Category Archives: Solano County CA

Solano County budget, construction could take a hit due to Covid-19

Solano County looks to spend $36M on facility projects in 2020-21, but Covid-19 lurks

The grandstands at the Solano County Fairgrounds are demolished, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. The site was formerly a racehorse track. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic file)
By Todd R. Hansen, Daily Republic, March 27, 2020

FAIRFIELD — Solano County has substantially completed nearly $12.2 million in facility projects this fiscal year, expects another $8.98 million to be done by June 30 and will carry over $19.9 million in identified projects during fiscal year 2020-21.

Another $15.99 million in new 2020-21 projects are proposed, the Board of Supervisors were told this week. The board conducted a public hearing, without comment, and adopted the updated five-year Capital Facilities Improvement Plan.

The full five-year plan – from this current fiscal year to 2023-24 – identifies $72.42 million in projects. Of that total, $19.9 million is funded, another $15.99 million in projects are identified with proposed funding and there are $36.53 million worth of unfunded projects.

“The adoption of the CFIP does not commit the board to specific funding,” the report states.

Casting a large shadow over the plan – especially with regard to projects relying on local funding – is the impact of Covid-19 on revenues coming into the county.

Supervisor Monica Brown specifically mentioned the $6.3 million for the first half of a 32-bed mental health residential treatment facility. She was assured that funding is a state grant specifically earmarked for the project.

But that may not be the case with all projects.

Auditor-Controller Phyllis Taynton could not be reached for comment about her projections for sales tax and other revenue sources that will likely be negatively affected by the Covid-19 health emergency.

Chuck Lomeli, the treasurer-tax collector-county clerk, is also keeping a close watch on the situation.

“We are expecting a hit. . . . From my perspective, we (the county) are going to get hurt in a lot of ways,” he said.

One of his primary concerns will be to see if residents are able to pay their property taxes, the deadline for which is April 10. The county has announced it will work with residents on waiving penalties if they are late paying because of Covid-19.

Lomeli said he is equally concerned with county residents and their personal incomes. He said based on national statistics he has seen, most households survive paycheck to paycheck, and may be OK after missing one, but if they start missing two or more paychecks, then it could be difficult for them.

Lomeli said he is waiting to see the full $2 trillion stimulus package out of Washington, D.C., and then watch to see how fast the dollars get to where they are intended. Some of the package is supposed to go to cities and counties, some to businesses and there are some funds to go directly to eligible residents.

The county has 54 buildings and sports facilities with more than 2 million square feet of facilities and 133 acres of grounds that are maintained by General Services.

“This does not include regional parks, Solano County fairgrounds, the Nut Tree Airport and corporation yards, which are maintained by other departments or entities,” the report states.

The largest of the 2019-20 projects completed was the nearly $3.87 million fairgrounds demolition project plus $1.2 million for site remediation. Another $1.6 million was spent on mechanical equipment replacement at the Fairfield Civic Center Library; $1.44 million on improvements and renovations at the Vacaville Veterans Hall; and $1.37 million on the Registrar of Voters relocation project.

Projects expected to be completed by the end of this fiscal year include $3.34 million for heating and air improvements at the Animal Care facility, $2.1 million toward the boiler replacement project at the jail complex and $1.39 million toward the generator replacement and underground fuel tank removal at the downtown jail facility.

There are five proposed projects of more than $1 million for 2020-21 fiscal year, including the $6.3 million mental health facility.

Of the full $15.99 million for 21 projects, $6.39 million would come from the county’s Capital Renewal Reserve Fund; $578,000 from the Criminal Justice Temporary Construction Fund; $2.59 million from the Accumulated Capital Outlay Fund; and $6.44 million from other sources such as the state grant for the mental health facility.

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    Solano County Jail nurse tests positive for COVID-19; up to 60 inmates to go free

    In a press release, Sheriff Ferrara says no ‘known cases’ of COVID-19 in the jail so far, but a Solano County Superior Court commissioner and a spokeswoman for jail nurse contractor Wellpath confirm the positive test

    By Richard Bammer, Vacaville Reporter, March 27, 2020
    Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara

    Two people have reported or confirmed that a nurse working in the Solano Jail has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but Sheriff Tom Ferrara, in a press release issued Friday, noted “no known cases of persons contracting COVID-19 within our jails.”

    Solano County Superior Court Commissioner Bryan J. Kim on Thursday mentioned during afternoon arraignments that a nurse from the Wellpath company, which contracts with Solano County Jail for nursing services, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Deputy Public Defender Nick Filloy told The Reporter he heard Kim make the statement during the afternoon session in Department 24 in the Hall of Justice in Fairfield.

    Additionally, a spokeswoman for the Wellpath company, based in Nashville, Tenn., confirmed early Friday that the nurse had, indeed, tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

    She asked not to be identified, citing the sensitive nature of her job, and provided no additional information other than suggesting the nurse was female.

    At press time Friday, Ferrara and Undersheriff Brad DeWall had not responded to a request for comment from The Reporter.

    It is unknown when or where the nurse tested positive, the nature of her county jail work schedule in recent days, how many inmates she came in contact with before she was tested, and whether she is quarantined for at least 14 days in her residence, a standard accepted practice recognized by public health officials.

    In the prepared statement, Ferrara wrote that the Sheriff’s Office “remains committed to the health and well-being of all persons currently incarcerated or working within our correctional facilities. Currently, there are no known cases of persons contracting COVID-19 within our jails.”

    He cited a March 20 order from Solano County Superior Court officials authorizing the release of inmates who are serving county jail commitments with 60 days or less remaining on their sentence, “so long as they qualify within the criteria set forth in the Order.”

    However, no inmate whose crime includes serving time for domestic violence or an offense involving a victim of domestic violence or serving time for an offense that requires registration as a sex offender is eligible for early release, noted Ferrara.

    “We are working in collaboration with the District Attorney’s Office and the Probation Department to review and concur with each potential release,” he added in the prepared statement. “Prior to being released, we will verify that the inmate has a place to live to ensure they go to a safe environment that allows them to comply with the Shelter-at-Home directive.”

    He also noted the department is making sure the released inmates have transportation to their homes.

    The March 20 order “will result in the initial release of up to 60 inmates, many of which currently have less than 30 days left to serve,” Ferrara pointed out.

    The release of inmates allows the Sheriff’s Office to establish intake quarantine housing units to monitor newly booked inmates and maintain a medical isolation unit for any confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, he wrote.

    Solano County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Wood described to The Reporter how jail arraignments are being handled during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    In an email, he wrote that during such arraignments, deputy district attorneys “are teleconferencing into court and some inmates are being placed in the court adjacent room with a glass partition and microphone for court proceedings.”

    The inmates, he added, “can see court proceedings and communicate with the court from this position, rather than bringing them into the courtroom.”

    Known as a fierce defender of his clients’ constitutional rights, Filloy was shocked at Kim’s revelation and the later confirmation by the Wellpath spokeswoman.

    “If the Solano County’s Sheriff’s Department wants to spread COVID-19 to all of Solano County, they are doing a bang-up job,” he wrote in a text message.

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      Solano County refuses but Orange County releases City count of coronavirus cases

      Editor – Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and others have asked Solano County to release a list of positive cases of the coronavirus BY ZIP CODE.  In response, a Solano County elected staffer wrote, “HIPAA is a Federal Law that governs patient privacy. It prohibits disclosure of confidential health information. County Counsel has made the determination that releasing city specific data would violate our obligations under HIPAA.”  Orange County is evidently not of the same opinion.  Solano County Counsel is Bernadette Curry, bscurry@solanocounty.com.  Solano’s Public Health Officer is Bela Matyas, btmatyas@solanocounty.com. – R.S.

      Orange County releases list of all communities with coronavirus cases

      Los Angeles Times,  by Luke Money, March 27, 2020 5:29 PM

      508645_la-me-oc-coronavirus_5_AJS.jpg
      Dr. Dallas Weaver, 79, and his wife, Janet Weaver, 75, of Huntington Beach wear reusable protective masks and gloves as they return from walking along the Huntington Beach Pier on March 18. Officials have since closed the pier. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

      Orange County is continuing to see a dramatic uptick in coronavirus cases — with confirmed infections swelling more than threefold over the course of less than a week.

      The numbers

      — Orange County reported 321 cases of coronavirus infection on Friday, up from 95 as of the previous weekend and 256 on Thursday.

      — Three deaths have been confirmed so far. One was a county resident in his 70s who had underlying health conditions. Officials have not released information about the other two.

      Analysis

      Health officials have said the county’s caseload will probably continue to increase as more people are tested.

      “Community members need to know that we expect more cases and, unfortunately, more deaths in the coming days and weeks,” said county Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick.

      The county started releasing the number of cases by city on Friday, but officials warn that the counts don’t mean one location is more or less safe than another.

      “There is risk countywide, and we need all individuals to listen to the recommendations of state and local health officials,” Quick said.

      Cases by city:

      • Aliso Viejo: 2
      • Anaheim: 28
      • Brea: 1
      • Buena Park: 7
      • Costa Mesa: 8
      • Cypress: 6
      • Dana Point: 7
      • Fountain Valley: 5
      • Fullerton: 7
      • Garden Grove: 4
      • Huntington Beach: 26
      • Irvine: 33
      • La Habra: 1
      • Laguna Niguel: 11
      • Lake Forest: 5
      • Mission Viejo: 6
      • Newport Beach: 32
      • Orange: 11
      • Placentia: 5
      • Rancho Santa Margarita: 3
      • San Clemente: 10
      • San Juan Capistrano: 9
      • Santa Ana: 13
      • Seal Beach: 1
      • Stanton: 0
      • Tustin: 4
      • Westminster: 5
      • Yorba Linda: 10
      • Other: 27*
      • Unknown: 34

      *Includes unincorporated areas and cities with a population of less than 25,000.

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        Latest report on Covid-19 in Solano County – Good news, NO NEW CASES on Friday, March 27

        Solano County update on March 27, 2020

        Solano County reported NO NEW POSITIVE CASES today – total remains 34.  You are still at risk – everyone stay home and be safe!

        The chart at bottom right, “Cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases…” gives a clear picture of the infection’s trajectory in Solano County.

        Also of interest:

        • Differentiation between Total number of cases (34) and Active cases (12).  NOTE THAT active cases yesterday were 15, thus 3 Solano cases are no longer considered active.
        • Total number hospitalized (12 known, 3 more than yesterday)
        • Proportion of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 (coming soon)
        • Total number of deaths (0 as of March 27)
        • Total number of cases by age groups (0-18: 0; 19-64: 22; 65 and older: 12).
        • Total residents tested today (coming soon)
        • The line chart at top right shows when these cases were tested over the last several weeks, (“Date of specimen collection”).

        Note:

        Solano staff refuses to divulge WHERE in the County the positive cases reside.

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