THIS SILENT CATASTROPHE is moving faster than the reports of its already dire consequences. In the Anderson Valley, people are self-isolating, meaning that citizens are heeding medical advice that social distancing is the best way to beat back the beast. Most businesses around the county, except those selling food (and a few construction operations), are closed.
WE ARE HEARING that some “essential” service offices — private, non-profit, and government — around the County seem to be trying to come up with their own impromptu screening processes for arriving employees with, ahem, mixed results. Temperatures are taken by various catch-as-catch can methods administered haphazardly by untrained people accompanied by quirky attempts to keep track of who’s at work, who’s tested, who’s washed their hands, who hasn’t, who’s home, who’s in charge, etc. Frustration is building. Some workers are saying they’re not going to put up with it for long unless management comes in and puts some standardized, effective procedures in place. But given that this is Mendo, that’s not very likely.
REMINDER: Most of the numbers of “cases” being widely reported, i.e., people confirmed to have the corona virus, are counts of the limited number people who have been tested. So, these numbers that we see regularly, some of which seem low and which at least one AVA contributor seems to think are nearly insignificant as a percentage, are clearly more of a reflection of testing rates than they are of people infected with the virus. And, as we know, the testing itself is unevenly distributed and takes days for results. So there are several layers of lag in the reports of confirmed cases and a corresponding lag in knowing the effectiveness of hygiene and distancing measures. We probably won’t know about the effectiveness of the measures taken to dampen the rate of spread of the disease until the testing more or less catches up with a statistically valid sample size of the population. The measures being taken are certainly helping contain the spread, but health officials probably won’t be considering relaxing any restrictions until the testing data properly reflects the penetration of the virus in any given area as a whole. (Mark Scaramella)
JAN THE MAIL LADY reports that the volume of mail she delivers 6 days a week, is way down. Jan herself is retiring at the end of this month, and more on this major change in the life of West Mendocino County as we round up the details.
MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: Anne at the Boonville Post Office says that package volume, however, is up, much of it arriving at the Post Office via UPS and FedEx from Amazon etc.
BOB MAKI of Starr Automotive Towing and Repair writes: “I would like to thank Gary Island and his crew at the Philo I&E Lath Mill for his generosity in putting out mill trim ends for the public to pick up. As we get older, it gets hard to find and cut wood. The only thing he asks is that you pick up the broken pieces and strings that are left on the ground. This is a great deal for everyone! Thanks, Gary.”
BOB MAKI’S ON THE JOB
Starr Automotive Is Open, my Anderson Valley friends and family. I know you all are hurting, I know everyone is trying to socially distance. My dad has stayed open because you can stand at the door and call first, cars still break down, need regular checkups, and people still crash. If you’re willing to socially distance and you’re mechanically inclined, plus you can pass a drug test, he NEEDS help (it's dangerous) he is working on cars by himself, he refuses to close for his community that he cares about and loves; the community that he donates thousands back into for kids sports, the boy and girl scouts, supporting the trade classes at the high school. He is always doing his part (so much so he has given up MANY family events, because he refuses to leave anyone in the valley without help). He got his care package from us with N95s, and essentials, nobody is allowed in the tow truck, he will get your car safely where it needs to be, he will help you arrange a ride for yourself, as he is at risk, with several co-morbidities. (707) 895-2425. Please do your part to flatten the curve, while still supporting one another.
A POSTCARD CALLED “SLOW THE SPREAD” arrived in the mailboxes of the Anderson Valley called “President Trump’s Coronavirus guidelines for America.” The advice included, “If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contract your medical provider.”
IF THERE ARE 100 million households in the US and the government paid the Postal Service 30¢ a card to deliver them, that’s a quick $30 mil for the struggling USPS. (Mark Scaramella)
HOWL DOWN THE PLAGUE. Lots of Bay Area communities are wolf-howling for a few minutes every night at 8pm. The idea is to howl support for the front line people whose work requires them to risk their lives. And solidarity in the face of this monster that’s swallowing our lives. I howled the last coupla nights out in front of the ava office, central Boonville. A dog howled back from the area of the Boonville Hotel. If anyone else heard me they probably assumed I’d at last gone totally 5150. I’ll howl every night from now until we’ve beaten it. 8pm. Be there.
NEW HOURS AT THE YORKVILLE MARKET. After reviewing the developments of the last week, I have decided to reduce the open hours of the store to 11:00am - 5:00pm. Friday’s we will still be open from 8:00am to 6:00pm in order for there to be enough time to collect your grocery orders. Starting next week we will also be closed on Tuesdays. Hopefully this will be a short term change and we will be able to go back to normal hours soon. Thank you all for your wonderful support during this time. It is great seeing the orders coming in, and I have really appreciated your feedback in getting this new system set up. (Lisa Walsh)
MARSHALL NEWMAN: "Right now the coronavirus dominates our lives. But the winter rainfall total today (last Thursday) in Boonville stands at 15.13 inches and the Navarro River is running at approximately 15% of the median flow for this date. Unless a deluge arrives (highly unlikely), expect serious drought conditions by summer, and high fire danger."
EARLY MORNING frost fans kicked us Boonville people awake about five last Wednesday morning although it didn't seem quite cold enough to warrant the din. At two-twenty pm a brief hail spray racked the tin roof of ava central, and before and after the ice pelting there was sun and rainbows and great cumulus sky sculptures. Beauty in the time of plague, to borrow from Marquez.
IF THEY MADE rednecks like they used to frost fans would have been thirty-aught-sixed to shards when they first clattered on at 3am a decade ago.
A NOTE AND QUOTE FROM a reader: "I got a response from my public health friend regarding nurses not doing anything. She is a RN but this is what taxpayers are paying her for. Her classification is one of the County's highest paid. ‘They're forcing us to go to work every day but we sit in our offices with the doors closed by ourselves they said they we’re going to start checking temperatures and scanning people before work but that has not happened as of this point yet that I've seen or experienced’."
THE PAPER-PAPER edition of the AVA will hold out as long as Healdsburg Printing does, and we send up weekly prayers that the printers stay well. We also remind paper-paper subscribers that they can get the daily on-line edition at no extra cost.
$1200 is not enough to keep wage workers housed and fed, nevermind wage workers with children. And if it's a one-time payout to adrenalize the ponzo-ronzo economy, the bailout is a cruel joke on working people. Got to be five grand at least, and it's got to be monthly.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY MARKET has installed a pair of plexi-glass sheets at the busy store's checkout and deli counters. Store hours have been reduced to 10-5. All the Anderson Valley's food venues are operating on reduced hours, have laid off staff, take out only. Boonville's a virtual ghost town. Lemons Market is one bright spot as they now offer home-delivery.
FROST FANS roared on again last Thursday and Friday mornings about 4:30 although there was no freeze. The fan due east of ava headquarters didn't cease its unholy din until around 9am.
RUBBLE REMOVAL continues at a good pace in downtown Boonville. Much of the shell of the old Pic’N’Pay store is now gone, and the clean-up work is nearly done, the old Pic’N’Pay building a bare slab.