My highest priority as Mayor is the health and safety of our families and community members. Today, Alameda joins cities in the U.S. and around the world in confronting the greatest public health crisis of our time, the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, in the midst of the uncertainty surrounding this formidable threat, I am certain that Alamedans will rise to meet this challenge and protect our entire community. Here’s what we must do.
Island City takes action against pandemic sweeping nation, world
The impact of social distancing and actions to prepare for potential quarantines or lockdowns over the outbreak of coronavirus led to some unusual behavior around Alameda and the nation last week. Panic buying led to overconsumption at grocery stores on the Island resulting in unusally long lines and empty shelves. Paper and cleaning products, dry goods, frozen and dairy items were among those in high demand.
Six of the eight Alameda firefighters that were under a quarantine mandate by Alameda County Public Health Department officials have been cleared to return to duty today, Wednesday, March 18. City officials believe the remaining two firefighters will be cleared to return to duty within one week.
The decision to quarantine, test and clear the eight firefighters were done by county health officials, not Alameda city officials.
Late March 10, city officials learned that an unidentified Alameda Firefighter tested positive for COVID-19. Following the positive test, the city expects the public health officials in the county where the individual is being quarantined would follow protocol and begin a thorough investigation to identify anyone who might have been in close personal contact with the individual. The City of Alameda stated it is fully cooperating with the unidentified county's public health officials in a press release the morning of March 11.
Ship carried passengers, crew ill with coronavirus
The cruise ship Grand Princess — carrying some 3,500 people from 54 countries with at least two passengers and 19 crew members suffering from the coronavirus disease — docked at Pier 22 at the Port of Oakland just before noon on Monday. The passengers included several Alameda residents. The isolated pier is not on the Oakland Estuary.
Peralta Colleges move spring break in response to virus
At an emergency meeting on March 11, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees (PCCD) voted to approve changes to its academic calendar. Spring break, originally scheduled for the week of April 13, has been moved to this week. The changes, made with support of the Peralta Federation of Teachers, are a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) intended to increase social distancing and better protect our community.
In the 1970s, James Robb, MD FCAP — renowned pathologist, microbiologist and former professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego — became one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses. “I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained,” Robb said. “Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population from different animal sources.”
Schools, entertainment venues closed; events canceled
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Alameda stated in a series of press releases last week, that it will be taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of employees and the community. The frequency and level of cleaning at facilities, including at all fire stations will be increased. In addition, many large city-sponsored events have been canceled or postponed. People older than 60 and people with underlying health conditions are at a much higher risk of severe illness.