Monday, March 23, 2020

Water Policies Amid COVID-19 Differ Across Humboldt County

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 3:59 PM

  • Stock image by Nicole-Koehler via Wikimedia Commons
Water suppliers across the region — from local cities to community service districts — are suspending shutoffs for nonpayment in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting widespread business closures.

Local cities that provide the service, including Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna, Rio Dell and Trinidad, all have postponed the practice, as have the  McKinleyville Community Services District, Garberville Sanitation District, the Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District No. 1 and Del Oro Water Company, which serves Ferndale and Benbow residents, also confirmed there will be no disruption of service for their customers.  

Blue Lake City Manager Amanda Mager wrote in an email to the Journal that the city is “very proactive at working with customers to ensure” a shutoff doesn’t happen and the council is monitoring the fluid situation daily and “will take the necessary legislative actions required to ensure the physical and economic well-being of our community.”

All of the cities and agencies are encouraging customers who can to stay current with their bills but the moratorium terms and timelines differ from one place to another.
For example, the city of Eureka is suspending all shutoffs until further notice, waiving late fees and allowing those behind in their bills to arrange for a payment plan “up to one year from the close of the Emergency Operations period," according to a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, MCSD is going to review its shutoff policy on April 10, according General Manager Gregory P. Orsini, and Rio Dell City Manager Kyle Knop said late bills will “still accrue and eventually must be paid.”

Basics of COVID-19 
The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Emergency warning signs needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken and bluish lips or face. In an emergency situation: Call ahead to the emergency room or inform the 911 operator of the possibility of a COVID-19 infection and, if possible, put on a face mask.

St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals have opened tents on their campuses to begin screening patients who have “significant” symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The general hours of operation for the tents is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but that is subject to change.

Symptoms or possible exposure: In the case of a possible exposure with symptoms — fever and cough or shortness of breath — contact your doctor’s office or the county Department of Health and Human Services, which has a hotline that can be reached during business hours at [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has started a rumor control webpage that can be found here.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.
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Kimberly Wear

Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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