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Mendocino County grapples with coronavirus surge, marking third of all infections in past week

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Mendocino County health authorities are warning of a pronounced surge in coronavirus cases, including documented outbreaks at a health care facility, a dentist’s office, a grocery store and a vineyard.

With nearly a third of the county’s COVID-19 cases coming in the past week, including its first outbreak at a skilled nursing facility, health officials are pointing to evidence of “uncontrolled community spread,” and they’re pleading with residents to take precautions.

“The COVID-19 surge has now hit Mendocino County, and will likely worsen until Labor Day, given state modeling data,” Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan said in a news release. “We urge you, follow the Health Officer orders, and remember to wear your mask.”

The county’s caseload has shot to 194, including 62 in the past week, and county officials are grappling with the unequal impacts of the virus, which has disproportionately infected the county’s Latino population, part of a nationwide trend also seen in Sonoma County.

More than half of Mendocino County’s cases comprise Latino residents, who make up a quarter of the county’s population, a disparity that has spurred another local reckoning with the pandemic’s blow to people of color. In Sonoma County, Latinos account for slightly more than two-thirds of all cases while representing 27% of the countywide population.

Mendocino County’s Board of Supervisors will host an online workshop at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday with the county’s LatinX Alliance, with plans to stream the discussion on the county YouTube channel and Facebook page.

“The Board of Supervisors looks forward to this presentation and discussion about health disparities, challenges and ways to make our community safer and healthier,” said Supervisor John Haschak, the board chair, in the release.

In Sonoma County, COVID-19 clusters among families and groups of Latino workers living together, as well as spread among vineyard workers, were cited as key reasons for the disease’s heavier footprint in the community.

Mendocino County on Saturday disclosed cases linked to several businesses, including Ardzrooni Vineyard Management in Anderson Valley, where four employees have tested positive and remain isolated in quarantine.

The county also documented cases at three other businesses. The Sherwood Oaks Health Center, a skilled nursing facility in Fort Bragg, has had seven residents test positive, including four in the past week. It has five infected employees, and the facility has also produced one of the county’s two coronavirus deaths, according to county data.

The county has also identified cases at Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op, where two employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Co-Op Manager Lori Rosenberg said in the county’s release that the business would shut down during the health department’s investigation.

“Our concern at this time is for the health of staff, shoppers and the community,” Rosenberg said in the release.

The Fort Bragg Center for Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry, where one employee tested positive for COVID-19, was also included in the county news release.

You can reach Staff Writer Tyler Silvy at 707-526-8667 or tyler.silvy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @tylersilvy.

Track coronavirus cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world here.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

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