COVID-19 Update
March 14, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am writing to keep you updated on the City's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your mailbox is probably full of suggestions for what to do and how to keep safe during these unprecedented times. As you may know, some of those emails and posts are full of inaccurate information and misguided advice. Even the smartest and most sophisticated among us can be easily misled. So, please go to these trusted websites for current and accurate information:

I know that this can be a very anxious time for many of you so I urge that we all, myself included, stay focused on how best to protect ourselves and our community. Working closely with our Health Officer, the Alameda County Health Department, and the California Health Department, the city is doing everything it can to help keep residents safe and informed. Dr. Lisa Hernandez,MD, MPH, the City of Berkeley Health Officer, has issued COVID-19 guidelines .

The reality is that the situation is dynamic and our information is expanding and changing daily. All public health experts are clear that our individual and collective actions over the next few weeks will determine the future course of this epidemic . While you may be hearing that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Berkeley is low, the City is taking serious action to try to slow the disease progression. Governor Newsom's Executive Order requests that we focus on essential City business functions and cancel non-essential events.

Maintaining a six foot length between people (social distancing) has been proven effective in other regions. We are encouraging best practices to slow down the spread of this virus so our healthcare system does not become overwhelmed, rates of transmission are slowed, and illness and fatalities are reduced.

Everyone taking precautions, even if you are young and healthy, is essential to our health as a community. Although we all face serious challenges, I am asking for everyone's cooperation during this very troubling health crisis.

My office is open and totally operational. I will be using technology to ensure my full participation in policy making and City decisions as we work together to meet the challenges of the next few months. I would be happy to hear from you by email, telephone, or video-conference. My "All Ears" community office hours are postponed until further notice, as are my annual Fire Safety and Crime Meetings. I will be using these newsletters as a way of sharing as much important information with you as possible.
I am working on developing a plan so that everyone can get what they need as we deal with the pandemic. Call us at (510) 981-7160 if you need help with anything or would just like to chat. In the meantime, please reach out to your neighbors who may be frail or elderly. Call them on the phone or leave a message at their door asking them if they need assistance. At times like these, a small expression of kindness can go a long way! Let's try to come together as a community to help each other through this difficult time.

  • Stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. It’s better for you and it keeps others from getting sick, too. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation. 
  • Call your doctor before going in and seeking care in person. Most people will get better with rest so there is usually no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. 
  • If you are having difficulty breathing or keeping fluids down, go to an emergency room or call 911 right away. 
  • When you call, tell your doctor about your symptoms as well as exposure to someone who has COVID-19 or any recent travel. 
  • Older adults, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical problems are also at higher risk and should communicate with their health care professional as soon as possible if they feel ill.
  • If you come into contact with someone with COVID-19, you should also call a doctor, even if you are not yet showing symptoms.
To summarize: protect yourself and keep our community healthy, limit your contacts . . . even your grandchildren! Wash you hands with soap. Avoid crowds, no more than 10 if you're over 60.

Be well,
Susan Wengraf 
Emergency Notifications
AC Alert  will be Berkeley's primary emergency alerting system for the public. It is one of the tools the City of Berkeley uses to communicate emergency information and instructions to the community. AC Alert can send:
  • Voice alerts to phones
  • SMS text messages
  • Email
  • TTY/TDD messages
   Listed AT&T "land lines" are automatically included to receive voice messages from AC Alert for emergency warnings. Community members must  sign up  to receive voice or text alerts on cell phones, VoIP phones, unlisted phones, TTY/TDDs or through email.

   If you want to receive emergency alerts and updates,  sign up  for AC Alert.
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CALL 311
Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
(510) 981-7160