Mayor's New Update

Mayor's New Update

Two developments last week signal how serious the battle against COVID-19 has become, and how seriously we must engage in this fight to contain its spread: public health officers from the Bay Area’s six most populous counties issued a new shelter-in-place order that imposes increased limitations on travel, activity and essential business functions until May 3. They also recommended the use of face coverings when in public to conduct essential activities.

Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan explained that since March 17 when the original Shelter-in-Place order took effect, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have increased more than eight-fold in these six counties. To slow the rate of spread, prevent deaths and avoid overwhelming our health care system, we must be even stricter about maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet between ourselves and others.

The new order prohibits the use of playgrounds, dog parks and public picnic areas. Sports and activities that involve shared equipment — including but not restricted to basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls and Frisbees — must only take place among members of the same household. Shared public recreational facilities, including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts and pools must be closed.

“I cannot be more clear that everyone [must] practice physical distancing,” says Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Don’t put other persons’ lives on the line. We are not out of the woods yet because testing numbers are still low.” As of April 4, only 126,700 of California’s 40 million residents (about 0.3 percent of the population) had been tested.

Our state is seeking healthcare providers behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators to ensure adequate staffing of health care sites throughout California, including at newly opened sites; to treat people affected by COVID-19; and to provide care for non-COVID-19 cases. (For more information and to register visit healthcorps.ca.gov)

California’s public health officials and the CDC now recommend that residents use face coverings when leaving home for essential travel, such as to the grocery store, pharmacy and doctor visits. Alameda Hospital Pulmonologist Robert Deutsch, M.D. explained that COVID-19 can spread from person-to-person by virus-containing droplets produced when a person coughs, sneezes, or even talks and someone nearby inhales those particles. The virus can also spread when particles land on a surface that another person touches before touching their mouth or nose.

Wearing a mask serves three important functions: to reduce the airborne spread of the virus (including from people who might not realize they are infected) and reduce the number of virus particles landing on nearby surfaces; limit the amount of inhaled particles (tighter fitting, thicker, and less porous masks provide more protection); and help prevent us from touching our mouth, nose and face.

Face coverings are more important in small or enclosed spaces where unavoidable contact with others might occur, and less important when outdoors. Be sure to avoid touching your mask with unwashed hands. And remember, a face mask is not a substitute for frequent hand washing and physical social distancing of at least 6 feet.

Despite the upheaval caused by COVID-19, please complete your Census 2020 questionnaire. Federal funding for hospitals, schools, fire departments, and public transit systems, housing assistance for seniors, Congressional representation and more are based on census results. But so far, only 40 percent of Alameda County residents have responded. To complete your questionnaire quickly and easily visit my2020census.gov. Your community is counting on you to be counted!

We will get through this crisis together and emerge stronger when it’s over. Until then, take care, Alameda. Be smart, be safe!