April 2, 2020 Moonshine Minutes
Part 1 Morning:
#1 Hi everyone, I’m Becca Loux, reporter and editor for Moonshine Ink here with today’s Moonshine Minutes.
With case totals and death rates coming out every minute, the last few days have seen a flurry of official action not seen since … about two weeks ago when the California executive order and nonessentials closures everywhere had us in a rapid tailspin.
Just yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Also on Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered an official stay-at-home mandate for the state, which went into effect at midnight last night. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, with similar missives, went into effect Thursday, March 19. Under both, essential functions are still permissible, including grocery shopping, driving to essential businesses, and outdoor activities like walking, but it is ordered you must continue to limit contact with groups and keep six feet of distance between yourself and others not of your household.
This official action comes when Washoe County’s positive COVID-19 cases, as of Wednesday evening, were at 163 with 18 deemed recovered and four deaths. Placer County was reporting 78 cases with two deaths; Nevada County was reporting 26 positive cases, no deaths; and El Dorado County was reporting 18 cases, no deaths.
It’s important to emphasize that our frontline has been impacted. Tahoe Forest Health System CEO Harry Weis confirmed in an interview here on KTKE that eight hospital staff members have confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19. Currently, the hospital has 36 total beds (including ICU-equipped beds) and 9 ventilators, with three more en route. As the hospital prepares for an increase in cases, Weis said it’s focusing on the area’s full-time residents, a population of about 35,000 to 40,000, and not second home owners. He said TFHS had received about 35 positive test kits at the time of his interview, a number which he said “is growing pretty rapidly on a weekly basis.”
Businesses are struggling and for that, we recommend tuning in for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association stakeholder call today at 3. The conversation is themed around recovery options for local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will include insight from Steve Frisch, executive director of the Sierra Business Council. SBC has been a leader in helping local businesses navigate the waters of applying for loans and understanding what resources are available. Visit business.nltra.org [slash] events [slash] calendar.
The new snow is enticing and the call for stoke is loud, but the resounding notion echoed across our nation and region is that we must stem the tide of this virus. That means staying in place. For a regional economy based on tourism, confusion abounds. To discuss this issue — how visitors to the area are compounding the local story in dealing with the novel coronavirus — Moonshine is hosting a Tahoe Talks conference call on April 9. Email email@example.com to join.
Lastly, local restaurants and grocery stores are working hard to keep you fed. A comprehensive list of restaurants and eateries offering takeout and delivery services can be found at moonshineink.com/coronavirus-food. For example, Glenshire Pizza is open for curbside pickup and home delivery, and Incline Spirits Barefoot Bar is offering grab-and-go options in addition to delivery. In Tahoe City, Bridgetender Tavern and Grill is open from noon to 8 p.m. with takeout and a delivery option to come.
That’s all for today. Stay tuned for future Moonshine Minutes
Part 2 Afternoon:
#1 Good afternoon!, I’m Mayumi Elegado, Moonshine Ink’s founder, publisher, and editor in chief. To start off this bonus afternoon installment of Moonshine Minutes, I’d like to take a second to ask you all to support our publication and up-to-the minute, in-depth reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic by becoming a Member at moonshineink.com/contribute.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year yesterday in an attempt to further mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak. What does that mean for our local school district? It’s not certain yet, but district representatives say we should know by midday tomorrow.
Newsom said at his press conference today: “I think the worst decision we could make, as I’ve said this in the past, is you know, cutting our parachute when we’re way above the ground. And I don’t think there would be anything that would be more impactful, that would example, or manifest that metaphor than sending 6-plus million children back into our public schools as vectors to come back home, with their grandpa, grandma, (and other) family members potentially, when we’re so close to turning the page.”
The state’s education department will also be partnering with Google to provide 100,000 mobile hotspots and Chromebooks for students experiencing distance learning in rural areas.
Kelli Twomey, coordinator of parent and community relations for the district, told Moonshine via email earlier today. “As you know, the situation is changing every day. Dr. Leri and the other county superintendents are taking the Governor’s and [state superintendent of public instruction] Tony Thurmond’s recommendations made in yesterday’s news conference under serious consideration. Discussions are continuing, and Dr. Leri will be meeting virtually with all Placer County superintendents, the county superintendent, and [Placer public health director] Dr. Aimee Sisson to determine the next course of action for all schools in Placer County. We anticipate an announcement tomorrow on the plans for all schools in Placer County.
Though Leri had announced his plans to retire from his position with the district in February, he announced on March 20 via an email update that he will “stay as long as this crisis continues and until we find the right superintendent chief learning officer for our district.”
He specified his reasoning: “Given the COVID-19 crisis, I realize that it may be unrealistic for our board to complete the superintendent chief learning officer recruitment process in the original timeline they laid out.”
The district is keeping its most recent updates under the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic on their website, available at ttusd.org/virus, and has promised to update Moonshine’s editorial squad as soon as a decision is reached at the local level.
In other news, the topic of visitors in the area and how that relates to the pandemic continues to escalate in the area. Moonshine Ink is hosting another Tahoe Talks next week on this subject. To join the community conference call, firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s it for today’s afternoon Moonshine Minutes! Stay safe and sane, share confirmed information, and as always, search for your moments of zen.