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Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake counties pursue 'shelter in place' orders, while Napa Valley bans gatherings

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North Bay county orders to stem coronavirus outbreak

Sonoma: Shelter in place: Three weeks (12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7)

Napa: Bans public private gatherings of 50 or more: Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 18 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7

Mendocino: Shelter-in-place: Three weeks (10 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7)

Lake: Shelter-in-place order anticipated Wednesday evening

Marin: Shelter-in-place: Three weeks (12:01 a.m. Tuesday March 17, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7)

Solano: Complying with Gov. Newsom's March 16 order for social distancing

With seven other San Francisco Bay Area counties implementing shelter-in-place orders affecting nearly 7 million, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties on Tuesday evening took a similar path to battle the new coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Napa County on Tuesday afternoon said it would seek to bar gatherings of 50 or more people, but Solano County on Tuesday said it would stick with Gov. Newsom's recommendations to slow the virus outbreak.

Mendocino County's public health officer around 8 p.m. Tuesday announced that the area would join the Bay Area joint order as of 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The Lake County public health officer is anticipated to issue shelter-in-place order for that area of the North Bay by Wednesday afternoon or evening, according to a Clearlake Police Department alert on the Nixle system at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Effective midnight at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday in Napa County, public and private gatherings above 50 there are prohibited “in response to the increase scope and severity of COVID-19,” said Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio.

The order, which extends until April 7, comes as Napa County has yet to log any confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Relucio’s announcement stated the county took the step in light of the spread of cases in areas surrounding the county.

Solano County was an early epicenter in California for COVID-19 cases and community spread of the virus. The county on Tuesday said it had nine confirmed cases.

The county's public health officer, Bela Matyas, M.D., M.P.H., in a YouTube video Tuesday explained his decision not to pursue a shelter-in-place order.

"Sheltering in place is not right terminology to be using for what is really social-distancing orders," Matyas said. He said the phrase is used for when residents are instructed not to go outside because the air is dangerous, such as during a toxic chemical spill or fire with smoke.

Matyas said the Bay Area orders mirror the social-distancing directives individually from Newsom and President Trump on Monday. He noted that the list of exceptions for "essential activities" in the orders is "very long, and very little is not excluded from the concept of 'don't go to work.'"

"I think there has been a lot of significant misrepresentation of the content of those orders, and it's unfortunate because it's been accompanied by a lot more panic and concern," Matyas said. "The problem is that people are over-reading the orders - they're overreacting - and it will potentially harm business if people are staying away from work that is essential, that should continue. And it's difficult for the economy to sustain that for any length of time. It will be difficult for people who lose their own income."

Matyas said it's a misconception that the orders were necessary for workers to qualify for unemployment insurance. Rather, the governor's order was all that was needed, and Newsom also lifted the one-week waiting period for such assistance.

Sonoma County's shelter-in-place order took effect at midnight Wednesday but wasn't issued until Tuesday evening, after top county officials earlier in the day told the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors about such a plan.

Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s interim public health officer, stopped short of issuing the order during the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Sonoma County has documented four cases of community spreading of the virus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19. Two of those people work in health care, including one person who is an employee at the Rohnert Park Health Center, a nonprofit clinic.

“I think moving forward more quickly is probably best at this point. We had four cases in three days, and I fully expect more this week,” Mase told the Press Democrat.

The county has released little to no other information about those four cases, withholding basic, general details under a the banner of patient privacy.

Officials in seven San Francisco Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate Monday, affecting nearly 7 million people, including San Francisco itself.

The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It affects the counties of San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Cruz, as well as the city of Berkeley.

Napa’s order bars public or private gatherings of 50 or more persons “except as necessary to perform essential government functions. “ Public or private gatherings of fewer than 50 persons are permitted in the county “only if hosts or sponsors implement all of the COVID-19 risk mitigation measures.”

--Associated Press and The Press Democrat contributed to this report.

North Bay county orders to stem coronavirus outbreak

Sonoma: Shelter in place: Three weeks (12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7)

Napa: Bans public private gatherings of 50 or more: Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 18 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7

Mendocino: Shelter-in-place: Three weeks (10 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7)

Lake: Shelter-in-place order anticipated Wednesday evening

Marin: Shelter-in-place: Three weeks (12:01 a.m. Tuesday March 17, through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 7)

Solano: Complying with Gov. Newsom's March 16 order for social distancing

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