I got my hair cut this morning and then Penny and I drove up the coast to San Simeon and I took some pictures. I had a squirrel come right up to me and I took his picture, however I think he was disappointed because I did not feed him.

San Luis Obispo County Health reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the county’s total to 404 confirmed cases. Officials said seven people are hospitalized, including four patients who are in the ICU, another 90people are recovering at home and 306 have recovered. San Luis Obispo County has had one death attributed to COVID-19.

Paso Robles has the most cases with 132 confirmed cases, Atascadero has 60 cases, Nipomo has 45 cases and San Luis Obispo has move up in number of cases to 39, surpassing Arroyo Grande.

The health department reports at least 17,040 coronavirus tests have been conducted so far at both the public health lab and at private labs. Free coronavirus tests are currently available in Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo. A pop-up testing clinic will be open in Oceano on Monday, June 22, and Tuesday, June 23. It will move to Cambria on Wednesday, June 24, and Thursday, June 25. Appointments are required at all locations. For more information on the county’s COVID-19 response, visit readyslo.org.

San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate dropped modestly in May, as small groups of people went back to work amid the pandemic, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

While the number of unemployed continues to fall, the economic outlook remains dire, with unemployment numbers exceeding some past recessions. Meanwhile, the county continues to loosen restrictions on local businesses.

The county’s unemployment rate dropped to 12.7 percent in May, from a revised 14 percent in April. In May 2019, the jobless rate was 2.4 percent.

In San Luis Obispo County in May, 500 people went back to work in the food service portion of the hospitality industry, or an increase of 7.2 percent. At the same time, under the county’s temporary restriction on hotel occupancy rates, 100 people lost jobs at hotels in May, or 4.2 percent.

From May 2019 through May 2020, there was a loss of 9,500 jobs in the hospitality industry in SLO County.

San Luis Obispo County is ranked fifteenth out of 58 California counties for lower numbers of unemployed workers. SLO County’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 13 percent and the state’s 15.9 percent rate.

In California, Lassen County is ranked number one with an unemployment rate of 10 percent and Mono County comes in on the bottom with an unemployment rate of 28.9 percent. Lassen County was one of the first counties in California to reopen amid the pandemic.

Downtown San Luis Obispo is beginning to flourish with people, as businesses, retail stores and bars begin to reopen, but doctors say that does not mean the pandemic is over.

“Coronavirus is not going away,” said Dr. Kathryn Haran, Emergency Room Physician at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. “It’s here and it’s going to continue to be here.”

While there is a surge in cases, there is also an increase in testing, which Haran says is a contributing factor to the spike.

“We’re testing a lot more, not only through the ER, but a lot of outpatient testing. So, we’re going to see increased cases if we’re testing our people,” Dr. Haran said. “I think the biggest thing for us as medical professionals is we have to be ready.”

Haran warns, the pandemic is not over.

“The unfortunate thing is that this is a very fatigue-able thing. People do not want to continue washing their hands and continue to wear masks. It’s something where if you feel like you’re not seeing it in the setting that you’re in, then it’s easy to think, ‘Oh, well, it’s gone, I’m not going to wash my hands anymore. I am not going to wear a mask,’ but it’s still here.”

The California Department of Public Health reported a total of 161,099 cases on Thursday, a more than 4,000 case increase from Wednesday. Locally, San Luis Obispo County reported 13  new cases on Thursday.

Some California residents feel it might be too soon for the economy to bounce back.

“Hair salons and things along those lines…I’m not comfortable eating in a restaurant. I am fine taking out and all that sort of thing. We might be moving a little fast,” said Carlsbad resident Matthew Escobar.

So as the phased reopening continues, Haran stresses the importance of following county guidelines.

“That’s the problem is that we don’t have a solution for this yet. There’s still a lot about the virus that we’re learning and that we don’t know, and it’s a shame that a lot of this has turned political,” Haran said. “Hopefully with the increased numbers, people will start to realize that and continue their social distancing practices.”

The coastline at San Simeon offers a rugged and picturesque coastline of rocks and surf.

© 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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