Pictured: Mandala, a restaurant in Oak View is participating in the Great Plates program providing meals to homebound seniors and others while being compensated with federal funds. Photo courtesy of Mandala. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Any person can get tested – criteria has been lifted

On Monday the county removed any criteria for the public to be tested for the coronavirus. Any member of the public who wants to be tested can register for free testing at the two state operated testing locations. 

To register call: 1-888-634-1123 or go online: www.lhi.care/covidtesting

Based on the person’s location they will be assigned to one of two sites: 

  1. Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard. 
  2. Thousand Oaks Library – Newbury Park Branch, 2331 Borchard Rd., Newbury Park

Seven urgent care community clinics across the county are offering drive through testing. These sites are giving preference to those with symptoms. At press deadline the county is testing around 500 to 600 people each day. 

Appointments are required at the county testing locations – 805-652-7660. 

  • OXNARD Las Islas Family Medical Group – South 325 West Channel Islands Blvd., Open 7 days/week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Magnolia Family Medical Center – 2240 Gonzales Rd. Ste. 100 Oxnard, CA 93036 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • VENTURA Academic Family Medicine Center 300 Hillmont Ave., Bldg 340 Ste. 101 Ventura, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | West Ventura Medical Clinic, 133 W. Santa Clara St.,Ventura. Open seven days/week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • SANTA CLARA RIVER VALLEYFillmore Family Medical Group –  828 W. Ventura St. Ste. 100 Fillmore, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • EAST COUNTY- Thousand Oaks – Conejo Valley Family Medical Group, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 200, Open 7 days/week from 9:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Simi Valley – Sierra Vista Family Medical Clinic 1227 East Los Angeles Ave. Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Details at www.vcemergency.com or call 211. 

”State law is supreme”

On Tuesday, Matthew Walker with Ventura County Counsell clarified that the county must comply with orders from the state because when “under emergency orders,” orders issued by the Governor or the California Department of Public Health, “is supreme. We are required to comply with the governor’s orders. We can be more restrictive, but cannot be less restrictive.” 

He listed possible consequences of violating state emergency orders include the governor ordering law enforcement to enforce his orders or the county losing reimbursement funds. 

With the example of hair salons not being part of the current reopening phase, Walker said that Dr. Robert Levin with Ventura County Public Health, “couldn’t open them if he wanted to,” because the state orders don’t include them in the current phase. 

“We would risk losing FEMA reimbursement,” said Mike Powers, CEO of Ventura County. “In our county that would be tens of millions of dollars.” He said the county has already received $147 million from the federal government to reimburse for certain costs related to coronavirus response. 

Great Plates county program feeds seniors, supports restaurants

The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA) is facilitating the implementation of a federally funded program to provide meals to seniors, those who are disabled and others who are otherwise unable to prepare their own meals. Eligibility for the Restaurant Meal Deliveries includes 65 or over, or 60-64 and high-risk for serious complications from COVID-19 per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including those who are positive for the virus.

For more information and to apply to receive meals or sign up as a restaurant over the phone call: 805-477-7300. The form is online at: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=BOzgvPHRWk-gUKS16RgWg2vrtYwfLqNOpoVPCUfCqwpUN0ZOMFgwTjhZRVNDN1VaWldZMTZKUkwzSi4u

CSUCI seeking input from surfers

California State University at Channel Islands is asking surfers across the country to fill out a survey as part of a study to determine the impacts of restrictions and closures at beaches and coastal access points across the country as part of local responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The survey is online: www.coastography.org/SADsurvey

St. John’s and Oxnard Fire prodiving antibody testing to first responders

Antibody testing at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. Photo submitted.

St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard is working with the Oxnard Fire Department to administer 5,000 “COVID-19 antibody tests to local first responders.” The testing began on May 7 and will continue for a few weeks. 

“Utilizing paramedic responder agencies, test samples will be collected for antibody testing specific to COVID-19,” said Darren Lee, president and CEO of St. John’s. 

“This initiative is vital to our local planning efforts for further response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to foster the wellbeing of our community,” said Alexander Hamilton,

Assistant Fire Chief of the Oxnard Fire Department. 

This testing will be open to all fire, law enforcement, ambulance and dispatch agency employees. 

Clean Power Alliance supports customers in need

Assistance is available for residential and commercial customers of the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) who are signed up through Southern California Edison (handles billing for CPA). The CPA Board of Directors authorized a $1 million fund to help customers pay electricity bills of those customers who are signed up through state programs. More information at 800-655-4555 or online cleanpoweralliance.org/covid19Some notes on the state guidance: 

Pesticide laws broadened, students at home protected. 

The office of Ed Williams, Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner is reviewing new guidance from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in response to a directive from Governor Gavin Newsom that pesticide regulations be broadened to protect children, now engaged in schooling at home. 

We are still reviewing the State’s directions to determine if there is anything we need to do in addition to the existing programs we are carrying out on a daily basis,” said Ed Williams, Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner responding via email to the VCReporter. He said staff have been working to enforce all applicable protections. “We will be strongly encouraging growers to share their plans for pest management with their residential neighbors, particularly when there are school aged children present. We have already been taking enforcement actions when warranted and as needed to address compliance issues and violations.”

“It remains critical for the state to protect children and families from pesticide exposure including through the strong protections California has in place for school sites,” said Newsom in the May 4 letter to the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and he went on to direct CalEPA to “issue guidance for local County Agricultural Commissioners outlining the State’s requirement for strong pesticide regulation enforcement for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. During this public health crisis, it is important to ensure the strict enforcement and oversight of regulations that protect children from pesticide exposure.”

The letter went on to declare Newsom’s intention that California, “deepen its resolve to grow our strong, climate smart agricultural economy while lowering community health risks.” and examining priorities in the agricultural sector “while transitioning away from harmful chemicals.”

Then on May 7 the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) issued guidance that broadens state laws that govern pesticide spraying around school sites to include homes, now that students are not going to school sites. 

“State law requires [County Agricultural Commissioners] to protect students participating in educational instruction at home, along with their families and others providing that educational instruction at home, as well as students, parents, teachers, and other personnel who remain present at school sites during the COVID-19 emergency,” stated the CDPR in the guidance to local agricultural commissioners. 

Gov. Newsom’s letter is online: www.calepa.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2020/05/Governors-Letter-to-CalEPA-on-Pesticide-Enforcement.pdf

CDPR direction to CAC is online: www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/county/cacltrs/exec/2020/exec_20-03.pdf

Citrus bacteria smelling dogs can’t travel to county

The Ventura County Farm Bureau has reported that as a result of travel restrictions related to the pandemic, specially trained dogs that were scheduled to come to local citrus orchards to detect the HLB citrus disease are unable to get to work. The team of eight dogs coming from Florida were to arrive on March 18 as part of the Ventura County ACP-HLP Task Force efforts to combat disease. The visit by the dogs and their handlers will be rescheduled. 

Help for Farmworkers

Clinicas Del Camino has created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds that will go directly to Ventura County farmworker families who may not qualify to receive stimulus funds and other benefits available. The COVID-19 Crisis has underscored more than ever the importance and value that farmworkers represent in Ventura County. Farming and farm-dependent businesses provide an estimated 43,000 jobs in the County, generating $2.2 billion in revenue and $76 million in indirect business taxes annually. The impact farmworkers have in our economy and the job they are performing during COVID19 contribute mightily to our collective well-being. The campaign can be found through this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/feeding-the-frontline-feeding-our-farmworkers.