Staying afloat
San Mateo County Harbor District officials say their revenues are holding up pretty well through the pandemic. Review file photo

UPDATED: A member of the Pillar Point Harbor Patrol staff tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and that led to curtailing critical services around the harbor. However, late in the day on Thursday, harbor officials said they would resume regular hours on Friday.

A notice was sent out to all tenants at the harbor on Wednesday alerting them to the positive test and providing resources including how to get tested, according to San Mateo County Harbor District General Manager Jim Pruett.

The Harbor Patrol is typically staffed with two to three people working 12-hour shifts. After the positive test, others are being tested. That has caused the district to modify staff hours at Pillar Point Harbor.

The Harbor Patrol was staffed from just 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and it appeared the change was indefinite. A private security company was hired to patrol the harbor when staff is not present.

“This should not have a large impact to the people who live here because we’re still going to be able to provide the basic services for safety and sanitation,” he said. “Our hope is as tests come back negative we will be able to have our harbor patrol come back.”

An email from Harbor District Communications Analyst Lizzie Zuroski on Friday seemed to indicate the tests were negative. It said that effective Friday, May 8, both Pillar Point and Oyster Point harbors would be staffed 24 hours as usual.

Since the stay-at-home orders were issued in March, Harbor Patrol staff have been wearing masks and sticking to proper social distancing requirements. After learning the news that a worker tested positive, Pruett said the district began conducting contract tracing in an effort to identify who else is at risk of having been infected.

“Anyone he knows that he came in contact with will be notified,” Pruett said.

Before Thursday's announcement, the district was known to have received at least four negative test results from other Harbor Patrol tests and no other positive cases. Pruett said he was still in the process of coordinating with a local hotel to offer staff members a place to self-isolate pending test results. He has not been able to secure a site as of yet.

It’s been more than a month since Pillar Point Harbor closed its parking lots and visitor access to the docks to comply with the county’s public health orders. Those remain closed. However, Pruett said with the warm weather on the weekends, there continues to be an influx of people coming to the harbor to picnic or recreate.

Also this week the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening of recreational salmon season. This may mean more people are out in the water on boats or kayaks.

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