COVID-19 Updates: See cityofberkeley.info/covid19 for news, information, and status of City services.

Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

PREPARE YOUR HOUSEHOLD FOR INCREASED COVID-19 SPREAD
Make a plan now to lessen the impact of a potential outbreak

Berkeley, California (Thursday, March 05, 2020) - Even though the risk of COVID-19 infections in Berkeley remains low, City of Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez encourages everyone to prepare their household now for the impact of a wider outbreak locally.

The one Berkeley case poses low risk to the general community, but there are more than 30 cases in the 9-county Bay Area, including several where there is no known source of exposure. There are cases in 18 states and 81 countries. As a result, more confirmed COVID-19 cases are expected in Berkeley and the region.

COVID-19 is so new that there is no approved medication or vaccine. Interventions that don’t require medicine are critical, and they become more disruptive as an outbreak worsens.

There are several hygiene steps everyone should take on a daily basis: washing hands regularly, staying home when sick, avoid touching the face, and coughing into an elbow. As more cases emerge, responses may require more disruptive “social distancing,” such as avoiding or cancelling mass gatherings as well as closures of a school, day care or workplace. King County in Washington is experiencing an outbreak, and you can see the Mar. 4 recommendations they gave their community as a preview of what we may see in parts of the Bay Area.

Preparing your home is the first step.

Many infected with COVID-19 might only get mild symptoms. But the disease is causing more severe illness and a higher rate of death among the elderly and those with chronic illnesses or heart problems. Strong community actions help the most vulnerable.

“We need to take action now,” said Dr. Hernandez. “Good public health means that all of us can take personal action to safeguard our community ”

Make a plan

Talk to your family, friends, and relatives about coronavirus. Think about what your needs will be in an outbreak and starting making a plan. The CDC website has detailed information about how to prepare your household.

Consider high risk family members

If you or a member of your household is at high risk because they are elderly or have health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, discuss what you will do if someone in your home becomes ill. Talk to your health care provider now about what precautions you should be taking. Review CDC guidance about preventing spread within your home and cleaning and disinfection advice for homes with a suspected or confirmed case.

Childcare needs

Think about what you will do if your child’s school is closed or dismissed. Talk with family, friends, and neighbors about arranging backup care, or pickups on short notice if you work far away.

Ask your child’s school or daycare about their emergency operations plans. If you have a child in Berkeley public schools, review the coronavirus update posted by the Berkeley Unified School District on Monday, and bookmark their website, berkeleyschools.net, for future updates.

Talk to your employer

Talk to your employer about telework or flexible schedule options in the event you’re needed at home to care for children or sick family members. Ask about extended sick leave policies. CDC has guidance about preparing your business for a potential outbreak.

Slow the spread with healthy habits

Expanded presence of coronavirus is a reality. While there are no confirmed cases of community spread in Berkeley at this point, this will happen eventually.

It’s important that everyone take action to slow the spread. This will help relieve pressure on medical resources and health care providers.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. That’s about the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, phones, and keyboards daily using a regular household detergent and water.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then immediately throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your cough with your elbow rather than your hand.
  • When you’re sick, avoid school, work, and public places. Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are ill.

Find more information about coronavirus, including what symptoms to look for, what to do if you suspect you’re sick, and links to resources from state and federal public health agencies at cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

Twitter town hall with Berkeley’s Health Officer

Our Health Officer, Dr. Lisa Hernandez, will answer your questions about the health aspects of COVID-19 during a one-hour Twitter town hall starting at noon Friday, March 6.

Tweet your questions to us @CityofBerkeley using the hashtag #BerkCOVID19, or submit them using an online form.

Dr. Hernandez will answer as many questions as possible during the town hall, and we will post responses to all the questions we receive on our COVID-19 webpage next week.

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