Today for instance, you will find excellent clarifying info on Solano/Benicia rules for retail openings, and short articles on upcoming City Council consideration of mandatory face coverings, Benicia Farmers Market, Library book drops, public works week, high heat warnings, the 2020 Census and various press releases. See below…
Highlights: City Sets a Modified Reopening for June 1, Outdoor Activities and Encroachment for Business Order, Downtown Business Walk, Library Book Drop, Farmers Market Returns, Public Works Week, Census Reminder, High Heat This Week
May 25, 2020
Happy Memorial Day!
Today is the traditional start of summer and a heat wave is forecast for the next few days. In times past, the City’s facilities-the senior center, the library, and the pool-served as cooling centers for those who don’t have air conditioning at home. This year is different with those facilities remaining closed because of the pandemic emergency. Even so, we are still here for you! If you need assistance, please call the Community Services Phone Line at 707.746.4285, Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 5:00 or email email@example.com. And remember the following heat wave safety tips:
Check in on those most susceptible to heat impacts
Reduce outdoor activities, especially in the afternoon
Drink plenty of water
Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
Apply sunscreen regularly when outdoors
Know where shade is available
Don’t leave pets or children in cars
It’s never been more important than it is now to check on your senior neighbors, friends and family members, during the pandemic when seniors need to stay home. We will be checking on the seniors who regularly participated in our programs. Please join us in reaching out to those you know and let’s take care of each other!
On a different topic, last Friday, Solano County amended its shelter-at-home order to allow more business sectors to begin the safe reopening process under a set of specific safety parameters. Businesses newly allowed include destination retail stores (such as bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing stores, home furnishing, sporting goods, florists), shopping malls, swap-meets, dine-in restaurants, and office-based business operations. Patrons visiting businesses should look for social distancing protocols, occupancy limits, and extra sanitary activities such as use of hand sanitizer. Face coverings are not required but are strongly recommended. Businesses are also required to post signage certifying compliance with the regulations that apply to their business type. For more information about restaurants, please see the COVID-19 Dine-in Restaurants Checklist and for retail, please see COVID-19 Retail Checklist. Risk of virus transmission remains an active threat so please take steps to protect yourself and if the business you want to visit doesn’t meet the requirements, don’t patronize it! For questions about the regulations, Solano County has a warm line about COVID-19; call 707.784.8988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tomorrow night, the Council is holding a study session to discuss ideas related to assisting businesses during COVID-19 as well as how to proceed related to face coverings in Benicia. This meeting will be held via teleconferencing; click here for the agenda. The meeting is broadcast in the usual ways-on Channel 27 and via the City’s website. Speaking of helping businesses, please take a look at the press release at the bottom of this newsletter to learn about City action taken last Friday to streamline the process for outdoor dining and shopping.
Thank you for your interest in the City of Benicia This Week!
City Sets a Modified Reopening for June 1: Typically, we would be announcing that we are closed today in observance of Memorial Day. But as most City facilities have been closed due to the State’s shelter-at-home order, we are taking the opportunity to remind that the City will begin reopening with modified services on Monday, June 1. Details were shared in last week’s message.
The annual Memorial Day Ceremony, sponsored by Benicia Historical Society, has been canceled this year. Due to the historically large turnout for this event, it has been canceled for the health and safety of attendees. Please take time today to honor military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Outdoor Activities and Encroachment for Business Order: Late Friday, City Manager Lorie Tinfow signed her third order as Emergency Services Director. The order streamlines the process for businesses to expand operations into outdoor locations to allow for social distancing, allowing for businesses to set up seating in their parking lots, on neighboring property with owners’ permission, or in the public right of way. Click here to view the order. Business owners will find the Temporary COVID-19 Outdoor Activities and Encroachment Agreement application beginning on page 5 of the order. The completed application and property permission should be submitted to City Manager Lorie Tinfow at email@example.com or Economic Development Manager Mario Giuliani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big THANKYOU goes to Republic Services. In recognition of increased outdoor dining and picnicking, they have agreed to add an additional day of garbage pick up from cans on First Street at no additional charge to the City of Benicia.
Library Book Drop: Benicia Public Library will begin accepting book returns with a new process. Due to the need to quarantine items for 72 hours before staff handles them, (Covid-19 lives that long on plastic), library staff will open the outside book drops twice a week. Upcoming dates are:
May 26, 12 – 6 p.m. or until full
June 1, 12 – 6 p.m. or until full
June 5, 12 – 6 p.m. or until full
More dates are to be announced. Books may also be returned to any Solano Library location, open daily. Library staff ask that you do not return Link+ items, LaunchPads, or eBook Readers. If you are unable to return items during these hours, do not worry. Fines are not being accrued until further notice. Please note that the library is unable to accept book donations at this time.
Farmers Market Returns: After review by City staff in the special events process, one of the first events to return from quarantine is Benicia Main Street’s Certified Farmers Market, on Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., starting June 4. Please note, however, that this farmer’s market will be smaller and operate with more rules than in the past. Details follow.
Per orders of the State & County only farmers and prepackaged food vendors may participate in the market. No sampling will be allowed. There will be no hot food, arts & crafts, jump houses, face painter or music at this time.
If you plan to attend, Benicia Main Street asks that you:
Come prepared and limit your visit time.
Wear a face mask/face covering before entering the market.
Clean/Sanitize your hands.
Honor social distancing of six feet while at the market.
Observe all posted signage and demarcated lines, which signal where customers should wait, six feet apart, while in line.
High risk groups should send another family/household member or neighbor to shop for them.
Always stay home if you are sick.
Visit booths with shorter lines first.
Always cough or sneeze, into your arm or a tissue, away from people and food.
As always, wash your fruits and veggies when you return home.
Benicia Public Works Week 2020
Public Works Week: “The Rhythm of Public Works” was the theme behind American Public Works Association’s (APWA) annual National Public Works Week, held this year May 17-23.
APWA’s municipalities across the country celebrated the Week by teaching their communities the importance of public works to improve the quality of our daily lives, giving a voice to the impact that the many facets of public works have on a community.
From providing clean water at your tap, disposing of solid waste, to engineering and administrative services that maintain, operate, repair, and where necessary, improve City public facilities, responding to natural or manmade disasters, public works services determine a society’s quality of life.
Benicia Public Works invites you to view this video showing what Public Works does in the City of Benicia. You can honor the vital contribution public works professionals make every day and celebrate their quiet dedication and indispensable influence on our way of life. Show your appreciation by spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #NPWW or #TheRhythmofPublicWorks.
Census Reminder: If you have completed the 2020 U.S. Census, thank you! If you haven’t taken it yet, please do so as soon as possible. Taking the census now will avoid a census working having to come to your home to complete the census for your address.
You can take the Census online, by phone or by mail. It’s confidential, quick and easy. Your response helps determine how $1.5 trillion in funding is allocated to our community every year. Click here to take it online. Additional information is available at https://solanoedc.org/census/complete-count-2020/.
High Heat This Week: Our first heat wave of the year is forecast for this week with the highest temperatures occurring Tuesday through Thursday. The Benicia Public Library is typically used as a cooling center but as it remains closed, along with the James Lemos Swim Center, due to their being classified as phase 3 closures, residents should take extra precautions to remain hydrated, limit time outdoors, and dress for the heat.
Solano County posted a press release today recommending the use of cloth face coverings when social distancing measure are difficult to maintain.
“It is important to remember that while we are all working together to reopen retail shops, malls and dine-in restaurants, the coronavirus is still here in Solano County,” says Bela T. Matyas, M.D., M.P.H, Solano County Public Health Officer.
“Wearing a cloth face covering, as recommended by the CDC and CDPH, is an additional way to protect yourself and others and can help slow the spread of the disease. Also, we ask that people wear non-surgical, non-N-95 respirator face masks, as those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.”
Solano County encourages wearing a cloth face mask outside your home whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained, maintaining a physical distance of six-feet from others, practicing coughing and sneezing etiquette, using a hand sanitizer or washing your hands for at least 20-seconds and to stay at home if you’re not feeling well. Businesses that are permitted to reopen must abide by the social distancing requirements in the County’s and State’s Orders.
A batch of about 500 people will be deployed this week statewide for contact tracing, the public health practice that involves tracking down people who have come in contact with COVID-19 patients.
Starting this week, the tracers will begin calling, texting and emailing those who may have been exposed to coronavirus, encouraging them to quarantine or recommending medical care, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. Meanwhile, Californians may notice new radio, television and billboard campaigns that aim to up awareness of contact tracing and urge people to pick up the phone. Tracers will be identified as part of the “CA COVID Team” — an effort led by the California Public Health Department — when texting or calling, and will not share health information with outside entities.
The tracers are the first batch toward a goal of 10,000 statewide, according to Newsom’s office. It’s not exactly clear how those tracers will work in tandem with local health departments’ own contact tracing programs.
Working with the University of California, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the state began developing an online training program earlier this month to get the tracers up to speed. Another 300 tracers will be trained this week, Newsom’s office said.
Governor asks Californians to answer the call to help keep our families and communities healthy and on the path to reopening
SACRAMENTO – In the ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom today launched California Connected, the state’s comprehensive contact tracing program and public awareness campaign. As part of California Connected, public health workers from communities across the state will connect with individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and work with them, and people they have been in close contact with, to ensure they have access to confidential testing, as well as medical care and other services to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The state’s program is led by the Administration in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health, local public health departments and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Los Angeles (UCLA), which have launched a robust online training academy to develop a culturally competent and skilled contact tracing workforce.
“We are all eager to get back to work and play, and that’s why we’re asking Californians to answer the call when they see their local public health department reaching out by phone, email or text,” said Governor Newsom. “That simple action of answering the call could save lives and help keep our families and communities healthy.”
To prevent the spread of this virus, public health workers will connect Californians with confidential testing. They may also recommend medical care,
and that individuals who could be infectious separate themselves from others in their home to protect those around them. Information provided to local public health departments is confidential under California law. Public health authorities will not share that information with outside entities. That information will be used for public health purposes only. Contact tracers will not ask for financial information, social security numbers or immigration status.
“A key step in stopping the spread of COVID-19 is quickly identifying and limiting new cases, across the diversity of our populations – and that’s exactly what this statewide program does,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer. “We are bringing together the best minds in public health, academia and private industry to design a program that can help lower the risk for COVID-19 in all of our communities and keep us on the path to reopening.”
The California Connected public awareness campaign is getting off the ground this week with support from multiple private partners who have committed a total of $5.1 million in funding and in-kind resources to help educate all Californians, and underserved communities in particular. These partners include Jeff Skoll and his organizations (The Skoll Foundation, Participant, and Ending Pandemics), The California Health Care Foundation, The California Endowment, Twitter and Facebook, in addition to existing media partners engaged in the larger public awareness effort.
Beginning this week, Californians across the state will hear radio ads and see billboards, social media posts and videos in multiple languages encouraging them to answer the call to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health workers across the state – identified on caller ID as the “CA COVID Team” – will call, text and email individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and people they may have unknowingly exposed to the virus.
The state plans to launch 10,000 contact tracers statewide as part of its plan to reopen California. More than 500 individuals have been trained under the new contact tracing program, and more than 300 are being trained this week.
To streamline and coordinate these efforts, Accenture, a leading global professional services company, is launching a data management platform developed by Salesforce and contact capabilities (phone calls, texts and emails) in collaboration with Amazon Web Service’s Amazon Connect. These organizations have already successfully implemented a large-scale contact tracing effort in Massachusetts.
A PSA from Director of the California Department of Public Health Dr. Sonia Angell can be found here. Watch the California Connected PSA in English here and in Spanish here. An infographic and other content can be found here.
Solano County reported 5 new positive cases today, total is now 430.
2 new deaths today, total is 18.
For the second time in 9 days, the County did not report any new cases among young persons 18 and under. The County reported 8 new cases among our youth in the last week and only 6 over the 5 weeks prior. (See table below).
BY AGE GROUP
No new cases were reported today of a young person under 19 years of age, total of 14 cases, 3.2% of total confirmed cases. (See table below.)
5 new cases of persons 19-64years of age, total of 307 cases, 70% of the total. 1 new death in this age group, total of 4. Note that only 37 of the 307 cases in this age group (12%) were hospitalized at one time. (It is unclear whether the 4 deaths were ever hospitalized.)
1 new case was of a person 65 or older, total of 115 cases, 26% of the total. 1 new death, total of 14. Note that 29 of the 114 cases in this age group (25%) were hospitalized at one time, more than double the percentage in the mid-age group. (It is unclear whether the 14 deaths in this age group were ever hospitalized.)
Recent surge in positive cases among youth 18 and under
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Monday, May 18, 2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Monday, May 11, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Monday, May 4, 2020
Vallejo added 3 of today’s new cases, total of 262.
Fairfield added 1 of today’s new cases, total of 74.
added 1 of today’s new cases, total of 40.
Suisun City remains at 21.
Benicia remains at 21.
Dixon, Rio Vista and “Unincorporated” are still not assigned numerical data: today all remain at <10 (less than 10). The total numbers for other cities add up to 418, leaving17cases somewhere among the locations in this “<10” category (same as last reported).Residents and city officials have pressured County officials for city case counts. Today’s data is welcome, but still incomplete.
HOSPITALIZATIONS: 67 of Solano’s 435 cases resulted in hospitalizations, 1 more than yesterday.
ACTIVE CASES: 43 of the 435 cases are active, 4 more than yesterday. Note that the county does not report WHERE the active cases are. Below you will see that only 18 are currently hospitalized, which leaves 25 of these 43 active cases out in our communities somewhere, and hopefully quarantined.
HOSPITAL IMPACT: The County shows 18 of the 67 hospitalized cases are CURRENTLY hospitalized, same asyesterday. The County’s count ofICU beds available and ventilator supply remains at “GOOD” at 31-100%. (No information is given on our supply of test kits, PPE and staff.)