Hundreds of SF city workers take on ‘emergency’ roles

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Librarians, election office employees do double duty during pandemic

Election staffers aiding the homeless. City public works employees building new medical facilities. Librarians delivering food to the hungry.

Hundreds of San Francisco city government workers have been drafted, in essence, as “disaster service workers,” seeing The City slot them into roles on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A little-known clause in a city worker’s hiring papers allows San Francisco to require them to aid city efforts during a disaster. While most often seen as an essential safety net for our City by the Bay’s most notorious danger — earthquakes — the government function was activated when Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in late February…(more)


Experts say coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco homeless shelter was preventable


Workers at homeless shelters in San Francisco have been horrified at the lack of protective equipment for staff

On Friday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that a COVID-19 “outbreak” occurred at the city’s biggest shelter for unhoused people. A total of 70 people — 68 shelter guests and two staff members — tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus; all 70 were working or sheltering at at MSC [multi-service center] South, which is one of the three housing centers operated by the non-profit St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco.

Now, workers at homeless shelters in San Francisco say that the news is not a surprise, as they have been attempting to raise alarm over what they see as inadequate safety measures for staff and homeless people. Indeed, while the California Bay Area has been commended for its early response to shelter-in-place for its housed residents — the first in the nation, which officials say have saved lives — its response to protecting people without shelter has lagged, as previously outlined by the San Francisco Chronicle…. (more)


SF homeless tents, once seen as problem, now seen as path to coronavirus social distancing

One option under consideration is to place more people into some of the 7,000 hotel rooms the city is leasing to house first responders and homeless people who are COVID-19-positive or classified as vulnerable because of age or underlying medical conditions… (more)

No walk in the park for Americans struggling with cabin fever amid coronavirus crisis

By Marjie Lundstrom : salon – excerpt

Government officials and advocacy groups are trying to stem the tide of visitors seeking a nature fix

By the time Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California closed today — this time for real, sealing out even bikers and hikers — local residents were seething.

The picturesque swath of desert east of Los Angeles had been overrun by visitors the weekend of March 21 – two days after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  The line of cars came anyway, bumper to bumper, even though the National Park Service had closed the park’s roads and campgrounds that weekend. The government extended the closure this week to bicyclists and pedestrians.

“It was crazy how many people were in town that weekend,” said Robin Hercia, a graphic artist who lives in the unincorporated community of Joshua Tree. “People thought somehow that coming to Joshua Tree, out into nature, was exempt from the don’t-go-out category.

“It’s just this defiant, selfish behavior,” she said.

The tension is playing out across the nation, as housebound Americans seek refuge in the great outdoors — for exercise, for tranquility, for a place to de-stress…(more)

Not such a big problem if you have a private backyard or open space of your own to use, or you live out of the city. The people who are most likely to disobey the “stay at home” order are the ones living in cramped crowded conditions that do not have private yards and open space. These people rely on public parks and open space because they don’t have any private areas. Private open space is exactly what the so-called NIBMYs have been trying to protect. It did not take a crisis for everyone to understand the importance of private space.

2020 California Legislative Committees off-site schedules

Coronavirus will keep California Legislature away until May

By : sfchronicle – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — The future of the legislative session is murky as California shows no signs of letting up soon on its lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Legislative leaders extended an emergency recess by three more weeks Friday. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood (Los Angeles County), said they now plan to call lawmakers back to the Capitol on May 4…(more)

The policy committee meeting agendas include legislative updates and presentation items that may be of interest to anyone trying to stay informed of active Statewide legislation affecting housing, transportation, community services, environmental review, and other topics.

Review the attachments appended to agendas for the current or most recent meetings for legislative updates and presentations (Policy Committees, see “Agendas & Highlights” tab, links to document repositories).

Housing, Community and Economic Development

Transportation, Communications, and Public Works

Community Services

Environmental Quality

Governance, Transparency, and Labor Relations

Public Safety

Revenue and Taxation

How Does Soap Inactivate Coronaviruses?

By Julie from the Exploratorium

Click the Link to view the video if it doesn’t come up on your screen:

Coronaviruses are surrounded by the same type of membrane that surrounds human cells. Learn how disrupting this membrane with soap or alcohol inactivates the virus. Find out more about the science of COVID-19 with the Exploratorium Learning Toolbox.

Respiratory TherapistSuggestions on How to treat a Virus.

S.F. Announces Increased Coronavirus Testing, Shelter-In-Place Restrictions

By Laura Wenus : sfpulbicpress – excerpt (includes audio track)

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Francisco rose to nearly 300 and the death toll to 3 on March 27, San Francisco officials held a virtual press conference to announce tightening rules for the shelter-in-place order meant to curb the spread of the virus.

Mayor London Breed said parking lots at major parks and beaches would be closed to prevent crowds from gathering there and encouraged residents seeking fresh air to find it at their local parks rather than driving to far-flung outdoor attractions…

Police Chief Bill Scott warned that while the department’s aim is not to arrest violators of the shelter-in-place order, officers would soon be left with no choice but to enforce…

Officials also promised an increase in testing capacity. Breed said the city’s public health department is now running 150 tests a day, up from 50 when the city first began testing, and that capacity would increase to as many as 450 tests per day. Those figures do not include private labs’ testing capacities.

“Our plan is to keep improving our testing capacity, and further in the next few weeks,” Breed said. She also warned: “Simply put, the more testing we can do, the more cases we will find.”…(more)

Department of Building Inspection workers furloughed, recalled — and soon may be sent home again

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

When San Francisco on March 16 issued its sweeping COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, employees at the embattled Department of Building Inspection were soon sent home to do just that.

But after being instructed that they were to be furloughed until April 7, they were subsequently called back, en masse, and reported to work on March 23, as “essential” workers.

Now the city, the department, its several hundred employees, and their unions are working, on the fly, to determine just who is “essential” and who really needs to show up in the office every day — meaning many workers could be soon sent back home again.

Workers here feel like this is a questionable policy – one they say is unique in the Bay Area to San Francisco – that has been enacted poorly…(more)