May 26 2020


Many of you have emailed about the small business/arts organization component of the Berkeley Relief Fund. We could surely use your help. Please consider donating to the Berkeley Relief Fund to help our local businesses. Over 1,058 businesses across Berkeley applied for financial help during the last round of funding and 352 businesses/42 arts organizations received financial assistance. Details regarding eligibility criteria and fund recipients are specified 
here. The Office of Economic Development then determined recipients based upon a scoring matrix which consisted of: number of years based in Berkeley, worker ownership, priority industry sectors, household income of primary business owner, etc. 

Although it is extraordinary and unprecedented that a city of our size was able to allocate nearly $1 million to help these businesses and nearly $800,000 for arts organizations, it was not enough to meet the demand. Hundreds of local businesses and organizations couldn’t receive help. There will be a second round of funding and we could use extra assistance to supplement the city’s efforts for the final allocation. Please donate here.


Fire Preparedness 

This Thursday, May 28th at 7pm, we are joining Councilmember Susan Wengraf for the annual fire safety forum. Many thanks to Councilmember Wengraf for organizing this event and consistently spearheading efforts to address fire safety in our City. This virtual forum is an unprecedented opportunity to hear about new strategies from our city, East Bay Regional Parks, and PG&E about efforts to protect us from a wildfire in extremely dry and dangerous drought conditions, compounded by the pandemic and Stay at Home orders. 

Speakers include David Brannigan, Chief, City of Berkeley Fire, Scott Ferris, Director, City of Berkeley Parks, Aileen Thiele, Chief, East Bay Regional Parks District Fire, John Walsh, Public Safety Specialist, Wildfire Operations PG&E, and Keith May, Assistant Chief/PIO, City of Berkeley Fire.

Click here to join the meeting

  • If you are asked for "Screen name" enter your first name.
  • You can call in with this phone number to listen only: Telephone: 669-900-9128
  • Webinar ID: 950 4214 9128
  • I encourage you to use a computer rather than a cell phone because of the many different visual media used in the presentations.

Mayor Arreguin’s Weekly Town Hall

Mayor Jesse Arreguín is holding weekly town halls on YouTube with our City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley and our Public Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez. They provide a lot of valuable information to residents. If you would like to submit a question, you submit a question through his website. If you have COVID-19 questions, please email [email protected]


  • As of May 25, there are 86 lab-confirmed cases and 1 death attributed to COVID-19 in Berkeley. 
  • Of a total of 2,575 tests conducted on Berkeley residents, 3.34% have been positive.
  • Information is updated daily here.


Many of you have asked when we can resume a semblance of our previous lives. This decision will be based on five indicators. Berkeley’s Health Officer along with six bay area jurisdictions have been partnering together and have created five indicators to measure the virus’ movements as well as the development of a public health infrastructure. This is where we stand today: 

Indicator 1: Cases &  Hospitalizations Flat or Decreasing

Success criteria: Cases and hospitalizations flat or decreasing

Current status in Berkeley

  • Number of cases identified is increasing. 
  • Number of hospitalized patients is slightly trending upward

Status: Goals not currently met.

Indicator 2: Sufficient Hospital Capacity to meet community needs

Success criteria: No more than 50%of patients in staffable non-surge hospital beds are COVID-19 positive

Status: Goal currently met. 

Indicator 3: Sufficient Testing Capacity

Success criteria: Sufficient COVID-19 viral detection tests are being conducted each day through private and public sites. The goal for Berkeley would be 245 tests per day. 

  • Hospitals, labs, our City site and others are reporting 54 tests per day, an increase of 22% since last week. 

Status: Goal shows progress.

Indicator 4: Sufficient Disease Containment (case investigation, contact tracing, and isolation/quarantine)

Success criteria: 

  • 90%  of all cases are reached and contacts identified - currently at 97%
  • 90% of cases that we reach are isolated safely -- currently at 95% 
  • 90% of all contacts identified -- currently at 97%
  • 90%  of identified cases can safely quarantine -- currently at 90%

Status: Goals currently met.

Indicator 5:  Sufficient Personal Protective Equipment

Success criteria:

  • At least 30-day supply of PPE for all health care providers
  • No hospitals, clinic, skilled nursing facility, other long term care facility, or first responder agency is struggle with obtaining PPE to submit a request for assistance 
  • None have needed to submit a resource request for assistance in obtaining PPE to EOC in the last 14 days

Current status: While  the acute care hospital in City of Berkeley has certified that they have access to 30 supply of PPE, other health care providers are still making significant requests for PPE.

Status: Goal not currently met.  

The status can signal progress or, if conditions worsen, could lead to tightening, as has happened in places around the world. Stabilized cases and hospitalizations permitted more activities using disease prevention guidelines on May 4, as construction and outdoor businesses were allowed to return. Last week, on May 18, Health Officers used those indicators to loosen restrictions, permitting curbside retail, manufacturing and logistics. 


As Chair of the Council Budget Committee, today we had detailed discussions regarding how to address our City budget deficit. You can view the presentation by City staff here and find a detailed list of proposed deferrals by department here.


Find out about some ways the City is doing to help our community here

Donate Masks, Gloves, Hygiene Supplies, Goggles, New Thermometers, etc.

If you have personal protective equipment to donate to our firefighters, nurses, police, and others on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, please email [email protected]

Join the California Health Corps

The State of California is recruiting health care professionals to help support the urgent need. For more information or apply online, click here.

Food Access

Alameda County Community Food Bank Every $1 you give to the food bank provides $7 worth of food to neighbors in need.

Berkeley Food Network

Berkeley Food Pantry

Help Berkeley Help Berkeley helps provide affordable meals for neighbors at risk. Two meals for $10 prepared by local restaurants and delivered for free. Order meals if you are over 60, at-risk, in self-isolation, quarantined, or sick at home.

Berkeley Humane Society Pet Food Pantry

Donate Blood

There is a blood drive on June 17 at Berkeley High. Please learn more and book an appointment here.

You can also donate blood at 6230 Claremont Ave. In Oakland. Please check with the Red Cross website to see if appointments are available before visiting. 

Help Vulnerable Members of Our Community

A few neighborhood groups have created websites to help high risk neighbors in need by pairing them with lower-risk individuals (please keep in mind that everyone is at risk). Please visit if you would like to volunteer or need help. Another nonprofit aimed towards helping vulnerable people is Helping Hands

Support Nonprofits and Berkeley Businesses and Arts Organizations

Donate to the Berkeley Relief Fund. We will be doing another round of funding applications. Stay tuned!

Support your local favorite business or arts organizations by donating or purchasing a gift certificate. Berkeleyside has launched a platform for local businesses to share fundraisers. To learn more visit here.

Donate to Double Helping Hands to help both small businesses and our homeless population. Learn more here.

Support Healthcare Workers

East Bay FeedER helps feed individuals working in hospitals. 


  1. Stay home except for essential needs
  2. Cover your face when out
  3. Practice social distancing
  4. Wash your hands
  5. Don’t touch your face
  6. Disinfect surfaces

For more information, click here.

Prepare to care for yourself or someone sick at home 

As COVID-19 spreads, learn how to take care of yourself or someone who is ill. You or other people may get mild symptoms. We need those people to stay home entirely. This will slow the spread. Here is more information. 

Everyone should be ready to care for themselves or a family member. When sick, it’s important to: 

  • Avoid contact with other household members 
  • Stay in one room and use a separate bathroom if possible 
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces every day 
  • Monitor your condition and look out for emergency warning signs 

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


Please SIGN UP for City of Berkeley emails here. Recommendations may change rapidly. Please remember to get public health information from official public health channels and not social media posts.

Lori Droste
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8