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March 6, 2021

Monterey County’s alternative housing sites remain vacant despite increase in Covid-19 cases

Health officials urge safety as gatherings increase in number

MONTEREY COUNTY — Alternative housing sites for Monterey County, including one at San Lorenzo Park in King City, have not had anyone infected with Covid-19 sent to them, officials announced last week.

“We don’t have anybody at the housing sites or care site because there’s no need, because at this time we’ve flattened the curve,” said Charles McKee, administrative officer for Monterey County, in a press briefing June 3. “Neither one has been needed at this point, which is a great testament to the compliance that we’ve had locally.”

The county had originally set up alternative housing sites at San Lorenzo and the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey. An alternative care site was in the works at the Marina Airport, but it has also seen no need. King City’s site has 10 trailers that can each house six people, and was set up in late April.

“With the alternate housing site, we knew we needed to set up quickly and have them available, and they’re in a pattern right now where we can ramp them up if need be,” McKee said. “But they’re not open right now.”

Flattening the curve being called a success in the county has led to looking into easing shelter restrictions, but that characterization was also before the June 7 announcement of a 65-patient spike in Covid-19 infected countywide, which included 30 new cases in King City and nine in Greenfield.

A total of 791 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus in Monterey County, according to the Monterey County Health Department’s latest report Wednesday. The data also showed that 488 of those residents have recovered from the respiratory disease.

Deaths related to Covid-19 increased by one this week, bringing the countywide total to now 11.

“We’re looking at ways to open up our economy and businesses in a safe and prudent manner,” McKee said. “That all can only continue if our public feels safe frequenting businesses and frequenting government offices and going about their lives. That safety and feeling of security is only going to occur if we can keep numbers low and we can have really good compliance and self and community responsibility.”

Questions about whether large gatherings, such as the numerous protests, will cause a spike remain unanswered, as the virus can take two weeks to incubate in a patient. The most recent gatherings that are popping up in case tracking do lead back to gatherings.

“We have seen new cases of Covid-19 that were linked back to family gatherings for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and other family celebrations,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County’s health officer. “It’s very important to remember that social gatherings, even with your family, pose a risk for exposure to the virus.”

Moreno pointed out a three- to four-week doubling time for the virus in Monterey County as a positive sign, but for community members to be mindful of safety guidelines.

“We need to continue to be mindful of the virus out there, be respectful of each other,” Moreno said. “Make the commitment to protect each other by covering our face when we need to leave our house and be respectful of each other when we try to maintain a 6-foot distance between one another.”

Moreno explained a majority of people don’t have immunity to the virus, and predicted many won’t until a vaccine is created and distributed.

“Unless you’ve been infected with it, you’re unlikely to have immunity to it, and children are also vulnerable as well,” he said.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.

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