Sep 07

Build COVID-19 preparedness into your emergency kit

Posted on September 7, 2020 at 9:28 pm by Clay Curtin

September is National Preparedness Month and this year’s reminder includes updated recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the aftermath of a disaster. 

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.

Basic disaster supplies kit
To assemble your kit store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
  • Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Download the Recommended Supplies List
Additional emergency supplies
Since Spring 2020, the CDC has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu.

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
  • Cloth face coverings (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Maintaining your kit
After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it is ready when needed:
  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
  • Replace expired items as needed.
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
Kit storage locations
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and cars.
  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.
Sep 07

Help slow the spread of COVID-19

Posted on September 7, 2020 at 8:57 pm by Clay Curtin

Members of the public and workers at essential businesses are required to wear face coverings outside the home for certain activities and in places of business, which is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth. By wearing a mask or cloth face covering, you can slow the spread of COVID-19.

Who needs a mask?
  • Anyone going outside their home
  • Workers in customer-facing industries
  • Workers in offices, factories, or any group setting
  • Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals
  • Other workers, as dictated by industry guidance
When should you wear a mask? You should wear a mask or face covering whenever you’ll be around someone you don’t live with, including:
  • In any indoor public space
  • When waiting in line
  • When getting health care
  • On public transportation or when ride-sharing
  • At work, when near others or moving through common areas
  • Outdoors, if you can’t stay six feet away from others
When can you take off your mask? There are times when it’s okay to take your mask off when you’re away from home, such as:
  • When eating or drinking
  • If a hearing-impaired person needs to read your lips
  • If wearing a face covering imposes a risk to you at work – for example, if it could get caught in machinery
  • When you’re not sharing a common area, room or enclosed space with others
  • When outdoors in public and can stay six feet from others
You should replace the mask as soon as you can after these activities to reduce the risk of infection. 

Scarves, home-sewn fabric coverings, bandanas, a “DIY” mask from an old T-shirt and neck gaiters are examples of acceptable face coverings, especially because they can be washed after each use and worn again. For more information, visit the California COVID-19 masks and face coverings webpage

Make this a fun experience with your whole family! Have the kids pick out the shirt they want to use or pick out a fabric design that you have in the closet. Then videochat and share your masks with family and friends.

Aug 31

New “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” including four-tier color-coded system

Posted on August 31, 2020 at 9:08 pm by Clay Curtin

On Friday, Governor Newsom announced the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Effective August 31, this four-tiered, color-coded system replaces the former county monitoring list and is described as a “slow plan for living with COVID-19.”

“This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” said Governor Newsom. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

The Blueprint builds on lessons learned from the first six months of the disease – and the new scientific understanding that has been collected – to create a new system for regulating movement and COVID-19 transmissions. It includes:
  1. At least 21 days to expand activities beyond the initial tier to ensure California better limits the spread of the virus
  2. Mandatory metrics – case rates and test positivity – to measure how widespread COVID-19 is in each county and guide what is allowed
  3. A uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58 different sets of rules;
  4. A more nuanced way of allowing activity: Instead of open versus closed, sectors can be partially opened and progressively add to their operations as disease transmission decreases
  5. A new process for tightening back up again quickly when conditions worsen
Under the Blueprint, every county in California will now be assigned to one of four risk levels based upon the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 reported and the percentage of positive tests. The four color-coded risk levels include
  • Purple (Widespread) – most nonessential indoor businesses remain closed
  • Red (Substantial) – some nonessential indoor businesses operations are closed
  • Orange (Moderate) – some business operations are open with modifications
  • Yellow (Minimal) – most business operations are open with modifications
At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving to a less restrictive level. 

You can visit the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy website to check San Mateo County’s status and allowed activities every Tuesday, since officials review data weekly and update county tier status on Tuesdays. Each listing, by county and type of activity, includes industry-specific guidance.

San Mateo County’s status is currently Purple (Widespread), with 8.6 daily new positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people and a 4.8 percent positivity rate. If a county's case rate and the positivity rate fall into different tiers, the county remains in the stricter tier.