Daily Update for March 26, 2020

Posted on March 26, 2020


As days turn to weeks, we continue to work tirelessly to bring you the most relevant, up-to-date information about the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting life in Petaluma. In today’s update, we share the latest news on mortgage payment deferrals, school closures, the farmers market, the unsheltered population, eviction protocols and more. Thank you for being part of our amazing community!

COVID-19 UPDATE

Information available in the mainstream media about the COVID-19 pandemic is abundant and, often, overwhelming. In the interest of providing an anchor in the storm of data swirling around us, we’d like to share a wonderful resource brought to us by the County of Sonoma: the Sonoma County Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Dashboard.

Here you will find accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19 with a focus on how it is impacting our local communities. Below are some data points we thought might be of interest to you today:

  • Current cases in California: 3,247
  • Current active cases in Sonoma County: 39
  • People that have recovered in Sonoma County: 4
  • Deaths in Sonoma County thus far: 1

Why isn’t the Public Health Department reporting the location of people who test positive?

Current data indicate that the virus is widespread in the county and, therefore, everyone in the county has a risk of exposure to the virus regardless of where in the county they live. Every hospital in the county is caring for patients who have COVID-19. Providing information on individual cases, therefore, does not provide any benefit to the public, and may instead mislead those not living in a neighborhood with many confirmed cases to falsely think that they are at lower risk.

SCHOOL CLOSURES TO CONTINUE THROUGH MAY – WE’RE HERE TO HELP!

As always, the health and safety of our children and residents is our top priority. The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) recommended yesterday that school districts plan to continue distance learning through at least May 1. SCOE and school district leaders will reconvene mid-April to reassess and determine a date to resume in-person classes.

We understand navigating weeks of constant family togetherness, often while trying to work remotely, is not without its challenges – and we are here to help! The fun folks at our Parks and Recreation department are offering daily activities to help keep kids active, engaged, creative and connected during these days at home. Try yesterday’s Outdoor Scavenger Hunt and follow them @PetalumaParksandRec on Facebook and Instagram for more!

Even our police department is getting in on the fun! Click here to download their coloring book featuring McGruff the Crime Dog and our very own Lt. Lyons.

KEEPING COMMUNITY ACCESS TO FRESH FOOD

As the landscape of food shopping continues to change, we are grateful to have a bountiful farmers market available to our community. Access to high quality local fruits, vegetables and more during this time is truly an invaluable resource.

As per the Governor’s order , farmers markets were deemed as essential. To ensure the a safe and healthy experience for all, we worked with our farmers market partners to ensure protocols were put into place that will keep customers and vendors safe. Below are a few of those measures: Curbside delivery is now available, visit http://www.ilovefarmersmarkets.org/ for more information.

  • Handwashing stations and hand sanitizer now available
  • Only vendors are allowed to touch and bag foods
  • Signage to remind everyone of social distancing requirements
  • Continuous sanitizing of all surfaces
  • Removal of entertainment and any non-essential vendors

PROTECTING OUR UNSHELTERED POPULATION

As we take shelter in our homes, our thoughts are with those who do not have a home to protect them. The City is working with our partners at Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) to ensure the health and safety of our homeless population. COTS is taking numerous precautions within its facility, including proper social distancing, health checks for new residents upon entry, increased sanitizing of all surfaces, and meal-time protocols to ensure proper spacing during mealtime.

For our unsheltered population, the County has allocated Petaluma hand-washing stations and porta potties that will be placed by encampments to increase opportunities for sanitation.

Additionally, the City is participating on a County/Cities homeless COVID task force to collaborate on housing strategies for our unsheltered community throughout the County. The intent is to have proper health care facilities and quarantine options for these individuals who may be symptomatic and to help prevent spread of this virus. Sonoma County has been allocated funding from the State for this purpose, and we want to work with our partners to ensure it is utilized strategically to maximize protection of our most vulnerable residents.

EVICTION MORATORIUM

We know it is the end of the month and residents may be struggling to pay rent because they have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed an Urgency Eviction Defense Ordinance that could give them protections against evictions. Residents may contact the groups below for help and information.

  • Legal Aid Sonoma County at (707)-542-1290 or
  • California Rural Legal Assistance at (707) 528-9941

Additionally, the Governor announced yesterday, additional protections for homeowners as well as other relief efforts for those suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Governor has secured backing from nearly 200 financial institutions to ensure the following allowances be made for those affected by these unprecedented events:

  • 90-day grace period for mortgage payments
  • No negative credit impacts resulting from relief
  • Moratorium on initiating foreclosure sales or evictions
  • Relief from fees and charges

For more information, and to learn how to apply for relief Click here for details on how to apply for relief

PARK CLOSURES

A friendly reminder: All parks in Sonoma County, including City parks, are closed to the public, by Order of the County Health Officer. This order applies to any area of land, beach or water open to the public for recreation. For more information about this County-wide park closure, please visit the County park closure FAQs.

You may also contact Parks and Recreation staff at 707-778-4380 or [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

We realize this is a difficult time and that our beautiful parks are dearly missed. We greatly appreciate your observance of these closures as we all do our part to slow the spread of the virus.

In the meantime, take advantage of the opportunity to walk through our charming neighborhoods and enjoy the vast collection of architectural styles our city has to offer or take an online recreation or exercise class that will be offered by our Parks & Recreation Department- stay tuned for a launch next week. Recreation staff is calling all senior center members to check in, ensure their well-being, and to connect them to resources.

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