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Mendocino County Health Officer Urges County Residents to Adhere to Shelter-In-Place Order

Post Date:03/23/2020 5:03 PM

On March 17, 2020, the Mendocino County Public Health Officer announced a Public Health Order that states residents shall stay home except when participating in essential activity, beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, effective through 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020.  The County Health Officer will be issuing a revised Health Order, tomorrow, March 24, 2020, to align more closely with the Governor’s Executive Order and Statewide Health Order issued on March 19, 2020, requiring all Californians to shelter in their place of residence, except as necessary to maintain or access critical systems and services. We urge all residents to closely follow the requirements in both the County and State Orders.

The State and Local Health Order requires Sheltering-In-Place.  The term “Shelter-In-Place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the designated exceptions listed in the Order. Everyone shall stay home to slow the spread of the virus. You must limit your essential outings as much as possible. You may leave your home to get food, to fill a prescription, to see a doctor, to go to work if your work is essential as defined in the Order, to take your child(ren) to and from childcare that is authorized under the order, and to help people you care for get the things they need to live, be healthy and stay safe.

The County’s Public Health Order requires people to stay home except for essential needs:

  • Everyone should stay home except to go to the grocery store, pharmacy and gas station.
  • Caring for a relative or friend.
  • Getting necessary health care.
  • Going to an essential job. 

Things you can do:

  • It is OK to go outside for walks if you are not in a group.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart when leaving your home for essential activities.
  • The Mendocino County Order is in effect through April 7, 2020. It may be extended depending on recommendations from public health officials.
  • The Governor’s Order is in place until further notice.

It is important to note vulnerable populations must stay home (older adults, individuals with serious chronic medical conditions, individuals with compromised immune systems).

Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan stated, “This pandemic is hitting our nation with brutal force in places we never imagined it would. Today three of our healthcare systems – among the best in the world – are teetering on collapse – in Seattle, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. The only chance we have of protecting our beloved Mendocino County is by Sheltering in Place (SIP) and obeying social distancing rules. Without a vaccine or treatment for this deadly virus, SIP is our only defense. We must be prepared to continue social distancing for weeks and months. It is my duty to protect our public’s health, and the health of our rural healthcare system – the new and stricter SIP orders I release tomorrow are meant to ensure that we use the best weapon we have against COVID-19. Stay home and keep the Virus from spreading throughout our county like wildfire.

Why are we doing this?

This is a critical intervention to reduce harm from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. This is a mandatory order. Now is the time to do everything we can to prevent the situation from getting much worse in the upcoming days or weeks. Every hour counts. We need and appreciate the cooperation of everyone who lives and works in Mendocino County to act immediately. Please be patient and kind to one another.  If we all as individuals do our part, we can help protect our community’s health. 

County Deputy Health Officer Dr. James Flaherty stated, “We still have a chance to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Mendocino County.  The virus is running rampant in New York City because of the rise in community spread. The City’s healthcare system is at critical capacity on the verge of collapse.  New York City’s population density and close quarters combined with a lack of social distancing has had the result that is just like what is going on in Italy and other parts of Europe. The Bay Area is not far behind New York City.  Here in Mendocino County, we are in a better position, because we get to peer into what our future will look like if we do not prepare now – we can look like a smaller version of New York if we do not act right this minute. With our wide open spaces combined with a community absolutely focused on frequent hand-washing and cleaning, Sheltering-In-Place, and social distancing, we can stop community spread in Mendocino County.”

Violations of this Order are considered a threat to our county’s health, and adherence is enforceable by law. A coordinated response of all law enforcement agencies in Mendocino County has been implemented. The Health Officer will continue to evaluate this rapidly evolving situation, and may modify this Order if needed.

Official information on the coronavirus and shelter-in-place frequently asked questions can be found at


For more on COVID-19:

Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email

The call center is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


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