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April 27, 2020
There is good news amidst so much bad news. The good news is that our compliance with the shelter-in-place orders has flattened the curve of infection in Marin County, at least temporarily. This means that, thanks to the self-discipline practiced by our people, the health care system has been given time to ramp up and fewer people have become really sick. The bad news is that we are still in the middle of a pandemic, and neither the County nor the State is ready to lift the stay at home order set to expire on May 3, 2020 (although the Governor has modified the order to let elective surgeries proceed). Thus, prohibitions on non-essential gardeners and contractors remain in effect for the time being. These restrictions are not local controls; Belvedere police must enforce the orders issued at the county and state levels. A good source of updates can be found at Get Ready Marin. https://readymarin.org/ And, we will keep you updated through the city website www.cityofbelvedere.org as we learn more.
While the horrendous statistics worldwide are hard to fathom, even the enormous tragedy close to home is hard to grasp. Covid-19 has killed nearly 1,500 Californians this year. On April 22, Gov. Newsom reported the sad news that 115 patients suffering from Covid-19 had died just that day, making it the deadliest day in California since the pandemic began. So, we are not yet in the clear.
Right now, there are nearly 37,369 confirmed cases statewide and thousands more unconfirmed. We have no idea how widespread contagion is in Marin, because the county has still not gotten testing supplies promised by the federal government. There has been a lot of media attention concerning antibody testing. County Health Director Dr. Matt Willis, explains the state of testing here.
Meanwhile: masks. Last week, following recently-revised recommendations from the CDC, the Marin County Public Health department ordered citizens to don face coverings under certain conditions such as:
• When inside public spaces or waiting in line to enter public spaces.
• When seeking health care.
• While waiting for or riding on mass transit or other shared transportation.
• When in common areas of buildings, such as hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities.
• When working at businesses physically open and in areas where the public is present, likely to be present, or at any time when others are nearby.
• While working in any space where food is being prepared and/or packaged for sale.
• When serving as Drivers/Operators of public transit.
Seamstresses, cosplayers, and quilters have leapt into action. Face masks are suddenly the rage – the more creative, the better! We want to thank Sydney and Sharon Moseley for masks for City Hall, Sweet Things Bakery employees and many others. It buoys the spirit to see so many people meet this moment with creativity and generosity.
Another way to slow the spread and protect yourself is by disinfecting your home. While some housecleaners are still working, most residents in town are handling these chores themselves. It is important to be thorough and to follow best practices. The Centers for Disease Control advises that EPA-recommended bleach-based products are best for disinfecting household surfaces, and that hand sanitizers need at least 60-70% alcohol solution to be effective. Plastic bags and items delivered by mail should be washed down with soap and water before being put away. The EPA cautions against mixing cleaning products. Especially, DO NOT apply household cleansers directly to food or ingest such chemicals at any time.
Despite all our efforts, we do know that the virus has spread to Southern Marin and we are continuing to use this valuable time to prepare for an increase in illness among us. Thankfully, most people who contract Covid-19 will be able to recover at home – but this places family members in the difficult position of becoming caregivers. Family caregivers are the new superheroes, and we hope they will receive the support (at safe distance) they need and deserve. We urge everyone to study up on the CDC guidelines you can find here.
If you are a caregiver, please protect yourself – you are important not only to your family, but also to our entire community. Be sure to isolate the sick person in a separate bedroom and bath, stay in close contact with your doctor, administer Tylenol for headache and fever, provide lots of fluids, check in frequently for warning signs, use an oximeter for oxygen levels and a thermometer for fever readings, and make sure the patient can get lots of sleep and rest. Take care of yourself by staying in touch with friends, neighbors and other family members.
If you need help, lean on your block captains. In the last few weeks, our Block Captain Steering committee has been working round-the-clock to bolster the program, and we now have about 85% coverage. Check out more at https://www.cityofbelvedere.org/347/Belvedere-Block-Captains and their new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/belvederecaptains/
While we are busy addressing COVID-19, we have not forgotten that fire season is upon us. Although cosmetic gardening is prohibited, the job of clearing brush and vegetation management is essential activity. Please contact Fire Marshall Mike Lantier for information and an application form at email@example.com. Although we hope it will not be needed, PG&E has advised that it may use proactive power shutoffs (PSPS) as fire season progresses. With the help of our valued Block Captains, we are preparing for this possibility as well, and will keep you posted.
Finally, at this time, we want to caution against misinformation, divisiveness, conspiracy theories and irrational behavior. We all would prefer that life go back to normal. But that is not possible yet. We are living through a global historical event, and we must get through it together.
Government leaders on every level – local, county, regional, state and federal – have said that reopening depends first and foremost on reliable testing. Governor Newsom has said his decisions will be based on facts, true data and medical expertise. Marin HHS will follow suit. Belvedere is bound to comply with the regional and state orders on this matter.
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020, came and went without the public events that had long been planned in parks and schools and other public places. But here in Belvedere, the beautiful Earth Day weather invited people to get out and walk - with social distancing - and many commented on the clear air, unprecedented views over the bay, varied birdsong, swallowtail butterflies, audible humming of honeybees, and the evening quiet. Even now, there is so much to be grateful for.
Mayor Nancy Kemnitzer
City Manager Craig Middleton
Dr. Tom Cromwell