This week of April 27th newsletter is to give you the latest update on local issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am working to keep you informed with the most current information available. Remember to visit the NEW County website about COVID-19 by clicking here which will be updated when anything NEW is announced.
Over the weekend, beaches throughout California were inundated with tourists. The first warm weekend weather after six weeks of sheltering in place drew large crowds to our local beaches as well. The impact to our residents and local coastal neighborhoods is unacceptable. The Board of Supervisors will be meeting with our County leadership team to develop new strategies to protect the health of our local residents this Tuesday. Our goal is to come up with an effective and enforceable strategy. This may include closure of the beaches in part, or completely. There will be changes to address this problem when the new Shelter In Place Order comes out this later week. I will circulate this new order as soon as it is public.
The County has been successful in increasing the number of days it takes to double new COVID-19 infections in our county. New modeling information is available on the County's website to help us all understand what we might expect in our community. Check it out here.
The County has entered into a new partnership with Community Foundation Santa Cruz County and UC Santa Cruz to greatly expand testing and to prepare for effective measures after the end of the Shelter In Place Order. The new effort will be led by Maragret Lapiz, a retired health care executive who worked with the County and the Pajaro Valley Health Trust in negotiations when Watsonville Hospital was for sale.
Second Harvest Food Bank has been conducting Community Drive-Through Food Distributions in Watsonville and Santa Cruz to help families in need. Upcoming Community Drive-Through Food Distributions will be held in Watsonville at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds on May 1, May 15, and May 22, and at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on May 8 and May 29. Get more information here.
The County is actively looking for Extra Help Disaster Service Workers to help staff our shelters to support people experiencing homelessness to safely shelter in place. We are especially interested in hiring people with experience supporting vulnerable community members and people with multi-lingual skills. These jobs pay over $20/hour. The County will provide training and orientation to the Sheltering Program, including appropriate personal safety measures and physical distancing protocols. Read more here.
Last Wednesday I held a Telephone Town Hall with Sheriff Jim Hart about COVID-19 issues affecting law enforcement. You can listen to it here.
A weekly press conference will be held with County health officials on Thursday, April 30, at 10:00 a.m. You can watch it on the County's Facebook site by clicking here.
Telephone Town Hall at 6 pm Wednesday
Join me this Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on my Telephone Town Hall with Assistant County Administrative Officer Elissa Benson. We will discuss supportive services for people experiencing homelessness and County efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population.
Wednesday, April 29th
6 pm - 7 pm
To listen in or ask questions at the Telephone Town Hall Meeting
Call 831-454-2222 / Use Collaboration ID Number: 855976
If You Want To Help
Help to "Cover our County" by volunteering to make PPE cloth masks. The County's Health Officer now requires the use of face coverings while engaging with others in public. (Read about covering here.) We have materials if you have the sewing skills. Sign up today at www.santacruzhealth.org/ppedonate by clicking the PPE Donation Form and selecting Cover the County Volunteer. You can also donate funds in support of other PPE that the County needs, including face shields, gowns and gloves, by making a tax deductible contribution through Community Foundation Santa Cruz County by clicking here.