With the World Health Organization recently declaring the novel coronavirus a global pandemic and the state and federal governments working to stem the spread of the illness, local government agencies are in the process of installing their own measures to help keep San Ramon Valley residents safe and healthy.
In the San Ramon Valley, both the town of Danville and city of San Ramon have recently issued statements to residents to alert them of actions being taken by their community leaders, and have provided guidelines for residents that largely defer to the recommendations being made by county and state officials.
As of Saturday morning, 29 people in Contra Costa County have tested positive for COVID-19 according to Contra Costa Health Services, and while county officials expect the number of cases to continue to grow, local agencies are working diligently to reduce that figure.
“I believe we will now be increasing our attention on community acquired cases,” Dan Peddycord, Contra Costa Health Services’ director of public health, said during a press conference on Wednesday. “Given the level of coronavirus in our community Contra Costa is shifting from the strategy of containment to mitigation. That means that we are acknowledging that our efforts to isolate people who are sick and quarantining people who may have been exposed may no longer be enough.”
After the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation of a state of emergency on Tuesday, Peddycord said that the county believes COVID-19 is circulating in the community and the name of the game is reducing the impact.
He added that as of Wednesday the county’s public health lab had received a thousand tests kits, and that the lab was well equipped to handle the current capacity of tests. Plus, two commercial labs will soon be online to provide testing for hospitals and clinics, greatly increasing the local and regional capacity to provide testing.
Peddycord also mentioned that the county had been implementing contact investigations to interview patients who have COVID-19 as well as those who they have had close contact with recently, in order to alert residents who should enact a self-quarantine.
On the local level, community leaders have largely deferred to the recommendations being made county health officials, and have taken an effort to keep residents informed on appropriate actions to help keep themselves and their fellow residents healthy.
Taking the county’s recommendation to cancel or postpone public gatherings of 50 or more people, all upcoming Contra Costa County Library System and East Bay Regional Parks events and programs have been canceled.
All Contra Costa County Superior Court courthouses are closed through at least 8 a.m. April 1. The court closure days will have the same effect as being a public holiday, as far as statutory or other timelines are concerned. In-custody arraignments will occur at the Martinez Detention Facility.
In response to COVID-19, some local religious centers -- such as Danville’s Community Presbytyrian Church and Cornerstone Fellowship -- have made the decision to hold church services online through the end of the month, in order to protect members and promote social distancing.
Danville’s Town Manager Joe Calabrigo and San Ramon’s City Manager Joe Gorton, have each sent letters to their respective community members, seeking to keep residents informed, while further reminding them to stay calm and listen to local officials.
Both letters are as follows:
Danville’s letter from Town Manager Joe Calabrigo
“COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), meaning that the WHO believes the outbreak is beyond the containment phase. So now the focus has shifted toward actions that can be taken that are intended to keep people separated in order to slow the spread of the virus. The CDC, the State and the Contra Costa Health Services Department are collectively laying out recommendations and requirements that are broadly aimed at:
* Keeping people apart
* Focusing on highest risk populations
* Emphasizing personal responsibility and hygiene.
We will continue to monitor and assess all available information in order to take the most prudent steps possible to protect the public we serve. According to the information we have, there are 17 confirmed cases in Contra Costa County. Locations of these individuals is not being released due to privacy concerns. However, they are all being actively monitored by public health staff.
Some of the precautions that can be taken by the community to help lessen the spread of COVID-19 are:
* Wash hands with soap & hot water for 20 seconds
* Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm
* Practice ‘social distancing’ stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible
* Large gatherings should be cancelled or postponed through the end of March
* If you feel sick or display any of the COVID-19 symptoms (coughing/fever/muscle aches) isolate yourself immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
More information on safety guidelines can be found at https://cchealth.org/coronavirus/ or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Governor Newsom today issued an executive order that will affect state and local government’s ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. To view the executive order, go to https://www.gov.ca.gov/…/2020/03/3.12.20-EO-N-25-20-COVID-1…
Steps Being Taken by the Town of Danville:
* All classes at the Senior Center have been cancelled, but the Center will remain open.
* Middle School Teen Centers continue to operate pending decisions by the SRVUSD around school closures.
* Upcoming events in town are being examined and may be postponed or cancelled. To check the status of your event, go to www.danville.ca.gov.
* Start of the season for our bocce ball leagues has been delayed by one week.
* Staff is contacting parties with facility reservations to see if they want to continue with their events; no new facility reservations are being accepted.
* To maintain social distancing, all Town meetings will be limited to 40 members of the public. Chairs will be spread out to allow a safe distance for attendees. Scout troops on the agenda to do the Pledge of Allegiance will be rescheduled to a later date.
* The Danville Farmers Market will be cancelled through the end of March. At that time it will be reassessed.
Elsewhere in the Community:
* Mustang Soccer and Scorpion Lacrosse have suspended activities. Participants in area sports leagues should contact league personnel to determine what actions they are taking regarding coronavirus.
* Organizers of the Devil Mountain Run have opted to cancel this year’s event.
* The Danville Area Chamber of Commerce has cancelled their monthly mixer and is examining other upcoming meetings with the possibility of cancellation.
* SRVUSD has issued guidelines around gatherings and sporting events. https://www.srvusd.net/coronavirus
We know that this constantly evolving situation has raised concerns in the community. Let me assure you that the Town, in collaboration with our county, state, and federal agency partners, is doing everything possible to assist in the mitigation of this illness. Our highest priority is, and always will be, the safety of the people of Danville.
We are very fortunate to have a strong partnership with our community, and it is that bond that I believe will allow us to successfully weather the COVID-19 outbreak. Danville is a strong community, and a compassionate one. Here, neighbors help one another, and look out for one another. We will make it through this current crisis and come through it a stronger and more resilient Danville.
San Ramon’s letter from City Manager Joe Gorton
“Good Morning Everyone,
All of us from the City of San Ramon hope you are doing well as we move through these unprecedented times. Here is the most recent information we have as it pertains to the COVID-19 public health crisis:
There are 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, with no deaths being reported.
Contra Costa County Health Services (CCHS) has an Emergency Operations Center in place and is closely coordinating with other local, State, and Federal agencies responsible for tracking and mitigating the outcomes of COVID-19. CCHS has also set up a website to provide accurate recommendations and timely updates for both local governments and the community at large.
It is essential to understand that the situation is continuously changing as CCHS reacts to new information. We recognize the significant impacts this is having on the community we serve.
The City of San Ramon's response has been and will continue to be thoughtful, calculated, deliberate, and in conformance with CCHS's professional recommendations. We are maintaining close coordination with CCHS to respond rapidly, as necessary, to ensure we minimize the disruption of services to the community, while also ensuring we do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 according to the CCHS recommendations.
Remember, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by:
* Washing your hands often,
* Avoiding touching your face, and
* Avoiding close contact with others.
CCHS has also set up an excellent webpage with more information on prevention.
Though there is cause for concern, there is no need for fear and panic to overwhelm our community. We encourage you to review the CCHS website, their recommendations for prevention, and continue to monitor the City of San Ramon communications. We will continue to send out these messages regularly and as information changes.
Basic hygiene practices and social distancing should go a long way in achieving the goal of mitigating the effects of this public health crisis. The primary concern, per the CCHS, is to intervene in the spread of the virus by slowing its progress. This concern is why you see such aggressive measures nationwide.
Our Healthcare system is among the most capable in the world; however, as with all Systems, it has a finite capacity. If the virus results in too many admissions to the Healthcare system at any one time, the system becomes overloaded. To keep our Healthcare system running efficiently, aggressive mitigation efforts are needed. If we accomplish this, it means better outcomes for the entire system, as illustrated by the attached chart. By "flattening the curve" through a proactive response to COVID-19, we are allowing our healthcare industry the best opportunity to serve those in need of care.
To do our part in "flattening the curve," the following measures are being put in place.
Through April, the following meetings and programs are canceled or postponed:
* Police Department's Citizen's Academy
* Government 101
* All school tours
* All non-council committee
Through April, the following changes will be made to all City Council Meetings and City Council Sub-Committees:
* Only essential business will be discussed
* No special presentations will occur
* Meeting attendees will be limited to no more than 40 attendees, using social distancing, and spacing of 3-feet pursuant to Contra Costa County Health Services guidelines. For essential meetings where attendance exceeds 40, overflow rooms will be made available.
* Meetings may also be conducted remotely, with proper notice
Through April, the following changes to City services will occur:
* Canceling of all events with an anticipated attendance of more than 50
* No passport appointments
* No fingerprinting services for the general public
* Senior citizen programs are canceled; however, the Senior Center will remain open, and residents can pick up meals
* Teen centers will remain open unless school sites close
* Through March, all Library programs are canceled, and meeting rooms are closed
We will make it through this public health crisis. The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19.
By working together, we can make it happen!
San Ramon City Manager”