News Briefs 1-13-2022

Written by Estero Bay News

January 17, 2022

 Winter Bird Fest Canceled

The Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS) voted to cancel in-person events at the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival (MBWBF), which has been in the works for the past two year. 

“As the conditions of the pandemic changed in San Luis Obispo County, the MBWBF board struggled over the last couple days with strategies to continue the festival while keeping its participants and the Morro Bay community safe,” said the board in a news release. “This has been our overriding goal in addition to providing an amazing birding adventure in a lovely Central Coast location. This decision is incredibly difficult if not heartbreaking to say the least.

“As a responsible mitigation, the San Luis Obispo Public Health Department encouraged the MBWBF Board to postpone until a later date. This is not as easily done with a birding festival of this size. With that in mind, we are pivoting to a completely virtual Festival event via zoom this coming week of which the details will come later.”

All registration fees will be refunded. With more than 600 registrants and over $100,000 in receipts, it will take some time to process. Organizers will send folks an email confirmation once your refund has been processed. Questions and concerns, should be sent to

The board of MBWBF intends to return to bird-watching festivals in the coming years once the COVID-19 crisis abates. 

Coronavirus Cases Surge, New Guidelines

SLO County reported a somewhat eerie reminder that some of the bad aspects of 2021 many folks hoped to have said goodbye to are still among us.  

A staggering 2,021 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over the week of Dec. 21 to 28, said the Public Health Department in a news release. Hospitalizations increased as well, with 38 SLO County residents currently hospitalized (as of the latest weekly report ending Jan. 7) from severe COVID-19 complications, including seven in the ICU. 

With these additional cases, SLO County’s 14-day daily average increased to 228, up from 72 in mid December, and is the highest it has been since January 2021. 

Because cases have surged beyond the capacity of local contact tracers to keep up, Public Health will no longer provide personalized isolation and quarantine orders to each individual who tests positive or has been exposed. Instead, a new Health Officer Order to Isolate or Quarantine applies. Those who test positive will receive a text message or email notification, together with detailed instructions to isolate and direction to inform their close contacts. However, even these notifications may be delayed as cases increase at an unprecedented pace in SLO County.

“The bottom line is, stay home if you are sick or if you test positive for COVID-19 with a lab test or a home test,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “If you’re a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and aren’t up-to-date with your vaccination, you need to quarantine. In either case, act immediately and do not wait to hear from a contact tracer or expect to receive a personal letter.” 

Detailed isolation and quarantine guidance, along with a copy of the new Health Officer Order, is available online at This guidance reflects recent changes from the CDC and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding the duration and specifics of existing isolation and quarantine. 

For people without symptoms who test negative after five days, this may result in a shorter isolation or quarantine period followed by strict masking. 

“If you meet the criteria to exit your isolation or quarantine after five days, please remember you must be extremely diligent in masking until after day ten,” said Dr. Borenstein. “That means avoiding places where you might take off your mask, like restaurants, bars and movie theaters, and places where you might breathe heavily around others, like the gym.”

Employers and school administrators should accept these notifications and self-attestation documents as valid documentation of the need to isolate or quarantine, and of release from isolation and quarantine, as Public Health is no longer able to provide personal letters for this purpose.

Masking is required in indoor public places in San Luis Obispo County and across California. Medicalgrade N95/KN95 or surgical masks provide additional protection. Vaccines—both boosters and primary series—are available at no cost at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, Public Health Department clinics, and mobile clinics countywide. To schedule an appointment, visit or, or call (833) 422-4255.

Traffic Signal Repair in Cambria

Folks living or planning to play in Cambria, might have to linger a little longer due to traffic delays.

The traffic signal located at Main Street and Pineknolls Drive will be worked on by County Public Works through January 15, during the hours of 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

The work includes replacing signal heads and re-wiring the signal to ensure safe and reliable operation of the traffic signal and reduce future costs for unplanned maintenance.  

The project is funded by San Luis Obispo County Road Maintenance funds, and County staff will complete the job. 

Aviation Scholarship Deadline Jan. 15

The Estrella Warbirds Museum deadline for Central Coast high school seniors to get an application for the annual Aviation Youth Program Scholarship is Jan. 15. 

The $1,200.00 scholarship is awarded to one senior student for aviation related education such as private pilot flight instruction, aircraft and power plant maintenance, avionics installation and maintenance, aviation management, flight attendant training, or other aviation related programs.  The application can be requested by emailing or texting 510 407-3727. The application must be submitted by February 15. 

Applicants must be high school seniors and must verify their identity with a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.  They must submit their application form with a 200-word essay on eligibility and aviation career goals, a letter of recommendation with an email address from a non-relative, and a list of aviation and non-aviation accomplishments.

The Estrella Warbirds Museum is a non-profit located at 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles.

New Library Hours

The San Luis Obsipo County Library system has new hours. Check out North Coast times before you plan to check out a book. 

Cambria Library

Tue. and Wed. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m,
Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cayucos Library

Tue., Wed., and Thu. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m,, 
Fri 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.

Los Osos Library

Tue. and Wed. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., 
Thu. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m, Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Morro Bay Library

Tue. and Wed. 10 a.m.– 6 p.m., 
Thu. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

San Luis Obispo Library

Tue. and Wed. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., 
Thu. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m,,  Fri. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m,
Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m

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