Following guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health, several institutions have begun to postpone, suspend or otherwise alter normal activities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

California Department of Public Health

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidelines in regards to gatherings to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19. These guidelines will remain in place through the month of March. 

The department advised that large gatherings of 250 or more people should be postponed or canceled. This includes concerts, conferences and sporting events. 

Small gatherings held in venues that do not allow a social distancing of six feet per person should also be postponed or canceled. 

Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people. This includes gatherings at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions. 

The statement defined a gathering as “any event convening that brings people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria or any other indoor or outdoor space.”

PJUSD classes

PJUSD Superintendent Dr. Phil Alfano said via email on Friday that no school closures are planned at this time, and that he “will continue to monitor over the weekend.” He added that the district has “developed contingency strategies to continue to provide students with distance learning and meals” for those who need them, in the event the schools must temporarily close.

How to help protect yourself

It is advised that people take everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. 

People are encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If no soap is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 

Citizens are advised to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Also, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. It is recommended that you clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately. 

Cases across the state and county

A total of 247 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the state as of Friday morning. Five of those cases have resulted in death, including one non-California resident. 

Twenty four of those positive cases are related to federal repatriation flights, while 223 cases are not related to repatriation flights. 

Of those 223 cases not related to repatriation flights:

  • 65 are travel-related
  • 52 are person to person
  • 56 due to community transmission
  • 50 are under investigation

The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has reported two positive coronavirus cases in the county as of March 12. A total of 32 patients have been tested for COVID-19, with nine cases returning as negative and two as positive. Twenty-one cases have been tested but are pending results.

Governor Newsome issues executive order

Following guidelines released by the California Department of Public Health, Governor Newsome issued a new executive order on Thursday, March 12 to further enhance the state’s ability to respond to the coronavirus. The order: 

  • Waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19. 
  • Delays the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19 filings
  • Directs residents to follow public health directives and guidance, including canceling large non-essential gatherings that do not meet state criteria
  • Readies the state to commandeer property for temporary residences and medical facilities for quarantining, isolating or treating individuals
  • Allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically
  • Allows local and state emergency administrators to act quickly to protect public health

MJC and Stanislaus State University move to remote learning

Modesto Junior College and Stanislaus State University have released notices that each school plans to move away from face-to-face classes in favor of remote learning in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Modesto Junior College has suspended March 16 through 17 classes. By March 18 all classes are scheduled to be delivered through remote instruction online. The plan will remain effective through the end of March. Campus leadership will meet at that time to revisit the issue. 

“While educational settings (e.g. classes, labs, dormitories, etc.) are omitted from the California Department of Health newest regulations and guidelines regarding public gatherings, we are acting out of an abundance of caution,” MJC President Dr. James Houpis said in a press release issued on Friday. 

Stanislaus State announced on Thursday, March 12 a suspension of face-to-face classes at both the Turlock and Stockton campuses.

“To be clear, our campus currently remains safe. The following measures are being taken to mitigate risk to protect the health of our students, faculty and staff and to limit the spread of the COVID-19 within our campus communities,” a statement released on their website Thursday said. 

Stanislaus State University will allow face-to-face classes to meet from March 16 through 18. 

The rest of March the university will cancel all face-to-face classes in favor of online courses. All faculty are being encouraged to transition to alternative modes of instruction as soon as possible. 

“As this is a swiftly changing environment, the Stanislaus State Infectious Disease Response Team in collaboration with our local and state health agencies, the Academic Senate and the Associated Students, Inc. continue to monitor and assess the local, national and global COVID-19 situation daily to inform additional decisions we may need to make as a campus.” 

PHS suspends sports schedule

Tigers faithful will need to put their enthusiasm on pause as the slate of spring athletic events has been suspended through March, following precautionary measures implemented in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patterson joins a list of 22 schools/districts including Modesto City Schools, Gustine High School, and Merced Union High School District that have suspended schedules in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section as of Friday.

The Merced Union High School District has halted all sporting events until April 19, meaning that Patterson cannot play against their Central California Conference opponents until mid-April, putting a dent in many of the sports league schedules.

MUHSD plans to reevaluate the situation on April 1.

Patterson High teams are still allowed to practice. PHS hopes to make rescheduling arrangements.

More information regarding the fate of the spring sports season will come at Tuesday’s Sac-Joaquin Section meeting to review the situation and the future of the spring sports season for the nearly 200 schools in the section.

Sports events across the state have felt the impact of the coronavirus.

The California Interscholastic Federation State Basketball Championship games, including regional finals and the state finals that were scheduled to be held this weekend at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, have been canceled.

“This decision was made after careful deliberation and in the primary interest of protecting the health and safety of our member schools, fans, and most importantly, our student-athletes. While we understand this decision is disappointing, we strongly believe that the opportunity to compete in this event does not outweigh our obligation to place the health and safety of our member schools and school communities above all else,” a statement released on the California Interscholastic Federation website said.

City Council, StanCOG and School Board meetings

As of Friday evening both the Patterson City Council and StanCOG meeting agendas have been amended in accordance with the executive order issued by Governor Newsom on March 12. 

The Patterson City Council meeting to be held Tuesday evening is still scheduled, but the meeting will not physically be open to the public. All members of the public may still participate in the meeting via teleconference by calling 717-275-8941 using the passcode 3550290. Callers will be given the opportunity to provide public comment. 

The meeting will be televised for public viewing on Comcast cable channel 7. 

The policy board meeting for the StanCOG Board Room is still scheduled for Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., but policy board members may be attending the meeting by conference call instead. Members of the public can still participate in the meeting at the 1111 I Street, Suite 308 location in Modesto. 

No announcement had been made regarding Monday night’s School Board meeting by press time.

Notice from Patterson Police Services

Patterson Police Services have advised that if the public does not need to come to the office to please avoid doing so. 

If the issue can be taken care of over the phone or online, Patterson Police Chief Marc Nuno has requested that citizens use those resources. If any resident has any questions, please call the station at 892-5071, option 4, and the staff will accommodate any needs that may arise. 

“We will continue business as usual; we just want to safeguard everyone,” Nuno said via email on Friday.

Local church services

As of Friday many church groups in Patterson have described the situation as fluid in regards to changing or altering their service schedules. Most are planning to continue their services as normal, but some churches are opting to switch to online formats in reaction to the pandemic.

Discover Life Seventh-Day Adventist Community Church have canceled some of their programs until April, and are looking at the possibility of live streaming services in the future. Services for this weekend are still planned as normal.

Family Christian Center Pastor Senior Pastor Ken Moren shared the church’s plans to comply with state and CDC recommendations. 

New Life Christian Center has plans to hold their services online through March 22. 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church currently has plans to continue services but the status of those services may be pending. A statement from Bishop Myron Cotta with more information is expected to be released to address the issue in the near future. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has announced a 30-day suspension of all church gatherings. 

Martini Mayhem rescheduled 

The Soroptimist International of Patterson have announced they will reschedule Martini Mayhem to Sept. 12, 2020. Those who have purchased tickets can contact the person they purchased it from to get their money back, if they wish, but the tickets will be honored on Sept. 12 for those still wishing to attend. Those with any questions can call 209-892-6651 for further information. 

The Irrigator will post further updates as they are available.

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