Z107.7 News has confirmed that there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. In a Facebook live update and post Wednesday, Commanding General Roger Turner said one patient is a child from the Stepping Stones Child Development Center. The child has mild respiratory symptoms and does not require hospitalization. Upon showing symptoms, the child was screened and tested. As directed by health officials, the child care worker with the child has been notified and is now in quarantine and will receive follow-on medical assessment. Individuals who have been in contact with the child have been notified and will be put into quarantine as well. The second patient is a Marine who is being isolated and going through a similar process with his unit. Turner stressed that the base would continue to observe its protocols to prevent the spread through enforcement of social distancing and the wearing of masks aboard the sprawling installation.
The County Public Health Department reversed itself Wednesday on the issue of wearing face masks while driving and about drive-up church. Wednesday morning, the county said all residents must wear a face mask while in their vehicle. Wednesday afternoon, it reversed itself, saying that drivers traveling alone or with members of their family do not need to wear a face mask in their vehicle unless they lower the vehicle’s window to interact with first responders, food service workers, or other people who are not members of their households. Masks may be homemade cloth masks, bandanas or handkerchiefs, or gaiters.
In another reversal, the county’s order says that if a religious organization has already planned drive-in services for this weekend, it may continue with the drive-in religious service. However, every effort must be made to prevent contact between congregants. Managing editor Tami Roleff follows up on how these new orders will be enforced…
While violating these Public Health Department orders are finable offenses, the county does not expect law enforcement to broadly impose citations on violators. Residents are expected to use good judgment, common sense, and act in the best interests of their own health and that of the community at large. The imposition of penalties on members of the public who willfully and grossly disregard public health orders by putting others at risk of exposure to this infectious disease is meant as a tool for law enforcement to use as a deterrent.
Data from the County shows that as of Wednesday evening (April 8), there were 639 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, up from 547 reported Tuesday. Twenty people have now died from the disease, an increase of three since the day before. In the Morongo Basin we have nine confirmed cases, two aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine Base, one in Joshua Tree, three in Yucca Valley and three in Morongo Valley. Yucaipa, which experienced an outbreak at a local skilled nursing facility, reached 100 cases. The city continues to have the most cases, followed by Fontana with 81, San Bernardino with 48 and Rancho Cucamonga with 46.
Of the 6,677 people tested for COVID-19 in the county, 9.6 percent had positive results, the county’s data show. Of those who tested positive, 51.6 percent are male, 48 percent are female and .3 percent were unknown.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that $100 million in funding from Senate Bill 117 will be distributed to local educational agencies throughout California to help schools affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has the details…
According to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the $100 million in funding “will allow district administrators to ensure that sites are properly cleaned and sanitized, keep school staff safe, provide nutritious meals, and focus on implementing a distance learning infrastructure that is equitable and accessible to all students.”
To receive the funds, local educational agencies must have been operational as of March 4. Details on eligibility for the funds, quantity of funds, and how funds will be distributed are available at the California Department of Education COVID-19 Response Funds web page:
A Twentynine Palms Marine was arrested Tuesday, accused of raping an unconscious woman. According to a Sheriff’s report, on June 9, 2019, a group of Marines and civilians had gathered at a home in the 69200 block of Cactus Drive in Twentynine Palms, where they drank alcohol and spent the night. In the early morning hours, a witness saw Juan Cruz-Cornejo, 23, a lance corporal in the Marine Corps, engaged in a sex act with the woman. Cruz-Cornejo fled the scene before deputies arrived and they were unable to locate him. On Tuesday, Detective Benjamin Henry was notified that Cruz-Cornejo had turned himself in at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in Oceanside. Juan Cruz-Cornejo was arrested for investigation of rape of an unconscious person, booked into the Central Detention Center, with his bail set at $200,000.