Mar 14, 2020
Content directly from: Norcal Public Media
Northern California Public Media hosted a Virtual Town Hall, in partnership with Sonoma County, to share information about Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). News Director Steve Mencher and Assistant News Director Adia White moderated the discussion with Supervisor Susan Gorin (Chair, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors), Chris Godley (Director, Sonoma County Emergency Management), and Dr. Sundari Mase (Sonoma County Interim Public Health Officer) who presented information and answered questions from viewers in this one hour live news special.
We are working on answering the questions we received during the broadcast. Some of the questions we received are answered below and we will continue to update this website. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on Sonoma County's Website.
+ According to a statement our newsroom received from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Friday, March 13, 2020, the DMV does not currently have any plans to close any offices. The DMV is continuing to monitor the situation and advises that customers who are able to complete their services online do so at www.dmv.ca.gov
For customers that must complete their services at the office, the DMV advises that its, “Waiting areas are available for our customers, but as a convenience, DMV offers a texting service offered to customers as they check-in that notifies customers as their queue number gets close. Until the customer is notified by text they are free to leave the building, run errands or wait in their car.”
+ According to guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health on March 7, 2020, those in at-risk groups should avoid crowds, mass gatherings or large events, and public transit, and stay home as much as possible.
+ In Sonoma County, Interim Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase issued an order on March 13 for any gatherings of 250 people or more to be canceled. Gatherings of individuals in high-risk groups must be limited to no more than 10 people. (According to the California Department of Public Health, high-risk groups include older adults and individuals with compromised immune systems and with medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.) The Sonoma County order does not extend to family gatherings, attendance at regular school classes, work, courthouses, detention facilities, or other essential services.
If event organizers choose to continue with any scheduled events fewer than 250, follow the California Department of Public Health guidelines.
+ If you are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can recommend that you get tested for COVID-19 if there is a need.
Please call your healthcare provider in advance if you are experiencing symptoms so that the proper safety precautions can be taken. You can access a list of local community clinics here.
+ According to Sonoma County Public Information Officer, Rohish Lal, the Department of Health Services has been communicating with its health care coalition about healthcare worker safety and other concerns on a weekly basis since January. The coalition includes local hospitals, providers and other healthcare facilities. The Sonoma County Department of Health Services shared guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting healthcare workers with the coalition.
+ According to the Sonoma County Office of Education, each school district consults with the local public health office when making the decision to close schools. Although Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College announced closures around spring break, the Sonoma County Office of Education has not yet announced any closures of K-12 public schools (as of 5 p.m. March 13).
According to a press release sent out by the office on Friday, March 13, 2020, “Public schools have a higher threshold for closing because they are deemed an ‘essential service’ by the state. In addition to learning, they provide childcare and meals that families rely on. When public schools close, it has a tremendous impact on the community. Universities have more flexibility because they do not provide this sort of essential services in the same way.”
The office added that it will work with school districts to consider whether spring break should be extended in order to protect the Sonoma County community. For more information on school closures visit the Sonoma County Office of Education website.
A message on Coronavirus from the Sonoma County Superintendent of SchoolsVIDEO URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=12&v=TjUCc6Pn0II&feature=emb_logo
Article original source: https://norcalpublicmedia.org/television/coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know
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