COVID-19 UPDATE: From the April 14 Board of Supes Meeting

by Tia Will

I virtually attended the Board of Supervisors update on Covd-19 operations and innovations within Yolo County this am. The following are my impressions of that meeting with no attempt to be comprehensive. Minutes of the meeting, including public comment will be available on line within several days, and Don Saylor will doubtless post a summary as well. I recommend these resources as well as the Yolo County Dashboard and Infographics posted on line for more detailed information.

I have presented the meeting by presenter with each outlining the efforts and steps taken so far, accomplishments and challenges. There are some gaps from technical difficulties I had for which I apologize.

Dr. Ron Chapman – Yolo County Health Officer

  • Current COVID-19 case count 101 cases and 4 deaths. Noted sudden increase was due to the outbreak in a nursing facility in Woodland with approximately 25 patients and staff affected. Strict procedures are in place with monitoring. No visitors allowed. All staff have daily screening for symptoms and temperature checks as well as enforced use of PPE and social distancing on job. Local county officials and staff as well as requested help from state was provided promptly to help contain this outbreak as well as to provide emotional support to both patients and families.
  • In response to questions, noted the need to balance HIPAA legal requirements with community need for transparency. As such no public announcement was made of which of the skilled nursing facilities in Woodland was involved.
  • Noted the marked lack of testing due to a lack of test kits and swabs with only 0.5% of county population tested.
  • Stated that social distancing measures seem to be working. There is currently a low hospital census with 25% decreased census and decrease in clinic visits with corresponding increase in telemedicine visits, likely due to this directive. At this time there is ample surge capacity in our county hospitals. In response to questions he stated that if our county surge capacity were to be exceeded, the first step would be to use converted hospital spaces, & then to hospitalize in adjacent counties. For catastrophic regional need, Sleep Train Arena has been designated as a temporary hospital facility.
  • Describing the likely format for planned roll back with no time line provided. Dr. Chapman stressed any loosening of shelter & distancing directives will not be “like flipping a switch” but will be a slow gradual process. Meetings will be occurring between County Health Officials and representatives of the governor’s office regarding the target parameters and metrics to be met depending on regional conditions, not necessarily in lockstep. Coordination will also occur with Governors of our adjacent states.
  • Best practices determined by experience at workplaces, including plexiglass dividers, social distancing within stores and work places, more cleaning and disinfecting are likely to remain as the new norm.
  • Asked about facial coverings, Dr. Chapman pointed out that although the county will be providing broad distribution of CDC recommendations, there is no strong evidence of the use of face coverings for disease prevention for either the wearer or for others. He reiterated the healthy general public along with those vulnerable or ill should remain home rather than depending on their face covering for disease prevention.

Melissa Marshall – CEO Communicare

  • Changes enacted.
  • Marked decrease of in-person appointments in favor of telemedicine
  •  screening tents outside for triage and testing.
  • Challenges.
  • Financial.
  • Current funding reserve exists but if balance of in person to telemedicine
  • continues, current compensation model based on in person visits will be inadequate.
  • 94% reduction in compensated dental care due to emergent care only is also a
  • funding limitation.
  • Logistical.
  • Limited testing with only 56 done – 4 positives but with question of accuracy leading to need to rely on clinical suspicion for treatment and quarantine.
  • Agricultural workers being seen and outreach in place.
  • PPE shortages.
  • Challenge of “right size” staffing with need for use of personal and family sick  leave as needed.
  • Anticipated psychic health care needs of staff.
  • Anticipated need for support due to health care surge in pent up demand for routine care after pandemic crisis lessens due to unemployment and loss of insurance.

Ryan Collins – Davis Homeless Outreach Coordinator

  • For homeless, COVID represents both major disruption and major opportunity.
  • Community shelters remain open with COVID 19 screening performed at entrance.
  • Sleeping quarters have been rearranged for head to toe sleeping with cloth dividers for attempted social distancing.
  • Yolo County led the way for the state in motel/hotel housing for the unsheltered with 160-180 houseless now sheltered, most in blocks within hotels. Services provided include in room meal delivery (Food Bank) and on-site supervisors to ensure social clustering does not occur. Social service workers are on site to help with CalFresh and other program access.
  • Major challenges include loss of freedom and boredom. So far only one individual has had to be removed by police for disruptive behavior.
  • Communicare is providing “room visits” from two MDs to assess those who are quarantined or become ill.
  • Priority is given to seniors and other vulnerable unsheltered.
  • Camps and car camping have not been disrupted and sanitation improvements including hand washing stations and porta potties have been increased for those who decline room placement or for whom there is not yet space.

Referrals to the housing program come from police, other first responders, the respite centers, health care personnel, faith community and word of mouth.

Efforts are being made to provide educational and other self-improvement opportunities to help individuals fight boredom and use their time in isolation constructively at a time when usually available services such as internet at the library are not available.

Future challenges – anticipation of increased need due to mental & coping problems associated with job loss, loss of temporary housing situations such as “couch surfing,” and situations of domestic violence.

Hoping to obtain more hotel/motel space in the form of entire facilities instead of blocks of rooms.

Anticipate that this need will persist during and after the time of resolution of the acute pandemic crisis.

Chris Jarosz – Broderick Roadhouse

  • Following the lead of a Sacramento restauranteer, Mr. Jarosz has used his restaurant to provide hot meals to those in home or separate quarantine. Since starting he has been providing 3,000 meals weekly. With access to the Bright Culinary Academy, he is hoping to triple this output by keeping his employees on his payroll.
  • Another goal is to possibly partner with other restaurant owners.
  • To achieve these goals he will need County help with funding as he has been entirely self funding to date along with small donations.

The meeting continued with evaluation of plans for work groups and subgroups to address various issues related to the pandemic. One was the partnering of members of the BOS and representatives of the various communities. Lucas Frerichs will be the representative for the City of Davis.

At this point in the meeting, my internet connection to the meeting failed. The remainder will be available at the locations above.

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About The Author

Tia is a graduate of UCDMC and long time resident of Davis who raised her two now adult children here. She is a local obstetrician gynecologist with special interests in preventive medicine and public health and safety. All articles and posts written by Tia are reflective only of her own opinions and are in no way a reflection of the opinions of her partners or her employer.

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  1. Rick Entrikin

    “Noted the marked lack of testing due to a lack of test kits and swabs with only 0.5% of county population tested.”

    Excellent report, Tia, but do you know the basis of those claims by Dr. Chapman?  (And, please, not “Trump.” We’re way beyond that stage.)  Has the county been unable to secure kits and swabs from the state? From FEMA?  As you would know, inability to test adequately is a serious matter.  Thank you.

    1. Rick Entrikin

      Thanks, again, Tia.  I did receive an update from Don Saylor and have replied to him with the same questions.  I believe we need answers so we can move forward safely.


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