December 7 2020

Today, regional public health officers decided to implement the state’s stay at home order beginning on Monday, December 7th at 12:01am. At a press conference today, our public health officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez said “We have reached a point where more drastic action is needed. Until we get through this wave, you should not meet in person with anyone you do not live with, even in a small group and even outdoors with precautions. If you have a social bubble, it is now popped.” Please see the official City of Berkeley message below. More guidance will become available over the next day or two. We will share more once we receive that information.

Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced that all sectors other than retail and essential operations would be closed in regions of the State where less than 15 percent of ICU beds are available under a new Regional Stay Home Order.  Although health officials throughout the Bay Area are glad to see the State take action in light of the rapidly escalating surge in hospitalizations statewide, many believe even more aggressive action is necessary in the Bay Area to slow the surge and prevent our local hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Rather than waiting until Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed availability reaches critical levels and delaying closures that are inevitable, the Health Officers for the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Clara as well as the City of Berkeley are jointly announcing that they will implement the State's Regional Stay Home Order now. 

"It takes several weeks for new restrictions to slow rising hospitalizations and waiting until only 15 percent of a region's ICU beds are available is just too late," said San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragon.  "Many heavily impacted parts of our region already have less than 15 percent of ICU beds available, and the time to act is now." 

"We are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations here in Contra Costa County and across our region," said Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Christopher Farnitano. "The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in our county has doubled in just the past couple of weeks, and we are at risk of exceeding our hospital capacity later this month if current trends continue." 

"We cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency break," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. "We understand that the closures under the State order will have a profound impact on our local businesses. However, if we act quickly, we can both save lives and reduce the amount of time these restrictions have to stay in place, allowing businesses and activities to reopen sooner." 

"Rising hospitalization rates across the region threaten not only our community members with severe COVID-19, but anyone who may need care because of a heart attack, stroke, accident, or other critical health need," said Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. "By acting together now we will have the greatest impact on the surge and save more lives."

"Each of us can fight the spread," said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, the City of Berkeley Health Officer. "Keep your family safe by avoiding even small gatherings outside of your household and not traveling. We don't want holiday gatherings and travel to create a spike of cases on top of the surge we're already seeing."

"Although Marin has fared better than some other counties in our region over the last few weeks, we know it is only a matter of time before rising case and hospitalization put pressure on our hospitals too," said Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matthew Willis. "We must act now, and must act together to ensure all hospitals in the Bay Area have the capacity they need to care for our residents."

Consistent with the State framework, the six jurisdictions are working to ensure that all sectors have at least 48-hour notice of these closures. Most of the Bay Area Health Officers will implement the State's Regional Stay At Home Order as of Sunday December 6, 2020.  In Alameda County, it is scheduled to take effect on Monday, December 7, 2020, and Marin County's order will take effect Tuesday, December 8. The new restrictions will remain in place until January 4, 2021. 

The sector closures and restrictions on activity under the State's Regional Stay Home Order are described here.

Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8

Want to request a City service? 

Use Berkeley's online 311 form (either through the General Request form or a specific topic) or call 311 from a landline, or 510-981-2489.  Please note that my office routes all the service requests we receive through this customer service center, so your request will be handled most efficiently by directly contacting 311. 

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City of Berkeley COVID-19 Resources

Upcoming Town Hall with State Senator Nancy Skinner and Public Health Experts and Officials

Senator Nancy Skinner’s office will host a virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 4-5 p.m. Experts will provide updates on coronavirus vaccines and how California plans to distribute them, as well as information about how to have a healthy and safe holiday season.

Featured speakers include:

  • Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Health officer
  • Dr. Noha Aboelata, CEO of Oakland's Roots Community Health Center. Dr. Aboelata will provide information on the spread of the disease in impacted communities, along with issues concerning equity of care
  • Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of UC San Francisco's Department of Medicine. Dr. Wachter will provide the latest updates on vaccines and distribution and the spread of the disease.

This virtual Town Hall will be available to view on Senator Skinner’s website, from 4-5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8. If you would like to submit a question on a topic listed above, please do so here by 11 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8.

UC Berkeley Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and Campus Master Plan Update

Two documents guide the planning and future development of the UC Berkeley campus. A multi-year effort is underway to update these plans: the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) and the Campus Master Plan.

You are invited to participate in our second virtual open house as part of this effort, which focuses on the Campus Master Plan.

Click here to visit the Campus Master Plan virtual open house!

Open house is online through 1/31/2021. Your feedback wanted: Virtual Open House for campus and community open through January 31.

Our second virtual open house explores early ideas and potential planning concepts for the forthcoming Campus Master Plan. After each section that explores some potential planning ideas, you'll be asked some questions. Your feedback could help determine which concepts become part of the Campus Master Plan. All students, faculty, staff, and campus neighbors are invited to participate in this open house... [visit the open house]