Encinitas, CA – As the Coronavirus situation progresses, the City of Encinitas is fully engaged with response efforts across all sectors, including health care, education, businesses, long term care, community and faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and military. We are aware of the impact of recent measures such as school closures on our local residents, and will provide timely information to support and protect our community as effects are felt over the coming days and weeks.

Governor’s Sunday Address:

California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the state Sunday afternoon with new guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 across California.

  1. Guidance for home isolation of vulnerable populations

As of Sunday, March 15, the Governor provided guidance that home isolation is practiced by the most vulnerable populations across California: seniors 65 years of age and over, those experiencing homelessness, and people who are immunocompromised or have chronic health conditions.

This will require the deployment of wraparound services and community support to make sure people have access to food, water, medicines, and other essential items. Governor Newsom noted that home isolation will also lead to social isolation, and that we need to “meet this challenge head on and lean in” to protect those most at risk by COVID-19.

According to 2018 data, 17.7% of Encinitas’s population is 65 and over, or about 11,100 people. The City is in the process of developing measures to meet the needs of this segment of our community.

  1. Closure of bars, wineries, night clubs, and brew pubs

Additionally, the Governor provided a directive that all bars, wineries, night clubs, and brew pubs close for the moment.

At this time, the Governor stated that restaurant closure is not ultimately necessary but outlined guidance for restaurants to implement “deep social distancing” within establishments by reducing capacity by 50%. The Governor did not provide specific details for enforcement, noting that the socialization of social distancing has led to compliance in the implementation of recommended guidance. By separating the customers most at risk—in particular those 65 and over, the Governor stated that this measure should allow a younger, healthier population to continue working and restaurants to continue earning revenue.

CDPH provides a summary of information and recommendations regarding gatherings, both large and small, that can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Gathering_Guidance_03.11.20.pdf.

To continue access to food, especially among vulnerable populations in home isolation, the Governor recommends expanding points of access such as an organized delivery of food to those at home.

  • City of Encinitas Senior Services provides meals for seniors, and senior nutrition meals will still be offered on a pick-up or delivery basis. For more information, contact the Senior Nutrition office at (760) 943-2258.

CDPH has also published a notice regarding COVID-19 and the Food Supply Chain. Neither FDA nor CDPH “are aware of any reports at this time of human illness that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.” For more information, please visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Coronavirus%20Disease%202019%20and%20Food%20Industry.pdf.

  1. Limiting visits to hospitals and long-term care facilities

Lastly, the Governor recommended that visits to hospitals and long-term care facilities are limited to end of life situations. On Friday March 13, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency released an Order of the Health Officer prohibiting entry of “non-essential personnel” into any hospital or long-term care facility serving seniors, and strictly prohibiting the entry of all essential personnel who show any potential signs or symptoms of COVID-19. See here: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/Epidemiology/OrderoftheHealthOfficer_COVID.pdf

The City will continue to provide updates on these matters as more information is available.

Presumptive Positive Case at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary

On Sunday, March 15, San Diego County of Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) confirmed a presumptive positive COVID-19 case in an individual at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary. The individual is in home isolation and being monitored. Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) is following the direction of CDC, CDPH, and HHSA, including following procedures related to HIPAA and privacy standards. EUSD is notifying individuals who may have been exposed, and asking them to self-quarantine.

Temporary Suspension of Service Disconnections

  • EDCO announced that they will suspend service disconnections until further notice. EDCO urges Encinitas customers who are struggling to pay their bill due to financial hardships stemming from Coronavirus to call its Customer Service Center at (760) 744-2700 to make payment arrangements.
  • SDGE has also suspended any utility disconnections for the time being.

Updates from the County of San Diego

  • As of March 14, 180 handwashing stations have been placed around the County and additional stations are expected to be placed soon. The City of Encinitas is coordinating with the County of San Diego to install hand washing stations in the City’s parks and is conducting handwashing hygiene awareness education. A handwashing station is being installed at D Street in Downtown Encinitas by North County Transit District.
  • No cruise ships will be leaving San Diego in the next 30 days, although some empty cruise ships may ‘park’ in the Port of San Diego.
  • All 42 of the school districts in the County have announced closures. Any student age 2 to 18 can go to any of the sites offering school-provided meals and receive food during the period of school closures due to COVID-19. See the San Diego County Office of Education for details and a list of sites: https://www.sdcoe.net/news/Pages/20-03-13-student-food-service-during-district-closures.aspx

Addressing the Spread of Misinformation

As the volume of information about COVID-19 increases day by day, the City is aware of the misinformation that is also spreading through different media channels and throughout our communities. It can be challenging to distinguish between reliable fact and speculation or inaccurate information, aggravated by the fast speed of events unfolding. This is especially the case when we want more conclusive recommendations than what is possible given how much is still to be researched and understood by scientists and clinicians about COVID-19.  

Several ways to inform yourself about the coronavirus include:

  • Following accurate public health advice from local, state, and federal health authorities. Public health authorities have access to the most up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information for making recommendations.
  • Always check the source of the information. In the age of the internet, you can find websites and news articles almost anywhere. Several questions you can ask yourself to better understand where the information is coming from include*:
    • Who wrote the information? Who reviewed it? What is their qualification to be talking about the topic?
    • Who hosts or sponsors the website? Is that information clear or easy to find?
    • When was the information written?
    • What is the purpose of the site?
  • Do your part in not spreading rumors. If you can’t clearly answer the questions above, think twice before sharing information with others.

Source: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

To combat this misinformation, the World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with a growing list of “myth busters” to address false rumors about how COVID-19 is transmitted: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

*Adapted from “Online Information: Is it Reliable?” https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/online-health-information-it-reliable

Sources for additional information:

San Diego County Health and Human Services at www.coronavirus-sd.com

California Department of Public Health at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html  

For information or questions contact Tom Bokosky at (760) 633-2631 or [email protected]