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City planning to offer summer recreation
• County health officer hopeful restrictions will be lifted
downtown restaurant sign
Downtown restaurant owners are trying to keep hopes alive as they post a sign along the frontage road directing traffic to their establishments. The city has said it will allow such signs as long as the lockdown continues. - photo by Jeff Benziger

As a sign that there may be an end in sight for the county lock-down policy, City Manager Tom Westbrook told the Ceres City Council on Monday that the city has been encouraged by the county health officer to start planning to conduct its popular summer day camp and aquatics program.

Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan told the nine cities to plan to resume summer recreation programs with the hopes that by the time summer rolls around the state and local restrictions will be lifted.

Employees such as lifeguards and support staff will be recruited for hiring under the condition that programs may have to be cancelled.

“We certainly believe that the aquatics program is a vitally important thing to be able to teach our children how to swim,” said Westbrook.

He also said he’s hoping the governor releases guidelines this week as to the opening of businesses, especially restaurants “because we sure would like to share that with our business community so that we can get them back to some normalcy.”

Local businesses are doing what they can to stay afloat until life goes back to normal in California.

A total of 59 positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Ceres, City Manager Tom Westbrook told the Ceres City Council on Monday.

Stanislaus County saw a total of 508 cases and listed 367 patients as recovered as of Monday afternoon. An increase in testing efforts has resulted in 7,451 negative cases. A total of 21 county residents have died as a result of COVID-19 with all or a majority of the victims being elderly or persons with underlying health problems.

Hughson has six known cases. Turlock now leads the county in number of cases at 161 because of the outbreak inside the Turlock Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. By contrast, Modesto has seen 125 cases.

To date 99 patients have been hospitalized because of coronavirus in Stanislaus County since the pandemic started. Only one patient is currently in ICU and three in ICU are suspected of being infected, as of Monday.

Of those county residents tested only 6.4 percent were positive.

The county offers a testing facility at the Salida Library through Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 program; and recently launched two new testing sites — one in Keyes and one in Patterson — operated by OptumServe. 

Testing will be by appointment only. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 test. Visit sign up for COVID-19 test. 

Because Ceres resident Gene Yeakley wondered why the city wasn’t pressing for the public to be required to use of masks when out in public, Westbrook said Dr. Vaishampayan is encouraging the wearing of masks out in public but it’s not required. Business establishments may require customers to wear them but it’s their choice.