As of Friday, March 27, 2020 at 5:08 p.m. Contra Costa Health Services is reporting a total of 151 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths from the virus in the county. The totals are updated daily and based on preliminary reporting. Numbers may change based on additional findings.
Another possible site at former Los Medanos Hospital in Pittsburg
We want to thank our community for its support and vigilance as we respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We know this is a difficult time for many and we appreciate the sacrifices being made by everyone in Contra Costa County to protect the community. By staying home and practicing social distancing, Contra Costa residents are helping “flatten the curve” so our hospital systems aren’t overwhelmed, and people can get the care they need when they need it.
Nonetheless, we can’t stop preparing for the surge of people with COVID-19 we are likely to see over the coming weeks. Contra Costa County currently has 131 confirmed cases.
Contra Costa County has been exploring and preparing “alternate care sites,” facilities to care for people with less complicated medical needs. These alternate care sites could provide community members a safe place to receive care. We are preparing Pittsburg Health Center to possibly serve as an alternate care site, including identifying staff and bringing in necessary equipment and supplies.
Contra Costa County recently requested supplies from the federal government to help establish an alternative care site at Alhambra High School in Martinez. We expect the shipment of beds, medical equipment and other supplies to arrive within the next few days. The proximity of the high school to Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center is important to our ability to run the site efficiently.
Contra Costa County is working to identify shelters for people who are unhoused. We have identified a number of hotel rooms and other resources throughout Contra Costa County that will be used in this way.
We are still figuring out the details of how these alternate care sites will operate. We are likely to identify additional sites in the coming days. Our hope is that we won’t ever have to use these sites because of the protective actions we’ve taken, like the stay-at-home order, that will stem the tide. As we hope for the best, we still must prepare for the worst.
Statement from Superintendent CJ Cammack,
Martinez Unified School District Martinez Unified has just been officially notified by federal, state, and local agencies that part of Alhambra High School is being considered to create additional spaces for providing care. As you all know and understand, in any emergency situation, schools are regularly used by agencies such as the Red Cross and other temporary emergency services. Given the immediate proximity to Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center (County Hospital), it is understandable that AHS would be a location identified for this purpose. Both as a district and as a community, we have a legal obligation as well as a moral and ethical obligation, to provide the highest level of cooperation during this time.
As we support the care of patients in our community, I remain committed to ensuring the health and safety needs of our students and staff of AHS. Please know that prior to any student and/or staff use of AHS facilities the entire school campus will undergo a comprehensive cleaning process to ensure the entire campus is cleaned, disinfected, sanitized, and properly prepped for safe and secure use by students and staff. Just as I am committed to doing our collective part to support our county and the overall COVID19 response, I am equally committed to ensuring the AHS campus will be a safe place for all staff and students, prior to reopening for any school-related functions.
If anything highlights the importance of our collective actions to stay home and the magnitude of our current health crisis related to COVID19, it is this development. We must continue to work together, in ways we might not have ever imagined to be part of the solution. I have been so proud of the resiliency and grit our staff, students, and community, have shown over the last few weeks. Throughout Martinez, the AHS Bulldogs represent the courage of our students, the commitment and professionalism of our staff, and the passion of our community. I am confident these pillars of Alhambra High School will be evident for community members and medical staff during these challenging times. Together, as a community, we will welcome these guests with grace, compassion, and empathy.
Benefits Auto-Issued for the Month of March
On Thursday evening, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide shelter-in-place order for all Californians, except certain essential employees and residents acquiring necessities, such as food, prescriptions, and health care.
WIC provides healthy foods and support services to families. If your income has been affected by recent events, and you are pregnant, recently had a baby, or have an infant or child under the age of five, you may be qualified to receive WIC services. Applying is easy and quick. You will receive your food benefits within a few days. You can apply online at cchealth.org/wic or call 1 (800) 414-4WIC.
WIC food benefits are considered an essential service. We will strive to continue to serve our community during this time under the governor’s and local Health Officer’s order. Currently, we are providing all WIC services over the phone, including new enrollments. To protect you and our WIC staff, all in-person appointments are suspended at this time. Please stay at home. The new WIC Card and WIC app make it easy for you to access your benefits electronically.
Community members should call their local WIC offices to enroll or certify, obtain future food benefits, reschedule, get breastfeeding help, or to get questions answered.
- Concord & Crossroad WIC: (925) 646-5370
- Brentwood WIC: (925) 513-6880
- Pittsburg WIC: (925) 431-2460
- San Pablo WIC: (510) 942-4000
Please note that California WIC started monthly auto issuance of benefits and extended some certifications for those who were eligible. This means if you have a WIC card, you may already have your benefits pre-loaded. You can check your California WIC app for benefits.
If you have any additional questions, please contact your local WIC program at 1 (800) 414-4WIC. For further Covid-19-related information, please visit the county website at: cchealth.org or CDPH website.
WIC and Contra Costa Health Services are committed to providing the individuals and communities we serve with high quality, comprehensive, community-directed care that is accessible to all and culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Please note that WIC is safe to use and does not affect immigration status for anyone who is currently in the U.S. WIC is not considered a part of public charge. We are here to help!
White Pony Express (WPE), the Pleasant Hill food rescue group, announces that its programs are continuing to operate under Contra Costa County’s stringent requirements to contain the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, WPE wishes to let the public know that:
- White Pony Express remains OPEN for business. It continues to rescue nutritious fresh food from supermarkets and restaurants and deliver it free to those in need in our communities.
- WPE’s School Food Pantry Program is continuing to deliver food to free-lunch schools in the county. However, because the schools have closed, this food is now being taken to alternative distribution sites where the food is being made available to the school families.
- Volunteers are urgently needed as some volunteers wish to self-isolate.
- Those who wish to volunteer can sign up at https://www.whiteponyexpress.org/covid-19-response-volunteer
- Financial donations are also needed so WPE can continue providing nutritious food to hungry people. If you’d like to contribute, you can do so by visiting WPE’s website at https://www.whiteponyexpress.org/donate-funds.
- WPE will make limited deliveries of needed clothing for the foreseeable future.
- No donations of clothing will be accepted while the shelter-in-place order is in effect.
- WPE has implemented stringent health guidelines in place to protect its volunteers. These protocols (hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, gloves, social distancing, etc.) are now a part of all WPE’s food and clothing operations.
ABOUT WPE: WPE is a volunteer-powered 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Pleasant Hill, CA, which helps people move from the margins to the mainstream by providing free food and clothing in a loving and respectful manner.
Dr. Carol Weyland Conner founded WPE in September 2013 when she was troubled that in an area with such an abundance of food, many thousands were going hungry, while at the same time food retailers were throwing out huge quantities of healthy, fresh food. From this insight, the Food Rescue program was born. In a little over 6 years, WPE has rescued and delivered more than 10.5 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food, free of charge, that would otherwise go to waste. This is equivalent to 8,750,000 meals.
In 2014 the White Pony General Store was added to provide high quality clothing, toys, and books to the underserved in our communities—all free of charge. Since that time, the General Store has given away over 512,000 items to those in need.
For more on WPE, visit www.whiteponyexpress.org.
High Quality Data Essential for Combatting the Spread of COVID-19
Martinez, CA – Seven Bay Area jurisdictions are taking a unified, regional step to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). On March 24, the Public Health Officers of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, with the City of Berkeley, announced an order with new reporting requirements for laboratories that test for the novel coronavirus. Laboratories must report results of tests for all residents of each jurisdiction to the ordering health care provider and the appropriate state and local health officials.
Currently, labs report only positive results, making it difficult for public health officials to know how many people are being tested overall. The new order requires laboratories to report all positive, negative, and inconclusive results, and information that allows health officials to better locate the person tested. The more comprehensive information will improve health officials’ understanding of the rates of infection and the location of possible infection clusters
Growing availability of testing through commercial and academic laboratories expands the overall testing capacity beyond small, specialized public health laboratories. The public health laboratory network offers only limited testing for emerging infections such as COVID-19 as other commercial and academic laboratory sectors come on-line. Because of the limited capacity of public health laboratories and the absence of further reporting requirements of private laboratories, the current percentage of cases that are detected through testing is important, but reflects only a small portion of the total number of people infected in our jurisdictions.
“This order will ensure public health officials regionally and across the state have access to the information we need to understand, predict, and combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer. “Commercial and academic laboratories are important partners in providing testing to our community. Receiving this critical information from those labs will help local health departments respond to COVID-19 during this unprecedented time.”
The laboratory reporting order follows new data of increasing local transmission of COVID-19, including 930 confirmed cases with 19 deaths shared by the seven jurisdictions. The Bay Area’s total count of 930 confirmed COVID-19 cases is more than half of California’s case count. This does not account for the rapidly increasing number of assumed cases of community transmission.
“Expanding reporting beyond positive results to include timely reporting of negative and inconclusive results allows local health officials to better understand whether there are areas of the community that are experiencing more intense transmission and project future trends in in the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, Health Officer, City & County of San Francisco. “By sharing high quality test result data at scale, state and local health authorities can better track COVID-19, predict its spread, and better focus public resources to end this global pandemic.”
For more information about COVID-19 activities in these areas, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, or Berkeley COVID-19 websites.
Initial investment will assist those most directly impacted, including health care workers, seniors, and people experiencing food insecurity and homelessness
Funding will also aid hard-hit states, including California
UnitedHealth Group, UnitedHealthcare and Optum continue to mobilize resources, expertise and workforce to address COVID-19 crisis
Minnetonka, MN (March 26, 2020) – UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) will invest an initial $50 million to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and support those most directly impacted by the public health emergency, including health care workers, hard-hit states, seniors and people experiencing food insecurity or homelessness.
“As this unprecedented public health emergency rapidly evolves, we must take bold actions to support those in need and combat the COVID-19 virus,” said Dave Wichmann, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group. “This initial investment of $50 million will support that effort, as we continue to mobilize the full strength of our resources, deep clinical expertise, and compassionate team to deliver the best care for patients, support our members and care providers, and deliver innovative solutions that will benefit the entire health care system.”
Through several national and local partnerships that will be announced in the coming weeks, UnitedHealth Group and United Health Foundation will invest approximately:
- $30 million in efforts to protect and support health care workers;
- $10 million to support states where COVID-19 is having an outsized impact, starting with California, New York, New Jersey, Washington and Florida;
- $5 million to address social isolation among seniors; and
- $5 million to provide care and support for people experiencing food insecurity or homelessness.
- UnitedHealth Group is also organizing and matching employee donations dollar for dollar to support the COVID-19 response efforts.
“We are partnering with leading industry and non-profit organizations to ensure resources are deployed quickly and effectively to accelerate the efforts to fight COVID-19 and provide support for those most impacted by this global health crisis,” Wichmann continued.
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping to make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.
SAN RAMON, CA – School of Rock, the leader in performance-based music education, has launched virtual, one-on-one music lessons for its 40,000 students around the world through its School of Rock Remote program. The program is in response to the growing number of citizens being asked to remain in their homes or limit travel.
Students will use video conferencing to meet with their skilled music instructor from the comfort and safety of their own home. The new virtual lesson room coupled with School of Rock’s proprietary Method App™, SongFirst™ approach and Method Books™ will offer a comprehensive music learning experience that is fun, educational and safe during the current circumstances.
“At School of Rock, the health and safety of our students is our top priority, which is why we have rapidly adapted our operations in order to meet students’ needs,” said Rob Price, CEO of School of Rock. “School of Rock Remote along with our School of Rock Method App is a fantastic way to provide continuity and connection. Our instructors are gigging musicians, and they have shown their flexibility to make sure the music goes on.”
“We are thrilled to provide our students the ability to continue their music education from wherever they are, and allow them to maintain familiar routines while they are stuck inside and dealing with an uncertain reality.” says Toni Baker, Owner and GM of School of Rock San Ramon. “School of Rock Remote allows us to provide the same level of instruction that we’re known for, but in a way that prioritizes health and safety.”
Additionally, Hal Leonard, the world’s largest print music publisher of performance and instructional material, has partnered with School of Rock to provide students a free 60-day pass to SheetMusicDirect.com, a nearly endless library of notation in virtually every genre, including rock. Sheet Music Direct PASS is the world’s leading digital sheet music subscription service.
For more information about School of Rock Remote and how to sign up for virtual lessons, please visit https://locations.schoolofrock.com/sanramon
ABOUT SCHOOL OF ROCK:
School of Rock provides students of all ages an exciting and engaging learning environment for taking guitar lessons, drum lessons, bass lessons, keyboard lessons, and singing lessons. Drawing from all styles of rock and roll, School of Rock students learn theory and techniques via songs from legendary artists such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Frank Zappa. Thanks to the school’s performance-based approach, students around the world have gained superior instrumental skills and confidence on the big stage, with some moving on to record deals and larger platforms such as American Idol, The Voice and Broadway.
Earn on Average $21 an Hour; Service Features Include Instant Online Booking, Adjustable Schedules and Straightforward Pricing, for Both Local and National Moves
The Company is Also Providing Financial Assistance to Qualifying Bellhops Movers and Drivers Diagnosed with COVID-19 or Placed in Individual Quarantine by a Public Health Authority or Medical Professional
(Chattanooga, TN) – March 25, 2020 – Moving is something we all do and at times cannot be avoided, even when faced with a worldwide pandemic like COVID-19. Bellhops, an online service for moving, is committed to keep coordinating moves for those in need and is currently looking to add thousands of movers and drivers to their platform across the country. The company, which organizes moving services in over 65 markets, is also providing financial assistance to certain existing Bellhops movers and drivers that are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority or medical professional. A full list of Bellhops markets can be viewed at GetBellhops.com/locations/.
Moving is already stressful, but with our current health crisis, now more than ever customers need top-notch customer service and a quick and easy solution for obtaining on-demand movers. With its unique technology and booking experience and on-demand moving partners, Bellhops helps to create a moving experience that is more efficient, affordable and reliable than those found with traditional moving companies. Bellhops also provides a photo with star-rating of movers to each customer 24 hours prior to the move.
“Americans are still having to move. Whether it’s due to the end of a lease or they are renting or purchasing a new home, they need help,” said Luke Marklin, CEO of Bellhops. “As an essential service, Bellhops is working tirelessly to ensure those who need to move have the assistance they need. This also means we have work opportunities for those impacted by layoffs and pay cuts.”
Bellhops moving professionals earn on average $21 an hour, including tips and bonuses, and professional drivers can earn over $40 an hour per move. They get paid weekly and movers receive extra compensation for referrals. To find jobs, local movers simply enter their schedule in the Bellhops mobile app and get matched with customers who need help moving. Those interested in providing moving or driving services on the Bellhops platform can apply at: GetBellhops.com/being-a-bellhop/.
“At a time when companies coast to coast are making the difficult decision to lay off workers, we are proud to be adding more moving and driving partners in our markets,” continued Marklin. “As Bellhops continues its rapid growth, we foresee the need to bring on even more moving and driving partners to meet demand and offer work opportunities during this difficult crisis.”
For anyone that has already booked a move via Bellhops and is worried about how COVID-19 may impact their plans, they can get more information at GetBellhops.com/help/faq/.
For more info on the support Bellhops is offering movers and drivers on their platform visit: bit.ly/2wyyPqn.
With over 200,000 moves booked through Bellhops and an average star rating of 4.8, unheard of in the industry, Bellhops is bringing Americans a better way to move. In 2019, Bellhops service providers carried and transported over 4.6 million boxes, totaling 72 million pounds. Bellhops service providers also logged more than 375,000 miles, including one of the longest moves ever conducted by a Bellhops service provider from Hartford to Seattle. In total, Bellhops service providers spent more than 480,000 hours helping Americans get settled into their new lives.
In 2011, Bellhops started as a simple solution for college students looking for help moving into dorms. Today, with the experience of having arranged hundreds of thousands of moves, Bellhops now helps to provide moving solutions for customers in more than 60 cities nationwide. By pairing AI technology with best-in-class customer service, Bellhops is transforming the dated $18B moving industry, creating flexible work opportunities and changing the way Americans move from place to place.
For more information, please visit GetBellhops.com/
To apply to be a mover: GetBellhops.com/being-a-bellhop/
To apply to be a driver: GetBellhops.com/drive-for-bellhops/
By Susan Shiu, Director, Office of Communications and Media, Contra Costa County
The Contra Costa County Tax Collector’s Office understands and shares the public’s concern about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our residents and businesses, and we are committed to helping in any way we can. While we have no legal authority to extend the April 10 property tax delinquent deadline, we can cancel late-payment charges.
- Existing law R&T 4985.2 authorizes us to cancel penalties and interest on a delinquent payment due to circumstances, such as the pandemic that impacts a taxpayer’s ability to make timely payment. Note the penalty cancellation process will require documentation.
- Nevertheless, those able to pay should do so online, over the phone, through bill pay at one’s own bank, or by mail. We will honor the U.S. Postal Services’ cancellation postmark as the receiving day for mail-in payments. The Office cannot accept walk-in payments.
- For receipt of payment, a copy of your tax bill with the installment’s payment date is available online in View Bill under Account Lookup. We can mail you a copy as well.
For the latest updates on the impacts of the COVID-19 on property tax deadlines, please refer to the Statement from Russell V. Watts, Treasurer-Tax Collector.
Hold online, virtual meeting; county’s homeless population increases 43%
By Daniel Borsuk
Forced to meet remotely in an inaugural teleconference board meeting Tuesday, Contra Costal County Board of Supervisors learned the county is lean on supplies to combat the rising COVID-19 pandemic.
Circumstances are getting so dire, Contra Costa Health Services officials have put out the call for donations from the public for surgical protective equipment and supplies for healthcare providers as concerns emerge the county cannot deliver an adequate amount of medical gear and supplies for emergency workers to be adequately protected while treating those potentially affected by COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth told supervisors 71 county residents now have contracted COVID-19 and one person has died, an increase from 10 COVID-19 cases when Roth released her initial report to the Supervisors 21 days ago on March 3. Twenty-two persons are currently waiting for lab test results, reported Roth. (As of Wednesday that figure had increased to 86 confirmed cases in the county).
When Supervisors individually met via teleconference, Contra Costa Health Services along with six other Bay Area medical entities had earlier announced a unified, regional program designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 by ordering laboratories testing for COVID-19 to report comprehensive testing data to local and state authorities.
In addition, the county is stepping up the wide gap in procuring medical supplies and gear for health care workers. “We are making preparations for more people to become sick,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer.
A call has gone out to the public from Contra Costa Health Services to donate protective medical supplies for health care workers. Those supplies include eye protection including goggles and face shields, antibacterial and disinfecting wipes, typically alcohol or bleach based, excluding baby wipes. The county also needs N-95 and surgical masks in unopened containers, and disposable medical gowns.
The county has designated three donation centers that will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The donation centers are at West County, 151 Linus Pauling Dr., Hercules; Central County, 1750 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill; and East County, 4545 Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch.
County Administrator David Twa said the County has started to buy motel rooms nearby medical work sites so tired and overworked emergency workers can get sleep and avoid having to travel home during the nationwide health emergency.
“Some people say this COVID-19 pandemic is going to dip into our reserves. Well, we have already seen COVID-19 dip into our reserves,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill who was frustrated with the likely fiscal impact as well as the technical problems that flared up during the two-hour supervisors’ teleconference meeting. Mitchoff requested that a better teleconference program replace the current program.
Supervisors are expected to begin their review of the proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget via teleconference at next week’s board meeting.
Homeless Population Increases 43 Percent
In other business, Lavonna Martin, director of the Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services, informed supervisors that the county’s homeless population in 2019 increased 43 percent in two years. Based on a department survey there were 2,295 homeless persons counted in 2019 in comparison to 1,607 in 2017. In 2018, there were 2,234 homeless persons.
The 2019 report indicates 1,398 persons are in the 25 to 54-year-old age bracket. The survey found that 165 persons were 62 years old or older.
Sixty-three percent of the families that are homeless can be served by available shelters with 201 beds, but only 28 percent of the single adults can be served by shelters, according to the study.
Psychiatric Emergency Service Project
Supervisors gave the go ahead for the Public Health Commission to conduct public hearings on the proposed remodel project for the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s over-used Psychiatric Emergency Services – PES – located in the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez.
Current conditions at the PES are deemed to be a danger to patients, to the general public.
The objectives of the PES project are to separate children, ages 7 through 12, and adolescents, ages 13 through 17 years, from adult patients, and provide a larger dedicated space more conducive to a therapeutic environment to better support youth and their families, the addition of a confidential triage space at the entrance of the PES, and expansion of treatment space for adults.
Supervisors were shown three project options. Option 1 would cost $3.7 million and add 2,101 square feet to the existing 5,370 square foot facility. Option 2, the recommended option, would cost $4,920,968 and would add 2,265 square feet to the current facility, and Option 3 would cost $8,332.471 to add 3,499 square feet to the existing facility.