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  COVID-19 update - City in State of Emergency
March 12, 2020

From: Laura Snideman
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 9:05 PM
To: Genevieve Pastor-Cohen
Subject: City of Richmond - COVID-19 update

Dear fellow employees:

A short while ago (today, March 10, 2020), as the City of Richmond’s Director of Emergency Services, I followed the County’s lead and proclaimed a state of emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).  This is a key step in the process that allows the City to be reimbursed for eligible emergency-related expenses from the State of California’s California Disaster Assistance Act. An example of such expenses includes resources to protect our first responders when responding to medical calls involving potential COVID-19 patients. To track eligible costs under this state of emergency proclamation, the Finance Department has provided instructions and budget codes to associate with these costs.  If you believe you have eligible expenses, please be sure to coordinate with the Finance Department.

Furthermore, the City’s emergency operations center (EOC) will be activated at Level 3 (lowest level) to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and we will continue to evolve our response with changing circumstances.  Thank you to Genevieve Pastor-Cohen who has been diligently working on this situation and to anyone who may be called to serve in the EOC going forward. 

More broadly, thank you for your continued service to our community during a time when fear is often present and for your part in taking preventative steps and sharing facts.  Please do not hesitate to work with your supervisor if you have specific concerns or personal impacts related to this situation.

As a reminder on how best to protect yourself and our community members, we continue to follow the guidance of our local public health department, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS). According to CCHS, we do expect more cases of COVID-19 to be discovered.  Therefore, it is important that we take certain precautionary measures to try to limit the spread of disease in our community.

Our top priorities are to:

  1. Ensure our community’s health and safety
  2. Ensure our public and community stays informed and guided with facts rather than fears
  3. Engage with our community to promote healthy habits

Below are some prevention recommendations provided by CCHS to help minimize your risk of becoming infected or spreading COVID-19 and other viruses.

Individual and Family Preparedness & Prevention Recommendations to Practice Healthy Habits

  • Wash your hands! Frequent handwashing is easy, under your control and has no significant downsides.
  • Don’t touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home from school or work when you are sick.
  • Cough into the crook of your arm or into a tissue.
  • Use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as bathroom door handles and elevator buttons.
  • Bump elbows or bow instead of shaking hands.
  • Get vaccinated against the flu if you haven’t already.
  • Ensure you have some essentials (such as food, beverages, and toiletries) in case you need to stay in your home.
  • The California Department of Public Health is not recommending the use of masks by the general public, and purchasing these will contribute to a shortage for health care workers.

People of Higher Risk of Serious Illness
The CCHS defines “higher risk” as people age 50 or older (highest risk is for people age 80 or older) or people of any age with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, and compromised immune systems. CCHS additionally recommends that people of higher risk avoid large gatherings of 50 people or more.

For the most current information on COVID-19, please refer to the following sources:

We will continue to communicate when a significant update is available.


Laura Snideman
City Manager, Richmond CA
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA  94804
( 510-620-6512