I was able to sit in on Mike Callagy’s conference call for local elected officials today. The County, along with all the cities in San Mateo County, are working hard gearing up to address the many consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The entirety of my notes appear below but I wanted to highlight a few items:
- As of today there are 239 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in San Mateo County.
- The District Attorney’s office has stated that anyone determined to be engaging in price gouging during this crisis will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They’ve set up a website you can use to report suspected price-gouging: https://da.smcgov.org/price-gouging-covid-19.
- A participant (I didn’t catch his or her name) shared that they have gotten a number of reports of Asians being spit on or otherwise physically assaulted due to the pandemic having first been reported in China (the person said they themselves had had this experience).
Mike Callagy said he was very disappointed to hear that such a thing could happen in San Mateo County and would make sure law enforcement followed up on it. I’ve separately spoken to Mark Duri, our police chief, and let him know that I will do whatever is necessary to see he gets the resources he needs to address such behavior in San Carlos, should it occur. This isn’t the time to divide ourselves, particularly in such a monumentally ignorant, stupid and offensive way.
Here are my notes (SMC = San Mateo County).
- 239 confirmed cases in SMC
- County is discussing extending the April 7th expiration of its emergency regulations
211 Call Center
- Average wait time 32 seconds
- Average call length 7 minutes
- Responded to 3,000 text messages since March 6th
- 94 clients in hotels
- Talking to RWC to add more beds to site adjacent to jail
- Currently need 71 more spaces
- 209 donations to SMC Strong for $40,000 (?) plus another $50,000 single donation (?)
- >800 responses to business surveys
- Goal is to have SMC program complement and not duplicate Federal efforts
- Report any price gouging to District Attorney’s office (they have a website https://da.smcgov.org/price-gouging-covid-19). Anyone engaging in such behavior will be prosecuted.
- Health Department is working the numbers but it’s still too early to tell what the trajectory of the disease is likely to be in SMC.
- Rate-limiting factor is medical help to staff facilities for people needing help in county-run facilities.
- May look for non-medical professional volunteers to handle certain aspects of support after basic training.
Anti-eviction moratorium regulation is being drafted, more details to follow.
Sheltering in Place
- Increasing emphasis on sheltering in place
- Health officials meeting to discuss whether or not stricter sheltering in place regulations are needed.
- Parks are being overwhelmed
- County parks will be closed end of business today
Use of Schools for Homeless?
- Looking at it
- Not all schools offer the right kind of space to support social distancing
How is SMC utilizing locally-available biotech resources?
- Been talking to companies throughout the country to create more testing kits, also antibody-based testing kits
- Congresswoman Jackie Speier is talking with local biotech company leaders this afternoon
Clarify rules around county parks?
- Will close them, lock out parking areas, bathrooms
- Will not be devoting enforcement resources to the ban except on an as-encountered basis
- Goal is to discourage people from traveling from other areas to use the parks en masse
How do we maintain the health benefits we hope to achieve in SMC?
- Bending the curve locally will help us conserve scarce medical resources (e.g., ventilators)
- We can cut the peak to a half to a third by people adhering to shelter in place rules and drastically reducing contact with others outside their “biological circle” (e.g., family)
- County will share its disease trajectory modeling once it’s been validated
What can we do to encourage improving Federal shelter-in-place policy?
- Primary initial effort is on local response which is what we’re focusing on (not sure the answer addressed the question).
What can we do to support families under stress and educate them about risk profile for children?
- County will try to provide information on age-related risk rates
- County is considering what to do if all a child’s caregivers end up becoming incapacitated
How do self-employed people apply for financial support under the various local/state/federal programs?
- County will look into this and get an answer for Monday.
What’s the forecast of when the disease surge is likely to come?
- Next three to four weeks will be critical
What is the District Attorney doing about assaults (e.g., spitting) on Asians?
- Very disappointed that this is happening in SMC
- First response should be to call the police
- Will look into it with law enforcement
What about BART pushing homeless people off their trains and into our communities at night?
- County is looking into it
- Trying to put in place an alternative shelter arrangement
Shouldn’t all public agencies stop holding in-place meetings?
- Not for the County to dictate
- But we believe it’s best for the County to meet virtually
County efforts on helping agencies deal with fiscal impacts?
- Likely a focus of the long-range planning committee
- County still assessing what its own impacts will be
- Will be sharing information and ideas going forward
What is County doing to enforce congregation rules?
- Primary focus for local law enforcement
- Needs to be enforced, hopefully with the warning/citation/arrest escalation trajectory
Will national parks in SMC be closed?
- County will follow up for Monday
Programs to prepare meals for first responders?
- Not aware of any
Why are gardening businesses still operating?
- Not allowed except to protect health & safety (e.g., cut back fuel to reduce fire danger)
- General run of the mill gardening is not allowed
Temporarily change the way water is priced based on consumption?
- Will look into it
Is law enforcement being savvy about realizing restaurant workers and healthcare workers need to get to and from their businesses for those businesses to continue to operate?
- County has discussed this with law enforcement throughout SMC
- Nowhere near stopping people at random on the street
- Will re-enforce message with law enforcement later today
What are the plans for when first responders test positive?
- Focus of county planning
- Secured/separate beds for such
- Some departments are looking at keeping as many people as they can in work from home or split shift arrangements
- Can also rely on mutual aid pact in SMC
What are the fees associated with SMC Strong and is there a way for the public to provide input on how it should operate?
- There are fee limits (?) in place
- Will discuss public input with them