and schools,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Public Health Director.
As the holidays approach, Public Health urges the community to use caution with gatherings. The State of California has issued gathering guidance limiting gatherings to a maximum of three households. Gatherings increase the risk for COVID-19. Residents planning to gather, following the guidance, are encouraged to get tested at one of the many County offered high volume testing sites. Testing is free of charge, no appointment is needed and offered 7 days per week. Testing is for residents, those that work in the County of Ventura or those visiting the area.
 
“We are at a critical moment in our COVID-19 recovery journey. Over the last few weeks, businesses and public spaces have reopened, and many more people have been out and around others. With increased contact among non-household members, there are many more opportunities for transmission of COVID-19, particularly if public health directives are not followed, and the data is now showing concerning trends,” said Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin. “We’re safer in the community only if we follow the very specific directives issued by public health. Our collective responsibility is to take immediate action, as individuals and businesses, to reverse the trends we are experiencing.”
 
It’s important if someone thinks they could be positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting testing results, to stay at home and act as if they are positive. If a community member tests positive, they should isolate for 10 days from the onset of illness and until symptoms have improved and fever has resolved. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they should expect a call from a contact tracer to discuss services to them while they isolate and how to protect others. The contact tracer will also work with the positive person to find who they were in close contact with while infectious. These steps help prevent further spread.
“People who have underlying health conditions remain at much greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19, so it will continue to be very important for the County's vulnerable residents to stay at home as much as possible, to have groceries and medicine delivered, and to call their providers immediately if they have even mild symptoms,” said Doctor Levin. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29, 2020

Seniors Now Eligible to Renew Driver’s Licenses Online

Temporary waiver allows licenses for drivers 70 and older to be renewed without an office visit

Sacramento – Californians age 70 and older with a noncommercial driver’s license are now eligible to renew online or by mail, eliminating the need to visit a California Department of Motor Vehicles office. Licenses with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, throughout the COVID-19 emergency are eligible.  

Through Executive Order, Governor Gavin Newsom has temporarily waived the California law requiring drivers age 70 and older to visit a DMV field office to renew their license for the length of California’s State of Emergency or until modified. The DMV is completing the programming necessary so customers who meet the criteria will be able to complete their renewal online beginning December 6.

Nearly all California drivers are now eligible to renew their license online or by mail – even if their renewal notice states an office visit is required.

The DMV previously provided yearlong extensions to senior drivers with noncommercial licenses expiring in March through December 2020. Those who received the extensions are eligible to renew online.

Commercial licenses, including those for drivers 70 and older, expiring between March and December are extended through December 2020, to align with federal guidelines.

The DMV previously expanded eligibility for drivers 69 and under to renew online, even if their DMV notification states they must come to an office.

Summary of California driver’s license extensions

 

 Expiration month

 Status

Age 70 & older (noncommercial)
Age 69 & younger (noncommercial)

Beginning March 2020

Expanded eligibility to renew online or by mail for licenses expiring during the emergency

Commercial (all types, all ages)

March-December 2020

Extended to December 31, 2020

Learner’s permits (noncommercial)

March-November 2020

Extended six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application

 

The ability for senior drivers to renew online is the latest action to help Californians avoid or delay a DMV office visit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV continues to streamline its processes to limit the time customers spend at an office. Customers applying for a REAL ID are encouraged to fill out the online application and upload the required documents before they come to the office for expedited service.

The DMV continues to recommend that customers use its online services, expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. Customers can use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.

 

 

Board of Supervisors approves $10 Million COVID-19 Hospitals Assistance Program

Assistance will support local not-for-profit hospitals

 

Ventura, CA – The County of Ventura Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a COVID-19 Hospitals Assistance Program for local not-for-profit hospitals, in the amount of $10 million to be funded by the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, to provide financial support to local hospitals for COVID-19 costs.

 

“During this extraordinary event, local hospitals have experienced economic hardships and unreimbursed costs due to surge preparation, the assistance for COVID patients and loss of business from decreases in elective surgeries and emergency room visits,” said County Executive Officer, Mike Powers. “The hospitals have also partnered in our effort to care for COVID positive non-acute Long-Term Care Facility residents. These efforts have helped our entire community slow the spread of COVID-19. They have saved lives and worked tirelessly to serve the community. We hope that this assistance will provide relief for their dedicated service.”

 

In order to mitigate the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Board of Supervisors has approved programs for businesses, renters, seniors and homeless persons by utilizing a portion of the $147 million in funding the County received from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund under the CARES Act. The not-for-profit hospital industry is another sector that is in need of financial support. These hospitals have been vital partners with the County in addressing the pandemic by providing beds and health care for COVID-19 patients.

 

“I have seen firsthand how State and County governments have worked in harmony with health care providers throughout the State. We have together successfully curtailed the spread of COVID more than other State’s our size. We have also witnessed unprecedented cooperation,” said Gary Wilde, President and CEO of Community Memorial Health System and Chair of the California Hospital Association. “Locally, the coordination has been incredible. The assistance program will certainly help our local hospitals.”

 

The funding will be distributed to Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital and Adventist Health Simi Valley.

 

“This has been a truly remarkable event in how we have worked together in partnership to support one another. We appreciate the coordinated efforts and ongoing support,” said Darren Lee, President & CEO, St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital, Dignity Health.

 

For more information about COVID-19 response efforts please visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

 

 

 

COVID-19 NEWS RELEASES

County of Ventura moves to the State’s Red Tier
Allows more businesses to open indoors with modifications
County also exceeding State’s new Health Equity Metric
Ventura, CA – Thanks to recent progress being made in the fight against COVID-19 in Ventura County, businesses such as restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, massage businesses and places of worship may now open indoors, following California Department of Public Health sector specific guidance for reopening, as of 12:01 pm today. The changes come after the County qualified to move into the less restrictive red tier of the State's four-tiered, color-coded reopening system. Until today, Ventura County had been in the state's purple tier, the most restrictive tier.
“This is great news for our County and our business community. We will continue to advocate for our local businesses and appreciate this opportunity to move forward,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer.
In order to move into the red tier, the County had to see average case rates drop below 7 per 100,000 people and testing positivity rates dip below 8%. For the past two weeks, Ventura County has met those benchmarks. As of Tuesday, the case rate is 5.5 per 100,000 people and the test positivity rate is 3.0%.
 
A new Ventura County Health Officer Order has been issued to align with the tier advancement.
Moving into the red tier means the following sectors can reopen with modifications:
• Places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can be operated indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
• Gyms can reopen indoors at 10% capacity. 12 feet distancing required in Ventura County.
• All personal care services such as massage, tattoos and piercing salons can open indoors.
• Indoor shopping malls can operate at 50% maximum occupancy (instead of 25%). Food courts can also open following the state's guidelines for restaurants.
• Indoor retail stores can now operate at 50% capacity (instead of 25%)
"The credit belongs to our residents, who have made lots of sacrifices and worked hard to improve our community transmission metrics,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Public Health Director. “That same hard work must continue moving forward so that we don’t revert back to the purple tier and instead continue making progress towards the next tier, orange, so that additional businesses can reopen.”
Elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person instruction by October 21 if the county remains the red tier for two more weeks. Currently, elementary schools can apply for a waiver from Public Health to reopen.
“COVID-19 is still circulating in our County. It’s important that community members continue to take all the same precautions so that we can continue to move forward: wear face coverings in public, maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and stay home if you're sick,” said Doctor Robert Levin, Public Health Officer.
Community members who have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, who have symptoms or who have contact with others outside of their household for their work are encouraged to get tested. County testing sites are available 7 days a week at no cost with no appointment needed.  Short wait times and results within 24 hours are the standard right now.
Businesses and other organizations should review their applicable industry guidance for reopening safely from the state. Businesses must also be registered to reopen at www.vcreopens.com. If a business previously registered, they do not need to register again.
The California Department of Public Health has also issued a new Health Equity Metric that goes into effect today. The goal of the metric is to prevent spread among disproportionately impacted Californians. The County of Ventura has been committed to equitable response and serving and protecting the most vulnerable since the beginning of the pandemic. These efforts have included free testing, expanded testing hours and locations, contact tracing, multi-lingual outreach, assistance programs for food, rent and household bills, waived clinic fees, hotel vouchers, permanent housing and more.
“Unlike several other counties, the case rate and testing positivity rates in our most impacted areas do not stand to hold us back from moving tiers. In fact, our positivity rate has improved significantly enough in these areas that we might be eligible for an “accelerator adjustment”, whereby we can move tiers based on that metric alone, even if our overall case rate was to keep us in a lower tier,” said Rigoberto Vargas, Pubic Health Director.
The Health Equity Metric requires that the lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) quartile be below 8%. To enter the state’s less restrictive Orange Tier, it needs to stay under 5%. The County is currently at 3.6% positivity rate for the lower HPI quartile compared to 3.0% for the County as a whole. The County will continue to support health equity with expanded outreach and support throughout the County.

 

Schools Will Consider Reopening Dates as
Ventura County Coronavirus Status Improves

Today, Ventura County moved off the most restrictive tier of the state’s COVID-19 watch list, which means schools could soon have the option of reopening for in-person instruction at all grade levels. If Ventura County maintains its status for two additional weeks, schools may choose to reopen as early as Wednesday, October 21. However, it will be up to each individual school district to determine exactly when they can safely begin welcoming students back to class. Some schools may choose to reopen their campuses later than October 21 for a variety of reasons.

When they do reopen, schools will need to maintain strict social distancing, keeping students and staff at least six feet away from each other. This means classrooms can only be filled to a fraction of their normal capacity. Schools are also required to keep the same groups of students together to the greatest extent possible to limit the number of people each student is exposed to throughout the day.

In elementary grades, many schools will comply with these rules by bringing only a portion of students to class each day. On the days they are not in class, students will continue receiving instruction through distance learning. This hybrid approach will allow all students to have some in-class instruction a few days per week.

The situation becomes much more complicated in middle school and high school where students switch classrooms and mix with different groups multiple times a day according to each student’s unique schedule. Because of this and the fact that classrooms cannot be filled to capacity, it will be extremely difficult to create a workable in-person schedule at the middle and high school levels. As a result, some schools may determine that the best option is to continue with full-time distance learning.

In addition to scheduling and safety considerations, school districts need to ensure there are enough teachers available to resume in-person instruction. Many teachers are in high risk groups, which could prevent them from returning to class. Others may have reservations about being in a crowded school environment while the pandemic is ongoing.

Another issue that complicates reopening is transportation. Because of social distancing requirements, school buses will not be able to carry the usual number of students. It’s very likely there will not be a sufficient supply of buses and drivers to provide transportation to all students who may need it.

“We recognize that people have passionate feelings on both sides of the school reopening issue, and we want nothing more than to get students safely back to class,” said Stan Mantooth, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “I urge everyone to understand that school district leaders are working to reopen in the most responsible way, which may mean spending additional time on distance learning at some schools.”

All Ventura County schools have prepared detailed reopening procedures that will help ensure the safety of students and staff when they return to campus. They include:

•     Face coverings will be required for all staff and for students in third grade and above.

•     Classrooms will be arranged to keep everyone at least six feet apart.

•     Students will be kept in consistent groups (cohorts) as much as possible.

•     Parents will be instructed to keep students home whenever they have a temperature or show symptoms.

•     Anyone experiencing symptoms at school will be sent home.

•     Facilities and equipment will be disinfected on a regular basis.

•     School officials will work with Ventura County Public Health on contact tracing if positive cases arise.

•     Athletic training and conditioning are allowed with social distancing, but actual competitions are on hold pending further guidance from public health officials.

•     Staff will receive COVID-19 testing as required by state and local regulations.

•     Staff and students will receive health screenings on a regular basis.

Each school district is communicating independently with parents and students about their reopening timelines. For additional information about reopening protocols, see the Framework for Reopening Ventura County Schools at www.vcoe.org/framework.

 

Updates for local businesses:
  • There is no longer a time limit for facilities serving meals. It was limited to 90 minutes but effective immediately there is no time limit. Seating must be kept to the same household and 11:00 pm closure is still required.
  • Garage Sales and Swap Meets are now allowed following state guidance.
  • Ratio for day camp is now 14 to 1.
If the County continues to meet the State metrics the State will allow the County to move into the Red Tier on October 6. Read more about areas that will reopen by clicking here.
Once personal services are permitted in the Red Tier:
  • There will be no time limit for personal services, confined space is permitted, the customer will not need to wear a mask when the service provider is wearing both a mask and face shield (for eye protection) when providing services on the face (per State Guidelines).
Additionally:
  • Gyms will be permitted to reopen at 10% capacity indoors with 12ft social distancing and masks.
Health Equity Metric
The State of California announced a new Health Equity Metric that goes into effect on October 6. The good news is that the County of Ventura is already meeting the equity metric for the orange tier. So the County is still in a good position to move forward into the Red Tier this week. It's more important than ever that we continue to work together to bring the numbers down. 

County of Ventura meeting State reopening metrics

Poised to enter Red Tier in one week

 

VENTURA, CA. – Today, the State of California announced that the County of Ventura has met the State COVID-19 metrics for one week. If the County meets the metrics for an additional week the State will allow the County to move into the Red Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. “I am excited Ventura County has been cleared to go to this next phase,” said Supervisor Kelly Long, Chair of the Board of Supervisors.  “Ventura County has consistently exceeded the standards in five of the six initial metrics set by the state. Clearing this last hurdle is a testament to the public’s patience and adherence to safety protocols.  I look forward to more latitude and flexibility for our local businesses and social activities that will help our local economy and improve our quality of life.”

 

As of September 29, the County has met the threshold for the case rate for the Red Tier. Any county within this tier must indicate a daily case rate of between 4-7 cases and a positivity rate of between 5-8%. Ventura County currently has a daily case rate of 7.0. The County’s testing volume of 283 exceeds the State average of 248.9.  This has allowed for an adjustment by the State of the case rate from 8 to 7. Exceeding the requirements for testing has helped the County advance.

 

“This is a huge step forward for our County,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “This advancement shows the commitment of our business community and community members to bring the numbers down. We understand the hardship faced by so many and appreciate that this next tier will offer the reopening of many areas. The economic toll of this virus continues to adversely impact the business community. We will continue to work for further progress.”

 

The County anticipates that establishment in the Red Tier would become effective starting Tuesday, October 6, 2020. “Businesses are encouraged to prepare now for reopening,” added Powers. The County has been actively working with the State to advocate moving forward into this less restrictive tier.

 

“This is a critical time at which we must continue to work together to further slow the spread of COVID-19. All residents are urged to follow all guidance so we can continue to improve our metrics and move through the tiers. Wearing masks, social distancing and only gathering with members of one’s household are important measures to keep us on the right path,” said Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas.

 

Once in the Red Tier, personal care services, restaurants, places of worship, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, along with museums, zoos and aquariums will be able to open for indoor operations with modifications. Stores with indoor operations that are open in the Purple Tier can increase indoor capacity to 50% in the Red Tier. Restaurants can open indoors at 25% capacity. Places of worship, higher education, and zoos and museums can open indoor operations at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Fitness centers and gyms will be able to offer indoor operations at 10% capacity.

 

School openings for in-person instruction are only able to be considered once a county has been in the Red Tier for 14 consecutive days. At this time, only schools that have applied for school waivers and have been approved are allowed to be open for in-person instruction. If the County continues to meet the threshold for case rate and other metrics, K-12 schools across the County could reopen as early as Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

 

Additionally, as of September 28, the State has allowed for outdoor playgrounds operated by a city, state, county, or federal government to open. The County of Ventura is in line with the guidance that has been provided by the State. Information about the guidelines can be accessed by visiting the State website at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Outdoor%20Playgrounds%20and%20other%20Outdoor%20Recreational%20Facilities.aspx

 

Nail Salons: Can be open for indoor service following the expanded personal care services guidance.

Camping: Campgrounds can be open at 100% capacity following campgrounds, RV parks and recreation guidance.
Alcohol-serving Establishments can now be open until 11:00 pm. View the updated order here. Operations must still be conducted outdoors.
All businesses located within the County must create a worksite-specific Covid Prevention Plan and register to be open at www.VCReopens.com. If a business registered previously they do not need to register again.
View the FAQ page by clicking here. 
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Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin issued a new health order regarding restaurants, bars, wineries, brewpubs, and other similar establishments that up to now have been allowed to have outdoor service with restrictions and qualifications.  Currently, those establishments have been allowed to stay open until 10 PM.  The new order allows them to stay open an hour later to 11 PM.  All other previous restrictions still apply.  And again, this is for outdoor operations.  Indoor operations are still not allowed.

 

VCCCD Announces Spring Semester Will Be Remote

District practices utmost precaution to keep its approximately 31,000 students safe

 

(CAMARILLO, Calif.) September 22, 2020 – Ventura County Community College District announces that due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, a majority of its classes at Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura colleges will continue to be remote for the spring 2021 semester, which begins Jan. 11. Strict protocols will still be in place for students and faculty who must be on campus for courses that cannot be remote.

 

In making the decision, VCCCD leadership carefully explored the issue and prioritized the health and safety of its approximately 31,000 students and 1,700 employees during the pandemic. The District will continue to monitor pandemic conditions and state and local Department of Public Health guidelines and restrictions and make adjustments to work status and access to the colleges as appropriate. 

 

“We are alerting students, employees and the community of our actions now to enable everyone to plan for the future,” said Chancellor Greg Gillespie. “Our faculty at all the colleges has worked hard to adapt the curriculum for online learning so that students have an excellent learning experience.”

 

Continuing student registration appointment times for the spring 2021 semester will be listed on students’ MyVCCCD email portal beginning Sept. 28, 2020. New student registration begins Nov. 16. Students may register for classes at more than one VCCCD college.

 

“We appreciate the ongoing support of the community as we continue to take steps to protect the safety and health of our students and employees while providing educational instruction and student support,” said Board Chair Bernardo M. Perez. “We are committed to helping our students fulfill their educational and career goals.”

 

 

Health Officer Order Issued for All Individuals Entering or Residing in Homeless Shelters and H-2A Housing

Ventura, CA – The County Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin, has issued a new Health Officer Order requiring temperature screening, self-evaluation and reporting of COVID-19 cases at all homeless shelters and H-2A housing in the County of Ventura. This Order is effective September 18 at 12:00 am.

The new order stipulates the following:

  1. All individuals entering or residing in a homeless shelter or H-2A housing shall be screened for COVID-19 symptoms daily.
  2. If through daily screening an individual or resident has symptoms related to COVID-19 the individual must immediately self-isolate and notify the manager, operator, owner of the facility or employer.
  3. The operator, manager, owner of homeless shelters or the employers providing H-2A housing must immediately notify the Ventura County Public Health Department when there is one case of confirmed COVID-19 in the homeless shelter or H-2A at 805-981-5201.

Public Health strongly recommends that homeless shelters and H-2A housing utilize stable groups to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in these types of housing. The screening listed in this order has already taken place throughout the pandemic response at homeless shelters in the County of Ventura. The shelter partners are screening for symptoms including temperature checks multiple times per day. This includes the publicly and privately funded emergency shelter programs. These screening efforts are also taking place at agricultural facilities and businesses throughout the County.

 

Providing direct outreach to farmworkers has been a top priority throughout the County’s COVID-19 response efforts. A Ventura County Health Education Program called Cultivating Health in Agriculture takes important resources to the farms. The effort includes Ventura County Medical Center Doctors in partnership with Public Health, the Farmworker Resource Program and Logrando Bienestar. The team provides medical and mental health and wellness outreach where physicians visit the farms to answer questions, test and provide prevention information.

 

The Ventura County Health Care Agency has waived fees and costs related to any respiratory or COVID-19 related treatment during the response efforts. The clinics have also provided expanded multi-lingual tele-health efforts to answer questions and provide guidance. Drive through testing sites were launched in Oxnard, Moorpark, Ventura and Santa Paula offering no cost COVID-19 testing for all community members. The testing is offered during later evening hours at all sites and on weekends at the Oxnard site. 

In April, the County, in collaboration with the County Executive Office, the Farmworker Resource Program, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, Ventura County Agricultural Association, many local growers and the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, issued an Advisor for Agricultural Worker Protection to be used during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Advisory provided information for employee hygiene emphasizing hand washing, staying home when sick and social distancing to avoid the spreading of illness during work activities and breaks. The advisory also provided guidance for employers to have soap or disinfectant, potable water and single-use disposable towels available at worksites and throughout facilities. Instruction for routine environmental cleaning in high traffic areas, training and limiting nonessential visits and travel were included in the advisory.

 

The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office also issued 1,000,000 masks to agricultural sites throughout the County. These measures have helped to protect farmworkers. Farmworker cases are 3.8% of the total positive cases. Other vulnerable populations include 65+ years at 9.4%, Healthcare Workers at 5.4%, Long-term care facilities at 4.9%, and Service Industry workers at 2.3%.

 

The Public Health team responds when there is any report of an outbreak to a facility. Testing is provided and contact tracing begins so that those who may have been exposed to a positive case are alerted and provided with guidance for self-quarantine. This immediate response has helped to limit additional spread. Public Health also provides alternative temporary housing at local hotels for those who have been exposed or tested positive to COVID-19.

 

In addition to the Advisory, mask distribution and site visits there has been on-going multilingual educational outreach. This includes resource information with Farmworker paychecks, WhatsApp messaging, videos in multiple languages, social media messaging in partnership with community partners, public service announcements, outreach at local businesses, churches and schools, digital sign board messaging and streaming of press conferences, board meetings, doctor question and answer time and town halls in English and Spanish.

 

In addition to this outreach, early on the County funded expanded evening hours for Food Share pop-up sites allowing for more accessibility to food and a rental assistance program was launched to provide funding for those who cannot afford to pay rent due to COVID-19 impacts. The Farmworker Household Assistance Program is also open for applications for $1,500 for household expenses. 

The County’s Farmworker Resource Program coordinators serve the agricultural community throughout the year. They have been conducting regular outreach throughout the pandemic. The program is staffed by trilingual employees who speak indigenous languages like Mixteco and are knowledgeable about the agricultural industry and serve as outreach resources to farmworkers and their employers.

Stay informed at www.venturacounty.org. Please report Covid Compliance concerns to covidcompliance@ventura.org or by calling 1(844) 826-7367.

View the newsroom for COVID-19 updates at: https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/coronavirus-latest-news-updates/. Updates at  https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/subscribe/.

View the Spanish newsroom at: https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/newsroom-sp/  Spanish updates https://www.venturacountyrecovers.org/subscribe-sp/.

 

Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Protect California’s Workforce Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Bills expand access to workers’ compensation and require employers to notify local officials and employees of COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace

 

Watch today's worker protection bill signing here

 

SACRAMENTO -- Governor Gavin Newsom today signed two bills as part of his worker protection package, SB 1159 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and AB 685 by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino). SB 1159 expands access to workers’ compensation and makes it easier for first responders, health care workers and people who test positive due to an outbreak at work to get the support they need, including necessary medical care and wage replacement benefits. AB 685 ensures timely notification to employees and local and state public health officials of COVID-19 cases at workplaces. This notification will help workers take necessary precautions such as seeking testing, getting medical help or complying with quarantine directives.

 

“Protecting workers is critical to slowing the spread of this virus,” said Governor Newsom. “These two laws will help California workers stay safe at work and get the support they need if they are exposed to COVID-19.”  

 

“I thank the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature, and the many stakeholders who worked with us on SB 1159 to improve the lives of the Californians who are working to keep our state, our economy and our communities operating. These workers help all of us meet the incredible challenges we face today,” said Senator Jerry Hill. “For more than 100 years, California has stood for worker safety. In signing SB 1159, Governor Newsom underscores and reinforces that commitment by ensuring vulnerable workers are not left out in the cold.”

 

“In the age of Covid-19 our essential workers risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones in our fields, hospitals, grocery stores, meatpacking plants, restaurant kitchens and countless other businesses in our state,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “COVID-19 infections and deaths disproportionately affect the Latino, Black, and Asian Pacific Islander communities. Communities that make up the majority of our state’s low-wage workers. By notifying the public and workers of potential exposures as required under AB 685 we allow workers to take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their loved ones while also bolstering the response of public health officials.”

 

SB 1159 (Hill) expands access to workers’ compensation by creating a rebuttable presumption for front line workers -- health care workers, firefighters and peace officers. Creating a presumption removes burdens of access to workers’ compensation for those workers who most likely got infected at work. Additionally, the bill establishes a rebuttable presumption when there is a workplace outbreak over a 14-day timeframe.

 

Under AB 685 (Reyes), employers must report an outbreak to local public health officials. Employers must also report known cases to employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 within one business day. This bill strengthens Cal/OSHA’s enforcement authority by providing clear authority to close a worksite due to a COVID-19 hazard and reducing the timeframe for COVID-19 citations. 

 

Governor Newsom has enacted other components of his worker protection package in recent weeks. Last week, he signed AB 1867, legislation that immediately ensured access to paid sick leave for every California employee, closing gaps in federal and state law. He also advanced significant funding for worker and employer outreach, education and enforcement activities related to COVID-19.

 

This worker protection package builds on the Newsom Administration’s ongoing efforts to protect workers, among them expanded child care, access to testing and building a pipeline of personal protective equipment to help workers stay safe on the job. The Administration has also released robust workplace safety and health guidance that emphasizes masks, distancing, cleaning, hand washing, screenings and staying home if feeling sick.