This morning, I participated in a White House COVID-19 briefing in which the following items were discussed:
- The federal government will make $8.3 billion available as a COVID-19 response and are working on another $45.8 billion in aid.
- FEMA has been activated at Level 1 status as a response to emergency management across the Nation.
- A panel of national medical experts, brought together by the White House, all agreed that the risk of serious illness to the average population is low from this virus, but it is approximately three times more infectious than the flu virus.
These experts believe the virus was in our general population for more than two weeks before it began showing up in our elderly and compromised population, where the symptoms present themselves more seriously.
The medical experts indicated that over the next 2-3 days, we will see a dramatic increase in the number of reported cases due to the backlog of test samples being completed. They remain hopeful, that over the followings days it should show a decrease and level off.
The leveling off will be a direct result of what seems to be the extreme measures taken by State, County and local governments. There is a chance the extreme measures taken will curb the reach and spread of the virus.
- A representative from the Small Business Administration (SBA) was included on the briefing panel. The SBA has made Economic Injury Loans available, of up to $2 million to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
Tomorrow, the Modesto City Council will consider adoption of an Emergency Resolution. As your Mayor, with the support of the City Manager, Chief of Police and Fire Chief, we are recommending the following operational changes be added to the City of Modesto’s Emergency Resolution:
- Advise citizens to Shelter in Place from March 19, 2020 – April 6, 2020 or until further notice.
- Return City park fees or other City fees for canceled activities and events at City facilities from March 19 – April 6, 2020 or until further notice.
- Direct staff to work with the Office of Emergency Services to identify sites (City, County, School or commercial) that could be used by our local healthcare providers as needed.
- Conduct City Council and other public meetings via teleconferencing or on line, and provide access for public participation via teleconferencing or on line pursuant to the latest Executive Orders by the Governor.
- Direct staff to develop an emergency ordinance to halt evictions for renters and foreclosures for homeowners affected by COVID-19 for a 90 day period.
Undoubtedly, these are unprecedented actions, but the health and safety of our community is our number one priority and we believe these actions are necessary and responsible to protect the citizens of Modesto during this public health emergency.