(Photo by John Palminteri)

The coronavirus crisis has changed the way many schools, businesses, and government agencies on the Central and South Coasts do business. It’s especially true for fire departments, which don’t have the luxury of doing their jobs via zoom or skype.

The number of coronavirus cases on the Central and South Coasts topped the 680 mark Saturday, with 18 additional cases reported in the region.

The total number of diagnosed cases now stands at 683.

Ventura County has 309 cases, up 11 from Friday's count.  Santa Barbara County picked up four cases, going from 260 to 264.  And, San Luis Obispo County went from 107 to 110 diagnosed cases.

Authorities are trying to determine when led to a traffic accident in Ventura County which left three people dead.

Ventura County Sheriff's deputies and firefighters were called to the 200 block of Poindexter Avenue in Moorpark Avenue early Saturday morning by reports of a crash.

As public safety agencies on the Central and South Coasts struggle to get enough masks, one fire department in the region is dealing with the problem by making its own.  Some 20 Ventura County Fire Department firefighters are making masks.

The Central and South Coasts have now topped 600 confirmed coronavirus cases.  Health officials say so far, a feared large spike in numbers in the region hasn’t occurred.

(NPS Photo)

Mountain lions on the Central and South Coast could be getting new protection.  There’s a proposal to list Southern and Central California mountain lions as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.

A health care network with five hospitals on the Central and South Coasts has launched a new COVID-19 community hotline. Dignity Health will have nurses staffing the hotline seven days a week. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekday, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends. After hours, people can leave a message and a nurse will return the call. The hotline is free, and open to everyone.

Cororonavirus is creating concerns large and small for all of us. But, the biggest danger is for seniors. Jackie Selkin of Thousand Oaks says she’s been heeding the warnings, and sheltering at home.  The 73 year old is one of a flood of people who’ve reached out for help from Senior Concerns, a Conejo Valley based non-profit dedicated to serving seniors, and their families.

The Central and South Coasts now have nearly 500 documented coronavirus cases, with two new deaths reported in the region over the weekend. There are now 490 identified cases. Ventura County has 221 cases and six deaths. Santa Barbara County has 174 cases, and its second death. It was a person in their 60’s with pre-existing health conditions. And, San Luis Obispo County has 95 cases, along with its first death. It’s a person in the 80’s with pre-existing health issues.

A strong storm system is headed to the Central and South Coast, one which could bring between one to three inches of rain to much of the region.

We’ll see increased clouds Saturday, but the storm won’t arrive until Sunday.  The Central Coast could start getting light rain early Sunday.  The South Coast will get its heaviest rainfall Sunday night into Monday.

Another South Coast city has announced new restrictions on park usage. Most of the City of Santa Barbara’s parks remain open. But now all picnic sites are closed, and all group activities are banned.

One of the largest community events on the South Coast is among the latest things to be cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis. The Santa Barbara Fair and Expo had been set for April 29th through May 3rd. It’s bad news for the Earl Warren Showgrounds, which has been struggling financially.

(Calwise photo)

The Central and South Coasts are known for their wineries, but they are also developing a reputation as a go-to spot for boutique hard liquor distilleries. Aaron Bergh is the President, and Founder of Calwise Distillery in Paso Robles, which is known for its rum and gin. He says Calwise now has a new product, born out of the coronavirus crisis.  They are making badly needed hand sanitizer.

Efforts to collect personal protective gear for healthcare workers from the public are being expanded in Santa Barbara County. Collection sites include Boys and Girls Clubs in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc, and Santa Maria. Carpinteria City Hall is also a dropoff spot.

Ventura County is looking at making health care more accessible during the coronavirus crisis by waving sliding fees for low income residents visiting county clinics. The clinics give discounts to people with limited income, with the actual billed amount based on the ability to pay. Ventura County Health officials worry that even at a reduced rate, people might be discouraged from getting care during the crisis.