I am writing to share the latest COVID-19 news, to share some perspectives about COVID-19 testing and details of patient information, to invite everyone to join a virtual town hall meeting with Congressman John Garamendi this evening at 6:30 p.m., and to remind you of the virtual format and live-streaming of tomorrow's Board of Supervisors meeting. Please read below for details on these items. Additional COVID-19 resources are also listed below.
The Yolo Way continues to lift my spirits and remind me of how fortunate I am to live and work here with people like you all. Keep it up, friends. As always, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.
In shared service,
The First Yolo County COVID-19 Fatality Has Occurred
We knew it would happen soon, but this is truly terrible news to have to share. For many, our current public health situation is literally a matter of life and death--that makes it so for all of us. I am so grateful for all of the Yolo County residents who are taking extra care to reduce the rate of infection. We need to give the first responders and medical teams a chance to do their work to treat COVID-19 cases and care for other patients who are also in need of their attention. Let us redouble our efforts to keep our distance and wash our hands.
Testing Is Being Strategically Deployed
As of today, March 23, Yolo County has six confirmed cases and one COVID-19-related death. Statewide, the numbers continue to grow with the majority of cases affecting those age 18 to 64. In California, approximately 26,400 tests have been conducted, which includes the latest numbers from commercial and private labs. At least 14,217 results have been received and another 12,100 are pending. While the availability of COVID-19 tests and processing time are steadily improving, as a nation, we are inexcusably lacking in the number of test kits available for our needs. Healthcare providers must make informed and wise decisions about who, when, where, and how to test. Things are rapidly changing and we all hope that testing availability and processing time will continue to ramp up. Uncertainty is difficult for us all--we want information. So let's focus on what we do know. We know that COVID-19 is highly contagious. We know there has been community spread in our community. We know that we are all under a shelter-in-place order. We know to wash our hands, avoid contact with others, and to venture out only for the most essential reasons. Would access to more test kits or knowledge of more test results change your behavior? If your answer is yes, I ask you, why? Right now, we should all be acting as if the next door neighbor has tested positive for COVID-19, the grocery store cart has not been disinfected for a week, and our loved ones all have weakened immune systems. This is not a time to panic, but it is time to take this very seriously. Our actions lead to real consequences, test kits or no test kits.
Patient Information Is Being Protected
Several of you have raised questions about the amount of information provided for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Like most jurisdictions across the country, Yolo County has an obligation to balance the release of information with the privacy of patients and the needs to protect the entire community from further infection. Our answer continues to be: To protect patient privacy, personal health information, such as geographic location, will not be shared. This is based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, which is a federal law that gives individuals rights over their own health information and sets limits on who can know their health information. In order to stay within the law, we will not be releasing personal details about individuals affected by COVID-19 unless warranted by public health need. The County Health Officer makes this determination. In addition to understanding the law, it's also important to understand that where each patient lives, works, shops, or hangs out is irrelevant to our priority, which is to stop the spread of this virus. As we all know, COVID-19 is highly contagious and it is in our community. Regardless of the transmission sites, which are virtually impossible to know, we must respect the orders of the County Health Officer and the Governor and stay at home where we are most likely to be safe from community spread of the virus.
Yolo County Press Release: March 22, 2020
HIPAA Privacy Rule
Congressman Garamendi's Town Hall Tonight
Tonight, at 6:30 p.m., Congressman John Garamendi will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting to discuss COVID-19 and what is being done to protect our communities. Anyone can join the call for free by dialing 855-962-1140. Congressman Garamendi and local health officials will listen to community members' concerns and answer questions related to COVID-19. The event will also be live-streamed on Congressman Garamendi's website.
Congressman Garamendi's Website
Instructions for Joining the 3/24/20 BOS Meeting
1. You are invited to observe the live stream of the Board of Supervisors meeting at https://yolocounty.zoom.us/j/678772526, Meeting ID: 678 772 526 or phone in via 1-301-715-8592 Meeting ID: 678 772 526.
2. If you are joining the meeting via zoom and wish to make a comment on an item, tap your name in the participants list, then tap Raise Hand. If you are joining the meeting by phone, press *9 to indicate a desire to make comment. The chair will call you by name or phone number when it is your turn to comment. Speakers will be limited to 3:00 minutes.
3. If you are watching/listening to the live stream of the Board meeting and wish to make either a general public comment or to comment on a specific agenda item as it is being heard, you may also submit your comment, limited to 250 words or less, to the Clerk of the Board at email@example.com. Every effort will be made to read your comment into the record, but some comments may not be read due to time limitations. Comments received after an agenda item will be made part of the record if received prior to the end of the meeting.
4. If you choose not to observe the Board of Supervisors meeting but wish to make a comment on a specific agenda item, please submit your comment via email by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday prior to the Board meeting. Please submit your comment to the Clerk of the Board firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comment will be placed into the record at the Board meeting.