The National League of Cities learned today two attendees of the Congressional City Conference 2020 have tested positive for COVID-19. The individuals were active participants in the conference—attending general sessions and workshops.
The conference attendees are currently under the care of healthcare professionals, recovering at home and feeling better.
The health and safety of our conference guests is our top priority. While we are not able to officially determine how and when these individuals contracted the virus, nor are we permitted under privacy laws to disclose the names of individuals, we wanted to alert you immediately on the potential exposure risk. At this time, these are the only two known confirmed cases.
Through guidance provided by the DC Health department, if you are feeling sick, please stay at home. Contact your healthcare provider immediately to let them know you may have been exposed and need to be evaluated.
As we each navigate this unprecedented time in our country, we understand the additional anxiety this news may cause. We will continue to update you as we learn of any additional information on www.ccc.nlc.org and through email. For frequently asked questions, please visit this page. If you have any immediate questions please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
An increasing number of public safety personnel – police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics – have been ordered into 14-day quarantine at home or in quarters after exposure to a COVID-19 positive patient.
At the time of writing this, we are aware of 27 Kirkland Wash. firefighters and two police officers; four King County (Wash.) EMS paramedics, including two interns; 77 San Jose firefighters; six Reedy Creek (Florida) firefighters; and five FDNY EMS providers who have been ordered into quarantine. There is a high likelihood additional personnel will be reported as in quarantine, quarantine completed, or released from quarantine in the days ahead.
COVID-19 implications, including quarantine of exposed personnel, have the potential to significantly impact mission readiness of public safety agencies. Though to our knowledge, all agencies have reported no interruption of service through a combination of call-ups and mutual aid, this could change rapidly if additional personnel are exposed, test positive or are experiencing serious symptoms. Most worrisome is one of the San Jose firefighters is reported to be in “grave condition.”
Kirkland Fire and Rescue ambulance workers work near an ambulance after a patient was loaded for transport, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., near Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
RETURN TO WORK AFTER COVID-19 EXPOSURE
King County (Washington) EMS issued quarantine guidance for “return to work following exposure to confirmed COVID-19 infection.” On March 7, 2020, the CDC issued work restriction guidance for healthcare providers based on the exposure category and source control.
The full King County EMS document, dated March 7, 2020, is embedded below.
An asymptomatic individual may return to work after 14-days.
An individual with symptoms, but a negative COVID-19 test, has a different illness and may return to work following resolution of symptoms.
A symptomatic individual who tests positive for COVID-19 “needs to remain in isolation until the illness resolves and repeat testing confirms negative status.”
In King County, any return to work decision needs to be made in consultation with “clinicians, public health officials and the Health Officer.” Your department’s position titles, and roles and responsibilities may vary. The return-to-work decision will likely involve some combination of a medical director, infection control officer and public health officials.
MAINTAIN MISSION READINESS
It remains important that every public safety provider continue to follow these critical practices to maintain mission readiness:
Don and doff PPE correctly
Clean equipment and vehicles
Frequent soap and water handwashing
Stay home if sick
Practice and advocate for social distancing
Public safety providers should take additional precautions by encouraging social distancing – don’t attend mass gatherings and limit trips from home – by their family, roommates, relatives and close friends.
Read the article: https://www.efficientgov.com/emergency-management/articles/how-long-to-quarantine-covid-19-exposed-police-officers-firefighters-emts-and-paramedics-XJnE4WGakSF1wtS0
Read the full guidelines at https://www.lamayor.org/sites/g/files/wph446/f/article/files/Mayor%20Memo%20-COVID-19%20LA%20City%20Guidelines.pdf
Just as people were trying to wrap their heads around the idea of a very quiet month of March, San Francisco has now issued a public health order banning gatherings of 100 or more people through April.
That order, which is effect until April 30, will presumably shut down most theaters, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment/community gathering spots in the city.
The announcement was made by Mayor London N. Breed on Friday, March 13, and dubbed a necessary move to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the city and county of San Francisco.
“This new Order is an important measure to support public health,” Mayor Breed said. “We need everyone to follow the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID‑19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and the state, and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“We know cancelling events and gatherings is a challenge for everyone, but it is essential that we take this step.”
This is an escalation of the previous recommendation of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), which had called for cancelling or postponing events of 250 people or more.
And, in some cases, keeping the event at under 100 people might still be too risky. The DPH is now recommending that organizations that serve vulnerable populations cancel gatherings that draw over 10 people.
This new order, limiting gatherings to under 100, does not apply to essential government services, transit, office space, hotels, residential buildings, grocery stores, shopping malls, retail establishments, hospitals, medical facilities, community serving organizations like food banks and other such facilities.
One of the goals with limiting gathering sizes is to “allow for appropriate social distancing, restaurants that have a capacity of between 100 and 500 people are allowed to continue operating as long as they reduce their occupancy in half up to a maximum of 100 patrons. For example, a restaurant that has an occupancy of 150 is allowed to operate if it reduces its occupancy in half to 75,” according to a news release.
“Today’s action builds on our recommendations last week for social distancing, and makes it easier for people to know exactly how they can help reduce the spread of the virus. Because the virus needs people to spread, by reducing the times and places where large groups of people come together, we can effectively slow it down,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of health.
“We hope that this order will encourage people to skip social gatherings for the time being, and promote telecommuting and social distancing. Together, we can fight the spread of coronavirus, reduce harm to our community, and protect the most vulnerable people.”
San Francisco is not alone in temporarily banning mass gatherings. Other areas to do include Contra Costa County, which just announced it was prohibiting gatherings of 100 or more people through March.
Read the full article: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/03/14/san-francisco-bans-gatherings-of-100-or-more-through-april
Update: On March 18, President Donald Trump announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend evictions and foreclosures until the end of April. Government-backed mortgage buyers, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will do the same for at least 60 days.
As the nation responds to the coronavirus outbreak, moratoriums on evicting renters take hold in cities and counties as means to curb the spread of the novel virus and mitigate the social and financial distress caused by it.
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) estimates that 43 million households or 109 million people in the U.S. are renters. According to the Eviction Lab, a Princeton-based endeavor led by sociologist Matthew Desmond, evictions occurred at an estimated rate of four every minute in 2016.
Apartment List, an online marketplace for rentals, states that 3.7 million American renters have experienced an eviction. The latter disproportionately befalls households with children, who are twice as likely to face housing insecurity regardless of marital status, Apartment List says.
Displacing renters amid the coronavirus outbreak, which led President Trump to declare a national emergency this week, could intensify the transmission of the disease.
“It would be both wrong and dangerous to kick people out of their homes during this public health emergency,” Laura Curran, county executive of Nassau County in Long Island, New York, said on Twitter.
On Friday, Curran placed a moratorium on evictions.
Also yesterday, the Real Estate Board of New York, REBNY, together with apartment owners representing over 150,000 rental units pledged to suspend eviction warrants for the next 90 day in light of “the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.”
“We will help our residents weather this crisis safely in their homes,” REBNY Chairman William C. Rudin and REBNY President James Whelan stated in an open letter signed by nearly 30 building owners and managers.
“Starting immediately, we are voluntarily pledging that we will not execute any warrant of eviction for the next  days unless it is for criminal or negligent behavior that jeopardizes the life, health or safety of other residents,” the letter reads. “With all the stress, health risk and economic suffering going on now, no one should have to worry about losing their place to live during this crisis.”
No evictions for those who can prove adverse impact by COVID-19
Across the country, in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed issued a city-wide moratorium on evictions on Friday. The executive order, which will initially last for a month, will shield residents from losing their homes due to financial hardship related to business closures, layoffs, working hours cuts or medical expenses incurred because of COVID-19.
“This moratorium will help people stay stable if they lose income because they get sick, a family member gets sick, or their job is impacted by the economic damage the coronavirus is causing,” Breed said in a press release.
Under Breed’s order, tenants struggling to meet their monetary lease obligations because of “a COVID-19 related impact” must notify their landlords and substantiate their inability to pay rent with documentation. After the emergency declaration is lifted, tenants will have up to six months to catch up on any back-due rent.
Rent help rather than eviction halt
Breed’s measure resembles the ban on evictions approved by city lawmakers in San Jose, California, earlier this week. There, rental property owners, who face penalties and fees if they do not comply with the moratorium, protested the measure, San Jose Spotlight reported.
The news outlet cites Yolanda Chavez saying, ““I’m a mom-and-pop landlord who has worked three jobs to pay rent while I attended San Jose State University full-time. I worked hard and I’m still working hard. I have to make my payments, how am I going to make my payments and pay my mortgages?”
Addressing the challenges that landlords could experience because of eviction prohibitions, the NMHC is advocating for federal short-term financial assistance to renters, instead.
In a press release yesterday, the Council made its case by quoting Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program Fellow Jenny Schuetz, who writes, “Short-term financial assistance would help poor families continue paying rent and buying food until the broader economy stabilizes. It would be more effective than a temporary moratorium on evictions (as some jurisdictions have enacted), since landlords also need money to pay their mortgages, property taxes, and utilities.”
Yet, eviction moratoriums, achieved through executive measures, court orders or police declarations, are also in place in Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Miami-Dade County in Florida; Montgomery County in Virginia; and Travis County in Texas.
More eviction moratoriums considered
Meanwhile, city council members in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. are pushing for a halt on evictions.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter, “As we work to contain the spread of coronavirus, we must ensure people aren’t being evicted from their homes. I strongly support the proposal for a temporary moratorium and will work with the City Council to get it passed as quickly as possible.”
In Seattle, the largest city in Washington, the state where the most COVID-19 cases have been reported so far, Mayor Jenny Durkan said yesterday that she will issue a ban on evictions. Her announcement followed a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence.
“We cannot let individuals lose their homes or go hungry at this critical time,” she said in a statement. “Over the coming days, we will announce more support from the City for individuals and families and be prepared to connect more individuals with other non-profit and philanthropic resources.”
While cities and counties are considering individual, local actions, four Assembly members in California’s State Legislature penned a letter on Friday to Governor Gavin Newsom and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to stop evictions and eviction lawsuits state-wide for a minimum of 45 days.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also called for “an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and on utility shut-offs.” The U.S. Senator spoke Thursday in his home state of Vermont.
On federal level, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) published a joint statement yesterday, urging President Trump to “to issue an immediate, nationwide moratorium on all foreclosures on and evictions” from properties owned or insured by federal agencies or enterprises.
“Foreclosure and eviction moratoriums have previously been implemented in response to a variety of natural disasters including hurricanes, floods, and tornados,” the senators state. “Considering that Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has already proven to be equally or more disruptive, deadly, and widespread, the precedent for weather related natural disasters should inform our decision to restrict foreclosures and evictions in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health pandemic.”
Read the article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dimawilliams/2020/03/14/cities-and-counties-halt-evictions-to-fight-the-coronavirus
Officials with the North Little Rock School District announced Friday they will provide meals to students next week.
Monday through Friday, any North Little Rock School District student will be able to pick up lunch between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at North Little Rock High School, Glenview Elementary, Boone Park Elementary, Ridge Road Elementary, Seventh Street Elementary and Amboy Elementary.
Spokesman Dustin Barnes said any student can attend any site, no matter where they live. He said the meals will be a grab-and-go lunch, and that students will not be allowed to eat on-site.
On Friday, any Little Rock area students — regardless of where they are enrolled — will be able to pick up a lunch between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at most Little Rock district schools. Beginning at 8:30 a.m. today, parents will be able to visit the following websites to find the nearest school providing meals: LittleRock.gov/covid19 or lrsd.org.
To prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus, students will not be allowed to eat the meals on-site.
Those in need of transportation will be able to travel on Rock Region Metro’s city fixed routes, information about which can be found at rrmetro.org. Youths age 12-18 will be able to ride Rock Region Metro buses for free from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children who are 11 and younger are required to travel with one guardian, and each will be able to ride for free during the same period.
Partner organizations working to support students include the Central Arkansas Library System, the Clinton Foundation and the Hunger Relief Alliance.
The group expects to have details about an extended feeding program by Monday.
Read the article: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/mar/13/north-little-rock-school-district-provide-meals-st
Individuals experiencing homelessness include many older adults, often with compounding disabilities, who reside in large congregate facilities or in unsheltered locations with poor access to sanitation. Their age, poor health, disability, and living conditions make them highly vulnerable to illness. Once COVID-19 is introduced to this high-risk population, further transmission will be very difficult to contain. Homeless service providers and system leaders are uniquely situated to partner with state leaders to protect the health and well-being of this highly vulnerable population, and should implement all possible measures to do so.
Last week, the President signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) to provide emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The programs funded under the bill include grants for state, local, and tribal public health agencies and organizations, who are now developing plans to reduce the risk of virus transmission to vulnerable populations within their jurisdiction.
To be as effective as possible, these groups should be certain to involve homeless service system providers and leaders in strategic planning, and explore how they can support homeless providers to reduce the risk of virus transmission. This post provides guidance around three main areas: involving Continuums of Care (CoCs) in planning, funding for homeless services providers, and how to stay informed of federal guidance and other resources.
Involving CoCs in State and Local Planning
State and local leaders should tap representatives from CoCs to participate in strategic planning. This will help ensure the needs of a high-risk population are well understood and attended to in the development of a comprehensive plan. The federal government relies on CoCs to assess local need and prioritize federal funding for housing and service interventions for people experiencing homelessness; as such, CoCs should be a necessary part of COVID-19 response to vulnerable populations.. Primarily made up of local homeless service providers, advocates and individuals with lived experience, CoCs assess the extent of homelessness (including unsheltered homelessness) within a locality and evaluate the performance of the collective local response. They are well-positioned to identify local strengths, gaps, and vulnerabilities within the locality or state they cover, and can be a critical resource in addressing a COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness.
Provide Funding to Homeless Service Providers to Reduce Transmission Risk
States and localities should fund CoCs to implement interventions that can reduce the transmission of the coronavirus within the homeless population. Homeless service providers (including providers of medical street outreach, emergency shelter, day shelter, outreach programs, case managers and diversion and housing specialists), are on the front line each day working with those at greatest risk. These providers can implement key interventions prioritized by public health departments to reduce disease transmission.
While use of funding must reflect the needs of each individual community, public health officials and homeless service providers may want to prioritize spaces in which highly vulnerable homeless adults congregate in large numbers. Examples of how new funding can be used to reduce risk of transmission into the homelessness population include:
Expanding outreach services to unsheltered individuals. This may include dedicating homeless outreach staff to accompany mobile public health services staff to ensure public health screening, education, and support services reach unsheltered individuals. It may also include equipping people living without shelter with supplies to stay safe (e.g. hand sanitizer, access to water) and resources for to bring indoors those in acute need (e.g. motel vouchers for older adults with respiratory illnesses).
Reducing high concentrations of highly vulnerable adults living in close proximity:
Targeting housing subsidies and available affordable housing units to highest risk individuals experiencing homelessness (older adults in poor health and/or with respiratory conditions) and expedite take-up of resources (reduce time it takes to inspect units, process paperwork, etc.).
Providing short-term rental assistance to help people quickly return to housing where they will be safe.
Providing help for homeless adults to reconnect with family or attain independent permanent housing, including:
limited flexible financial assistance (equivalent to 2 months of rental assistance)
Housing navigation services
Problem-solving and diversion services
Expanding temporary shelter capacity to reduce both unsheltered homelessness and reliance on overcrowded shelters. This may include:
bringing new temporary housing options online (e.g. renting apartments that can be used for short-term shelter);
working with faith communities to bring unused space on-line for shelter;
extending “seasonal” shelter options; and
allowing shelters and day programs to increase hours of operation (e.g. allow emergency shelter to stay open 24 hours a day, or allow day shelters to operate 7-days a week).
Ramping up efforts to reduce barriers to shelter and transitional housing programs. When homeless shelter programs do not admit pets, or provide shelter conditioned on following a service plan, vulnerable people will choose to forgo a bed and remain outdoors. We cannot afford to let safe beds go unused in the midst of this crisis.
Improving the hygienic conditions where large numbers of people experiencing homelessness congregate. This may include providing funds to increase the sanitary conditions of building facilities (e.g. shelters or churches that regularly host lunch or dinner programs), or providing mobile services (e.g. handwashing stations) that allow unsheltered individuals to regularly wash hands and provide self-care. It may also include funding to allow for ongoing deep cleaning of shelter and food programs, whoh might require funding for maintenance personnel and cleaning supplies.
Expanding case management capacity to help homeless individuals access health care screenings and services, including providing support services to homeless individuals who may need to be quarantined by local health officials as a preventative measure.
Reduce new entries into homelessness by ensuring individuals exiting prison, jail and hospitals are connected to housing. Provide legal representation, social work services, and flexible financial assistance to prevent vulnerable adults and families from losing their housing.
It may be too much to hope that individuals experiencing homelessness will not join those already impacted from the coronavirus. Like everyone else, individuals who experience homelessness will require a safe place to self-quarantine. They will have fewer financial and social resources to withstand the need to self-quarantine, so they must be considered when developing plans for those who are diagnosed.
Stay Abreast of Developments
The suggestions outlined above are among many other strategies that states and localities can adopt to protect people experiencing homelessness. Information about the coronavirus is developing rapidly, and the Alliance is grateful to federal and nonprofit partners who are adding to the knowledge base. Some valuable (not exhaustive) resources to protect homeless people from the coronavirus include:
ness blog post with resources as they become available.
Read the article: https://endhomelessness.org/covid-19-what-state-and-local-leaders-can-do-for-homeless-populations/
As more cases of COVID-19, the Coronavirus, are identified in the United States, local leaders must answer the question about their own role in responding to the outbreak. The good news is that cities, towns and villages have longstanding emergency protocols for public health emergencies such as this and now is the time to show leadership.
Here are three things to prioritize with your local response:
1. Keep Calm and Clearly Communicate Information to Residents
Historically, the United States public health system is adept at responding to global outbreaks and has done so successfully in the past with SARS, Zika, H1N1 and Ebola, just to name a few. There is no reason to think that Coronavirus will be any different. A key message to your communities must be: prepare but don’t panic.
Local leaders must ensure that accurate, timely information is communicated to your residents about your emergency response plans, how residents should be preparing at home and how/when they should seek medical care. Included in that coordination is ensuring that schools are relaying accurate information to parents and families, including messaging that might be helpful for children to understand.
Relying on official sources to guide your efforts, such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is critical. Utilize social media, community organizations and official government channels to share health and hygiene recommendations with your residents as well as other pertinent local information.
2. Ensure Coordination Between Local/State Health Departments
While local leaders are on the front lines of the response efforts, effective coordination with state and federal health departments is critical. Ensure that your local health department is in regular communication with the state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Be sure to identify where more federal funds will be needed to support the local response and communicate that information clearly to all partners, including your federal elected representatives.
3. Take Care of Your Team
As employers, cities, towns and villages must also be examining their own sick leave and telework policies so city employees can stay home when they are sick and remain there until they are fever free for 24 hours. City offices and agencies should utilize CDC workplace posters and fact sheets to help share proper prevention protocol, including handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (if soap and water are not available).
Cities should be prepared with staffing contingency plans for absenteeism due to the virus. And, don’t forget about your first responders – ensure that they have the latest information and protection to remain on the front lines!
Information on COVID-19 changes rapidly and staying on top of information can be daunting. NLC will be hosting a conference call with representatives from the Administration after Congressional City Conference (March 8-11) to provide updated information to local leaders. Stay tuned for more information on that call. In the meantime, we hope to see you in DC next week, where we will hear firsthand from the Administration.
Read the article: https://citiesspeak.org/2020/03/03/managing-through-the-coronavirus-what-local-leaders-need-to-know/