3/24/20 BOS Meeting: COVID-19, Homeless, Childcare, Community Benefit Fund, Renter Protections

Friends, On March 24, 2020, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors held our regularly scheduled meeting through Zoom. For the first time since the founding of Yolo County in 1850, the Board meeting was a virtual meeting with members participating remotely. The meeting, which was recorded and can be found here, included COVID-19 updates from the County Health Officer and our Public Health Director, as well as discussions about sheltering the homeless, childcare for healthcare providers and first responders, a Community Benefit Fund, and renter protections. Details about these items can be read below and a Davis Enterprise article about a few of these items can be read here. Sheltering in place is challenging for us all, but we are doing what is smart and right. I am proud of the leadership in our region. While our minds and bodies (and children) may be getting restless, let us be grateful for the modern amenities that allow us to stay connected, entertained, informed, and educated. In your quarantined houses, give some extra hugs to your kids--as difficult as this is for us adults to deal with, it is likely a hundred times harder for them to understand. As always, please feel free to email me at don.saylor@yolocounty.org to share your thoughts. In shared service, Don


Yolo County Health Officer's COVID-19 Update

Dr. Ron Chapman, the County Health Officer, offered a COVID-19 update, which can be heard here (at 23:00). Highlights from his report include:

  • Nationwide: 45,000 confirmed cases, 600 deaths, numbers are increasing rapidly

  • Statewide (from California Department of Public Health): 2,000 confirmed cases, 40 deaths

  • Yolo County: 9 cases (this has increased to 10), 1 death

  • Testing continues to be a challenge and is very limited. Reported confirmed cases are only the tip of the iceberg because we don't have capacity to test mild cases.

  • There is no treatment or vaccine at this time. Human trials have started and a final vaccine may be available in 12-18 months.

  • Masks are NOT necessary for the general public. Doing so actually wastes valuable resources that must be saved for front line workers--healthcare and emergency responders.

  • Stay home at all costs.

  • Do not gather for parties or social gatherings.

  • Work from home.

  • Wash hands regularly throughout the day.

  • Don't touch your face.

  • These public health measures can slow the spread of this virus.


Public Health Director's Update: Hospitals, Long-term Care Facilities, Supplies

Brian Vaughn, the Yolo County Public Health Director, offered a COVID-19 update, which can be heard here (at 50:10). Highlights from his report include:

  • Hospitals: Woodland and Davis hospitals have created surge plans. While there is no need to enact plans yet, County and hospital staff are in regular communication in case the need arises.

  • Elective surgeries are currently very limited in order to create space in other departments in case a need for additional COVID-19 units arises.

  • Currently, census in hospitals is relatively low and stable. There have been fewer flu cases in recent weeks, a sign that social distancing is working.

  • Long-term Care Facilities: the County is working closely with long-term care facilities and monitoring them very closely. Health Officer orders are limiting or prohibiting visitors to long-term care facilities. Staff is conducting inspections to ensure that facilities are following guidance.

  • Supplies: the County is currently sending weekly requests to the state to gather as much personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, as possible. These will be distributed to healthcare providers throughout the County. If there is a surge, masks will become a concern.


Adult & Aging Branch Director's Update: Homeless Population

Sandra Sigrist, the Adult and Aging Branch Director with Yolo County Health and Human Services, offered an update on the County's homeless population during the COVID-19 crisis. Highlights from her report, which can be heard here (at 57:00), include:

  • The County and the cities have been working together and have currently brought 46 unsheltered individuals indoors in different hotels. As we ramp up to shelter several hundred individuals, we will need full hotel sites with wrap-around services and security for each site. State guidance is to shelter higher risk individuals in the same hotel (in separate rooms) to more efficiently provide extra support.

  • The County has been driving all referrals through city homeless coordinators and has been targeting those at highest risk first, but aims to offer shelter to all unhoused individuals.

  • The County has provided guidance to shared housing settings and to unsheltered individuals to safely navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance includes safety, basic hygiene, and who to contact.

  • Yolobus has assigned buses to each city to travel to the Yolo Food Bank each morning and deliver food to the hotel sites. An HHSA staff person is on each bus.

  • Additional portable toilets and hand washing stations have been deployed throughout the community since most businesses are closed.


Deputy County Administrator's Report: Childcare for Healthcare Providers and First Responders

Jill Cook, Deputy County Administrator for Yolo County, offered an update on the work being done by the Yolo County Emergency Operations Center staff in collaboration with the Yolo County Office of Education in regards to childcare needs for healthcare workers and first responders. Highlights from her report, which can be heard here (at 1:13:00), include:

  • A county-wide survey determined that about 50% of childcare centers and in-home providers remain open and about 100 slots are available for children of healthcare workers and first responders.

  • The County has reached out to Dignity Hospital in Woodland and Sutter Davis Hospital to assess their childcare needs and offer assistance in connecting their workers with childcare providers.


Yolo County Administrator's Report: Yolo Community Fund and Weekly BOS Meetings

Yolo County Administrator, Patrick Blacklock, led a discussion (listen here, at 1:45:00) about a proposed Community Benefit Fund to assist local nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. In partnership with the Yolo Community Foundation and in coordination with Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, this Community Benefit Fund would serve as a central location for donations to be used to assist local non-profit organizations. The supervisors unanimously supported the establishment of and appropriation of $250,000 to help launch this Community Benefit Fund, which aims to do the following:

  • Engage community in countywide donor education campaign to help strengthen efforts to financially support non-profit organizations.

  • Offer technical assistance to local non-profit organizations.

  • Develop community benefit funds to invest in gap areas that are not currently addressed by other areas of support.

A Davis Enterprise article on this topic can be found here. Blacklock also presented the need for weekly Board of Supervisors meetings during this COVID-19 crisis. The supervisors agreed to "meet" weekly.


County Counsel Report: Renter Protections

Assistant County Counsel, Megan Stedtfeld, presented a resolution that dovetails with California Governor's Executive Order N2820, which offers residential and commercial foreclosure protection during the COVID-19 crisis. Ms. Stedtfeld's report, which can be heard here (at 2:06:00), includes the following details:

  • This resolution would temporarily suspend residential and commercial evictions in the unincorporated areas of Yolo County if the basis for eviction is nonpayment of rent due to a decline in income or an increase in medical costs due to COVID-19.

  • Many cities and counties in the state have passed or are considering similar resolutions.

  • Woodland and West Sacramento have already taken some action to address this topic.

  • Davis has adopted a similar ordinance.

  • Winters is continuing to assess.

  • An expiration date of May 31 has been recommended, but a reassessment will occur in 30 days.

  • This does not relieve renters of what they owe; it just allows for delayed payment of rent. At a future meeting, the supervisors will discuss establishing a timeline for renters to pay their past-due rent once we've emerged from the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted this resolution.

The staff report on this item can be found here.