March 24, 2020

Stay Home, Save Lives. Do You Have Extra n95 Masks? New Testing Requirements, Berkeley Relief Fund, Essential Services, and Governor’s Executive Order

First of all, thank you to all essential workers for your service to our community. To the rest of you, thank you for staying home to help keep us all safe. We all have a role to play. We will work through this together and I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support to our community. 

Stay Home, Save Lives and Wash Your Hands

We are entering into a critically important two weeks and we all have a responsibility to limit the spread of COVID19. Prepare now to care for yourself or your family if infected with COVID-19. I am urging you to stay home except to go for essential needs (food, medical care/materials, banks, and quick exercise). Our parks are now closed as well. Simply put, stay at home as much as possible. Please don’t socialize (even at 6’!), hike or meet up with people outside your immediate household. If you need help figuring out Zoom or a platform that can help you connect with people via technology, please email us and we will provide you with help. 

Personal Protective Equipment

Berkeleyside wrote about N95 masks here. If you have extra unopened Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in your earthquake kits, please email us at [email protected] 

Bay Area Jurisdictions Order Laboratories Testing for COVID-19 to report Testing Data to State and Local Authorities

On March 24, the Public Health Officers of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, with the City of Berkeley, announced an order with new reporting requirements for laboratories that test for the novel coronavirus. Laboratories must report results of tests for all residents of each jurisdiction to the ordering health care provider and the appropriate state and local health officials.

Currently, labs report only positive results, making it difficult for public health officials to know how many people are being tested overall. The new order requires laboratories to report all positive, negative, and inconclusive results, and information that allows health officials to better locate the person tested. The more comprehensive information will improve health officials’ understanding of the rates of infection and the location of possible infection clusters.

You can find all the information on the City of Berkeley’s News Main Page located here. 

Berkeley Relief Fund #berkeleyrelieffund

The City of Berkeley launched an emergency relief fund for arts nonprofits, small businesses, and residential tenants hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your donations. If you haven’t donated and are able to, you can visit the All donations are tax-deductible. Funds will be used only for emergency grants. Applicants will be able to apply soon. 

Please cancel all home services and in-person appointments. 

Many people have written to me to inquire about personal and non-essential household services. Please cancel them. If applicable and you are financially able to, please consider paying your barber, gardener, bodyworker, household cleaner, and any other personal service provider.

COVID updates

    • Parking lots at state parks and beaches are closed to deter visiting.
    • California adds 2,000 beds through FEMA
    • Income tax, student loans, DMV and smog check deadlines extended. 


  • Property tax deadlines NOT extended. 


  • AC Transit is free for now. Board in the rear unless you require accommodations. 
  • Price gouging is illegal (and repugnant). Report cases here

COVID-19 information

Food for Healthcare Workers

Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon organized #EastBayFeedER to support local businesses by purchasing meals to feed local health care workers. To donate, contact [email protected]. If you are an interested restaurant owner, fill out this form here

Governor of California’s EXECUTIVE ORDER N-33-20

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom,  issued an executive order last week that you can find here.  Governor Newsom issued a stay at home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The executive order expands the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The order gives the state the ability to increase the health care capacity in clinics, mobile health care units and adult day health care facilities. It also allows local governments more flexibility to utilize the skills of retired employees and reinforces the importance of the delivery of food, medicine and emergency supplies.

Alameda County has already been under a shelter in place so this statewide order won’t change much for us living here in the Bay Area.  The Governor’s Office has listed exceptions that you can find here that also includes frequently asked questions.    

Future Newsletter Topics

If there are areas of clarification or topics you would like us to address please email Bre Slimick at [email protected]


Please SIGN UP for City of Berkeley emails here and visit the City’s COVID-19 website here. Recommendations may change rapidly. Please remember to get public health information from official public health channels (City of Berkeley’s Public Health Department, County of Alameda Public HealthCDCWHO, etc.), and not social media posts. 

COVID-19 Symptoms

If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, 

  • call your doctor
  • Stay at home except to seek medical care
  • Stay away from others at home 
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If someone in your home is sick,

  • Watch for worsening symptoms
  • Clean high touch surfaces daily
  • Practice healthy behaviors

Get more information about all of this here

CDC has a factsheet with more information about what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.

Click here for general resources on COVID



Lori Droste

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8