Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Updates and Resources
**Please note: the situation changes often, and this page will be updated with the latest guidance. Solano Public Health is committed to consistently sharing all relevant information as we learn it.**SOLANO COUNTY SHELTER AT HOME ORDER IS IN ALIGNMENT WITH GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S STAY AT HOME ORDER, WHICH WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Situation Summary Effective March 18, 2020, Solano County has issued a countywide Shelter at Home Health Order and Directive to continue protecting the health and safety of our community, clarify directive guidance in accordance with the Governor, and ensure consistent compliance across the County with social distancing and self-isolation measures. These mitigation measures are disruptive, but critical to curb the growing number of cases resulting from community spread, particularly given that most those infected show mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.Solano County Coronavirus Warm Line
Solano County has a warm line to answer questions from the public about COVID-19: Call 707-784-8988
Hours (subject to change): 7am-6pm Monday-FridayCommunity Resources Here is a list of community resources available for workers, small business owners, and community members in Solano County
For information, updates and resources from the State of California, visit COVID19.CA.GOV
Here is a list of County public services and programs impacted by COVID-19Current Guidance and Recommendations for the Community 3-19-20 Guidance for Homeless Assistance Providers3-18-20 Shelter at Home Health Order and Directive
3-18-20 Orden y Directiva de Salud para El Refugio en Casa3-18-20 Guidance for Childcare Providers
3-17-20 Guidance and Directives from the State of California
These guidance documents include information for:
• Food, beverage and other services
• Self-isolation for older adults and those who have elevated risk
• Adult and senior care facilities
• Community care facilities
• Food industries
• Homeless assistance providers
• Immigrant communitiesHow to Protect Yourself Visit the CDC for information about how to protect yourself from coronavirus
Take these precautions to stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses:
• If your work is not considered an essential service, stay home as much as possible
• Practice social distancing measures when outside and maintain 6ft distance between yourself and others
• Wash hands with liquid soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds;
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing; and
• Stay home if you are sick
What to Do if You are Feeling Sick If you develop a fever or have lower respiratory symptoms (cough, fever or shortness of breath), first call your health care provider.
Let the provider know that you are experiencing respiratory illnesses before visiting the doctor’s office or emergency room.
Additional Resources For the latest updates from the CDC, visit cdc.gov/covid19 For the latest updates from the White House, visit coronavirus.gov
For the latest updates from the State of California, visit covid19.ca.gov
CITY OF BENICIA
City Hall, 250 East L Street
Benicia, California 94510
Contact: Lorie Tinfow, City Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
CITY OF BENICIA UPDATE ON COVID-19
FOR MARCH 22, 2020
Business Resources and Support
Benicia, CA (March 22, 2020) — During the unprecedented and unexpected business closures and shelter-at-home orders, many Benicia business owners find themselves in dire need of help to weather the COVID-19 emergency. The City of Benicia’s Economic Development division is sharing business support information and resources.
“In the past week, our business community and their employees have grappled with changing guidelines and ever more stringent restrictions. We know that this has caused great uncertainty and anxiety,” said Economic Development Manager Mario Giuliani. “The City’s Economic Development staff are focused to assist our businesses to learn about and apply for the programs developed by our State and Federal partners to support employers and employees during this emergency.”
Rapid Response Services for Businesses
Solano Small Business Development Center is standing by to help businesses facing potential layoffs or business closures. Start by filling out the client intake form at jotform.com/build/200757157479162 or reach out to Pamela Clemmons at 707.307.3986.
Aid with Loan Applications
The Northern CA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network produced multiple webinars last week to help small businesses weather the current storm and to specifically provide help with completing the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan application. The webinars are available at norcalsbdc.org/coping-covid-19-webinars-northern-california-sbdcnetwork. There is a place for businesses to enter their contact information so that they will be sent invitations and links to all upcoming webinars that will occur over the next few weeks.
Essential Business Definition
A key question many have been asking is about the Governor’s stay-at-home order and what is an essential business. This link provides helpful information to determine what is deemed an essential business: covid19.ca.gov/stayhome-except-for-essential-needs
Moratorium on Disconnections/Deferral of Fees/Extended Deadlines The City has implemented a moratorium on utility service disconnections and late fees for non-payment for water and sewer service due to the COVID-19 emergency and the current closure of City Hall offices. Details are available at ci.benicia.ca.us/utilitybilling. The deadlines for business license tax renewals and transient occupancy tax payments have also been extended to June 15, 2020. The City is developing an emergency ordinance to prevent commercial and residential evictions.
For business questions or assistance, contact Economic Development Manager Mario Giuliani at email@example.com or call 707.746.4289.
It started Monday, with six of the nine Bay Area counties issuing orders — San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin. On Tuesday, Sonoma County joined, and Napa signaled it would soon join.
But Solano County was a holdout.
“I had a talk with our county administrator,” on Tuesday, Thomson said. “I told her my thoughts about sheltering in place. She said ‘We don’t want to alarm the public.’”
County administrator Birgitta Corsello called Thomson’s recollection inaccurate, but she did not elaborate, according to spokesman Matthew Davis.
On Tuesday, Solano County Health Officer Bela Matyas released a statement to the public about the coronavirus and the shelter-in-place orders other counties had issued. He conveyed the message via a YouTube video posted on the county’s official website.
In the video, Matyas sat at a desk with his sleeves rolled up and delivered a nine-minute monologue over looped guitar music. He dismissed the shelter-in-place orders as essentially just social distancing orders that mirrored guidelines the state and federal government already put out.
“For those of you who are familiar with the concept of ‘shelter in place,’ it’s used in situations when it’s dangerous to go outside because the air is dangerous, so if there’s been a toxic chemical spill or a fire with smoke,” Matyas said. He added that “shelter in place” was not the right terminology for what’s actually social distancing.
Over the next few hours, emails poured into Thomson’s inbox. Most of them came from perplexed or frustrated residents, questioning why Solano County was not taking action.
By the end of the next day, Wednesday, the county did an about-face, issuing an order instructing residents to stay in their homes as much as possible. By Friday, Matyas’ video was made private, so the public could no longer view it.
Board of Supervisors President Erin Hannigan said she asked that the video be taken down.
“It wasn’t helpful anymore,” she said. “It needed to be altered. There were some statements he made that were no longer true … and I couldn’t stand the music.”
Davis added that the video “understandably, wasn’t tracking well with the public.” It drew a string of comments on YouTube and the county Facebook page, some of which “were not supportive,” he noted.
Thomson said that after talking to the county administrator Tuesday, he emailed Hannigan requesting a special meeting to plan for the pandemic. He said Hannigan did not respond. When he complained to Assistant County Administrator Nancy Huston, she told him the county would not hold a special meeting. Its next regular meeting is scheduled for March 24.
“What kind of message does that send to our residents?” Thomson asked.
Hannigan said later that she did reply to Thomson, but that there was no need for the board to meet. Top county officials were already “having a conversation” behind the scenes “about an order we would put out,” she said. “We wanted to make sure the nomenclature was correct.”
In the meantime, constituents were flooding Thomson with emails that showed an overwhelming sense of confusion and a lack of confidence in the county government.
“I am shocked at the utter lack of proactive response that is being taken by our county health officer Bela Matyas,” Vacaville resident Heather Smolen wrote in an email shared with The Chronicle. “In the video he recently posted online he stated that a shelter in place would cause people to ‘overreact.’ I beg to differ, I feel that a shelter in place for Solano County would cause people to finally take the risk of coronavirus seriously.”
Thomson began forwarding the emails — probably 70 of them, he said — to Huston. Other supervisors said they were also getting slammed.
“I received a lot of calls from people asking why we weren’t adopting a shelter-in-place (order),” Supervisor Jim Spering said. “I passed that on to the county administrator.”
Matyas was not available for comment Friday. Davis said all the supervisors were feeling pressure from their constituents to issue orders, and that Corsello and Matyas were trying to act as quickly as possible.
Yet many residents sensed there was no urgency to act in their county. Some were baffled by Matyas’ reluctance to enact strict interventions, in part because Solano County was the first county in the nation to report a case of coronavirus that couldn’t be traced to overseas travel or contact with an infected person. It also houses Travis Air Force Base, a quarantine center for Americans repatriated from trips abroad, and for passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship.
So far 14 Solano County residents have tested positive for the virus, though none have died.
The notion that Solano County was still open for business troubled Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan. He said many Vallejo residents worried that people from other counties would flock in, causing the virus to spread more quickly. Residents were also mystified by the stark disconnect between Matyas’ video and the advisories that Vallejo was posting on its own social media channels, telling people to stay inside.
“I received concerned correspondences from constituents,” Sampayan said. “Folks were saying, ‘Look, the governor and the CDC are telling us one thing, and then we’re getting this’” other message.
He surmised that the public outcry caused Matyas to “rethink his stance.”
Spering defended Matyas. He was wary of the shelter-in-place edicts, since they force people to miss work and disrupt the economy. Although some people called him to demand more aggressive measures, others were distraught about losing their jobs.
“I’ve been getting calls from moms who have two kids, work in two restaurants, and 40% of their income is tips,” Spering said. “We have a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck.”
Still, as a longstanding politician, Spering knew he’d feel pressure to eventually deliver a shelter-at-home order.
Thomson remains frustrated. He never bothered to watch Matyas’ video.
“Once the first six counties announced that order, it seemed like we should follow suit really quickly,” he said. “But then it took us (three) days to figure it out.
“I’ve been vindicated,” he added. “But that’s not really my purpose.”