Third West Nile case in Newman

A third Newman resident has contracted West Nile Virus, the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District announced last Thursday.

Two human cases in Newman were reported by the district in mid-September.

Each of the three people infected required hospitalization, said David Heft, general manager of the abatement district.

Heft said that while surveillance testing has shown a significant decrease in the level of virus there are still significant mosquito populations in the Newman area. Heft stressed that residents should continue to avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes which carry West Nile Virus tend to be most active.

Those who must be outside at those times should wear protective clothing and use repellent, Heft emphasized. Residents should take precautions against exposure to mosquitoes through October, he stated.

Heft said the district is continuing its control efforts with ground-based and aerial spraying in the Newman area. An aerial spraying operation was conducted Sunday evening.

Local COVID case counts

Eight additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in Newman during the past week, while the Gustine community added two new cases.

As of Monday, the case count in Newman stood at 348 - up from 340 a week earlier.

The Merced County public health dashboard was not updated on Monday, but as of Friday the Gustine community showed 239 cases, up from 237 at the start of last week. The Gustine community count includes those who list a Gustine address, not just those in the city limits.

The statistics reflect the number of cases since the start of the pandemic, not currently active cases.

Gustine Christmas plans

The Gustine City Council gave its approval last week to a downtown street closure for the community’s “Old-Fashioned Christmas at Home.”

The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event will be held Saturday, Nov. 28 - but activities will be limited due to the pandemic.

City Manager Doug Dunford said that there will be no fire truck rides, lighted parade or tree-lighting as part of this year’s festivities - although the chamber is reportedly looking into the possibility of a virtual tree-lighting and parade.

A staff report indicated that the closure of two blocks of Fifth Street for the event was requested in order to allow vendors and patrons to more effectively social distance, and to create space which downtown restaurants can utilize to offer outdoor dining.

Up to four food/vendor trucks will also be allowed to participate, but none can offer products which directly compete with downtown restaurants.

Newman fire report

Personnel from the Newman Fire Department and West Stanislaus Fire Protection District Newman station responded to 18 calls from Oct. 2-8.

Calls for service includes 13 medical aid responses, three vegetation fires, one motor vehicle collision and two fire alarms.

ADA project approved

The Gustine City Council last week gave its approval for a $33,000 project to improve wheelchair accessibility to the Schmidt Park tennis courts.

The project will also provide ADA access from the Goman Center parking lot to the new Schmidt Park playground planned for an area near the tennis courts.

The city is seeking grant funds from the United States Tennis Association to help offset tennis court renovation. According to a staff report, the USTA indicated that a grant award - if any - may be reduced by an undetermined amount in the event that accessibility improvements were not completed.

The city will apply for a grant of up to $25,000 from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to help offset the cost of the accessibility project.

West Side weather

Newman resident Marge Carvalho, an observer for the National Weather Service, reported the following high/low temperatures for the past week. Readings for the previous 24-hour period are recorded at 5 p.m. daily.

Monday, Oct. 5: 100/57

Tuesday, Oct. 6: 101/57

Wednesday, Oct. 7: 92/58

Thursday, Oct. 8: 84/57

Friday, Oct. 9: 84/52

Saturday, Oct. 10: 83/55

Sunday, Oct. 11: 84/54