5/13/20

Today I took Penny for her run and worked on the blog. I am looking forward to church Bible study tonight online. I will have to do my grocery shopping tomorrow instead of Friday because I have a full day of photography scheduled for Friday.

San Luis Obispo County reported five new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 232. Health officials report that 2,242 coronavirus tests have been conducted at the public health lab, and another 3,210 tests have been conducted at private labs. Two free coronavirus testing clinics are now open in San Luis Obispo County — in Grover Beach and Paso Robles. Appointments are required. To make an appointment, call 1-888-634-1123. County health officials report that Four people remain hospitalized with two patients in the ICU. Another 44 people are recovering at home and 183 people have recovered. San Luis Obispo County has had one death attributed to COVID-19.

California State University system Chancellor Timothy White released a statement saying that limited exceptions will be allowed for in-person teaching, learning and research activities that cannot be conducted virtually and are indispensable to a university’s core mission. Those activities must occur in line with safety and welfare protocols, including those set by local governments. There are many reasons for the virtual planning approach, White said. “First and foremost is the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff, and the evolving data surrounding the progression of Covid-19 — current and as forecast throughout the 2020-21 academic year,” he said. “This planning approach is necessary because a course that might begin in a face-to-face modality would likely have to be switched to a virtual format during the term if a second wave of the pandemic occurs, as forecast. Virtual planning is necessary because it might not be possible for some students, faculty, and staff to safely travel to campus. Said another way, this virtual planning approach preservers as many options for as many students as possible.”  Cal Poly is working on three different scenarios for the fall quarter that could allow for the possibility of students returning to campus for some in-person classes. This comes after CSU Chancellor White announced Tuesday that the 23-campus system will continue to hold most instruction online in the fall, with the exception of courses that must be held in person, such as clinical nurse training and science lab research. Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong sent a message to students and staff on today, outlining the university’s planning process for the fall quarter. “I sincerely wish that I could give you a more definitive plan for the fall, but the truth is no one can predict the conditions we will face four months from today,” Armstrong said. “The best we can do is hope and plan for the best, while also preparing for contingencies should circumstances change.” Those contingencies include options for in-person learning opportunities, if allowed. In what Armstrong is calling “Scenario A,” approximately 15% of the university’s classes would be offered in-person. Those would include courses in majors such as engineering, music, agriculture, theater, architecture, chemistry, and others. In “Scenario B,” classes would be all virtual. In “Scenario C,” the start of fall quarter would be delayed by a few weeks if that were to allow the university to be able to offer some in-person courses. Cal Poly’s plans depend on which stage of the state’s reopening plan San Luis Obispo County is in when it’s time for fall quarter to begin. President Armstrong says Stage 3 of the state’s plan would allow for the return of students to campus. SLO County is currently in the early phase of Stage 2. Currently, fall quarter is scheduled to start on September 17, with class registration opening on June 14. Armstrong says the university will have “definitive information” on fall quarter by August 26. Some critics of shelter-in-place orders have responded by saying they expect a significant impact to the local economy as a result of the move by the CSU system, and thus most Cal Poly students likely not returning to San Luis Obispo in the fall.

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The Church in Canada. The church was having a drive- in-service which was prohibited by the government, as no more than 5 people are allowed to “gather.” The police showed up and filmed the services and threatened arrest and fines, but they appeared to have backed down. They said that while they have reasonable and probable grounds to lay charges for violating the emergency order, they are choosing to “educate instead” after consulting with the local crown attorney, saying “this is a measured and least intrusive approach in dealing with this community issue.” Their hope was that if they do not charge the church for the violations, they hoped the avoidance of fines and jail for those services would incentivize them not to gather for future services. If charged under the province’s emergency orders, there are fines of $750 to $100,000 and up to a year in jail. It did not work. They met again for their fifth straight Sunday, as police and journalists looked on. The police have given the information on the drive-in services to the Crown attorney’s office and it is up to them if charges will be laid. The service continues to garner citizen complaints, but Pastor Henry Hildebrandt says he had no intention on stopping.

The Church in Illinois. Six Romanian Churches in IL, whose pastors and many congregants lived under communist regimes and fled, announced their intent to openly defy Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders by issuing a declaration that were are opening their churches for in-person services on May 10, no matter the consequences. In Illinois, it is against the order to have a church service of more than 10 people, and so this was a direct violation of that decree.
The Churches had services as promised. This after they also filed a federal lawsuit against Pritzker for his unconstitutional executive orders against churches. The Church took extraordinary measures to ensure the church was clean and ready to accept congregants. They sanitized the church using a professional company and provided all manner of PPE, such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer, as well as marking off where to sit. In a statement by Pastor Cristian Ionescu, the senior pastor of Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, he said “Last Sunday, Elim Church has provided a model for other churches but also for the government officials to look at and consider it! They look to the medical professionals and economists for guidance on how to reopen the economy? It is time to consult with us on how to reopen church public services, not sending down absurd decrees that show ignorance and indifference! I for one will not accept to be placed in the same category with stadiums, cinemas, entertainment venues and bars! We’re not providing entertainment; we’re providing vital services! And please, have the decency to put the word “churches” into your recovery schemes, don’t bunch us into the “public gatherings.” If the food store is essential for providing food for the physical body, spiritual food is at least as important; buying building materials and home goods also has a spiritual dimension, for the church is a spiritual construction that needs to be built and maintained! The politicians need to stop pretending they care about our people more than we do!”                                   

The Church in Kentucky. They have been a thorn in the side of Governor Andy Beshear for a few weeks now. They were one of seven churches in the state to remain open for drive-in services. They were the ones where someone dumped nails all across the parking lot before their Easter service, and the police showed up and wrote down license plates and filmed the congregants, with intent to levy fines for disobeying the gov’t orders. Along with recording all their plates, they gave the vehicle occupants formal notices ordering them to a mandatory 14-day quarantine after they left the service, due to violating the state’s emergency order not to mass gather. Violating the state of emergency act in Kentucky is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Despite the pressure, the Church never stopped meeting week after week. Just a few days ago, Liberty Council won an injunction from a Kentucky federal District Court granting its request for in-person church services on behalf of Maryville Baptist Church and its pastor, Dr. Jack Roberts. This effectively blocks the governor from further enforcement of his tyrannical, unconstitutional, and unfairly encroachment upon this church. According to Liberty Counsel, the Court said: “The Governor has offered no good reason for refusing to trust the congregants who promise to use care in worship in just the same way it trusts accountants, lawyers, and laundromat workers to do the same. Come to think of it, aren’t the two groups of people often the same people – going to work on one day and going to church on another? How can the same person be trusted to comply with social distancing and other health guidelines in secular settings but not be trusted to do the same in religious settings? The distinction defies explanation, or at least the Governor has not provided one. Governor Beshear cannot assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work or go about the rest of their daily lives in permitted social settings. How are in-person meetings with social distancing any different from in-person church services with social distancing? Permitting one but not the other hardly counts as no-more-than-necessary lawmaking. Assuming all of the same precautions are taken, why is it safe to wait in a car for a liquor store to open but dangerous to wait in a car to hear morning prayers? Why can someone safely walk down a grocery store aisle but not a pew? And why can someone safely interact with a brave deliverywoman but not with a stoic minister? The Commonwealth has no good answers. While the law may take periodic naps during a pandemic, we will not let it sleep through one.” The church, as a result, has been meeting in-in person inside the church, and video of the service shows that the church is choosing not to abide by social distancing measures.

If you go to Wendy’s this week, there’s a good chance you will not be able to get a hamburger. Go to the supermarket and you will probably see some empty shelves in the meat section. You may also be restricted to buying one or two packs of whatever is available. Try not to look at the prices. They are almost definitely higher than what you’re used to. This is the new reality: an America where beef, chicken, and pork are not quite as abundant or affordable as they were even a month ago. The coronavirus has hit the meatpacking industry hard, as some of the worst virus outbreaks in the United States have occurred in the tight, chilly confines of meat processing plants. Standing elbow-to-elbow, workers there — many of them immigrants, in already dangerous roles and making minimum wage — are facing some of the highest infection rates in the nation Sick workers mean meatpacking plants are shutting down, and these closures are contributing to a deeply disruptive breakdown in the meat supply chain. The vast majority of meat processing takes place in a small number of plants controlled by a handful of large corporations, namely Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, JBS USA Holdings Inc., and Cargill Inc. More than a dozen of these companies’ beef, chicken, and pork plants closed in April, and despite an order by President Trump to reopen the plants, managers fear that doing so will put lives at risk, so facilities continue to close. There have been nearly 5,000 cases of workers with Covid-19 at some 115 meat processing facilities nationwide. At least 20 meatpacking workers have died.

Now that spring has come and temperatures are rising, wildflowers are blooming everywhere.

A close up of a flower

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©Copywrite MPFitch

Published by mpfitch

I am a retired disabled veteran and am actively involved with a Baptist Church on the Central Coast of CA. I am a photographer who likes to shoot portraits and scenic photographs.

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