COVID-19 Updates

Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates


Levine Committee Discusses Western States Regional Agreement on COVID-19 on May 22, 2020

Watch here: https://www.assembly.ca.gov/media/assembly-select-committee-international-regional-agreements-20200522/video


FOOD ACCESS & FOOD SECURITY TOWNHALL

Video of the May 7, 2020 Tele-Townhall on Food Access & Food Security during Shelter in Place:

Thank you to all the North Bay residents who participated in our recent tele-town hall on food access and food security during the COVID-19 shelter in place.  We were fortunate to have David Goodman with the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Meg Davidson with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and Andy Naja-Riese with the Agricultural Institute of Marin provide important updates on programs and resources to support the community.
 
In case you missed it, I have posted a video recording of the town hall here along with a number of resources that were discussed to support you and your family.
 
No one should go hungry. During these uncertain times, it’s important for us to take care of each other. That’s why, when grocery shelves went empty, our food banks and farmers markets adapted and expanded to continue serving residents, providing access to healthy food while maintaining a safe environment for staff, volunteers, and recipients.
 
It is important to remember that it is okay to ask for help.

 

We are dealing with so much transition, anxiety and uncertainty. This crisis is impacting us all more than we could have ever imagined. Our community is strong and we are all here to support each other.
 
Here is a summary of food access resources in the North Bay:
 
Sonoma County
If you are in need of emergency food assistance, visit Redwood Empire Food Bank. If you do not have access to the internet, please dial 2-1-1 for assistance. 
 
Food Banks are becoming a critical resource for any family experiencing food insecurity. We are fortunate to have a number of food banks that support North Bay communities, including the Sonoma Valley Food Distribution.
 
The Sonoma County Office of Education is providing hot meals for any student 18 and under. You can find the school location closest to you HERE.
 
Pets Lifeline in Sonoma Valley has a Free Pet Food Pantry for those in need of cat or dog food. They are distributing pet food on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:30am-1:00pm at Vintage House, 264 First Street East, Sonoma.
 
Marin County
If you are in need of emergency food assistance, visit San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. If you do not have access to internet, please dial 2-1-1 for assistance. 
 
Farmer’s Markets are still open, with modified services. For more information or to order a Bounty Box with fresh produce available for curbside pickup, you can visit the AIM website.
 
General Information

CalFresh
If you receive CalFresh, extra benefits may be available to you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency allotments will automatically be added to qualifying households' EBT cards. Additionally, using CalFresh EBT benefits at farmers markets can double your food dollars. The Market Match program makes fresh, locally grown foods more affordable and provides up to an additional $10 that can be redeemed for fresh produce.
To apply for Medi-Cal, CalWORKS and CalFresh, you can call 1-877-410-8817 or go to http://www.benefitscal.org/
 
Women, Infants, and Children
WIC Services are continuing by phone only. They are continuing to accept new applicants at this time. For existing clients, WIC benefits will be added to your WIC cards remotely. 
For Sonoma residents, please call (707) 565-6590 or email WIC@sonoma-county.org
For Marin residents, please call (415) 473-6889 or email MarinCountyWIC@marincounty.org

 

 


EDUCATION TOWN HALL

Audio of the April 23, 2020 Tele-Townhall on Education:

Thank you to all the North Bay residents who were able to participate in our recent tele-townhall on education resources for families during the COVID-19 shelter in place.  We were fortunate to have Dr. Steve Herrington, Superintendent of the Sonoma County Office of Education and Mary Jane Burke, Superintendent of the Marin County Office of Education provide families with important updates and resources to support their needs while we shelter in place.

If you were unable to participate, I have posted an audio recording of the townhall here on my website along with a number of resources that were shared to support you and your family during this time.

While we are all taking steps to help flatten the COVID-19 infection curve, the current stay at home order is having an impact on students, families and education systems throughout the North Bay. As a parent of two children who are navigating distance learning, I understand how difficult this transition has been for families.

Distance learning has become necessary to keep our students, educators and their families safe, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Keeping children focused and engaged in their learning, maintaining a structured daily schedule, and adjusting to learning outside of a traditional classroom schedule is no easy task.

While we must practice physical distancing at this time, there are resources available to help you and your family.

It is important to remember that it is okay to ask for help. Families are dealing with so much transition, anxiety and uncertainty in these times. This crisis is impacting us all more than we could have ever imagined. Now more than ever, know that our community is strong and we are all here to support each other.

Here is a summary of education and family resources in the North Bay:

Sonoma County

For information and resources related to students, families, and distance learning during Shelter in Place, please visit the Sonoma County Office of Education’s COVID-19 page: https://www.scoe.org/pub/htdocs/coronavirus.html

First 5 Sonoma County has a plethora of resources for families, including at-home learning resources for kids, coping with stress as a parent, and how to talk to your children about COVID-19: https://www.first5sonomacounty.org/Resources-for-Parents/COVID-19/

The Sonoma County Library has opened up their digital and online services, including eBooks, Audiobooks, and online learning tools for students. No library card? You can sign up online for 24/7 access to the online library: https://sonomalibrary.org/

Marin County

For information and resources related to students, families, and distance learning during Shelter in Place, please visit the Marin County Office of Education’s COVID-19 page: https://www.marinschools.org/Page/6792

First 5 Marin County has been releasing weekly learning activities and resources for children and families. For more information, email michelle@First5Marin.org or visit: https://www.facebook.com/First5Marin

The Marin County Free Library has opened up their digital and online services, including Online Homework Help, downloadable audio books, TV & movie streaming, and more: https://marinlibrary.org/access-the-library-from-home/

Marin Promise Partnership has synthesized a list of the Partnership’s available resources for parents with school age children: https://www.marinpromisepartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Partner-Responses-to-COVID-19-updated.pdf

General Information

California Department of Education – list of resources and California’s response to COVID-19: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/coronavirus.asp

Healthy Children.org – the parenting website from the American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx

Healthy Children.org en Español: https://www.healthychildren.org/spanish/paginas/default.aspx

WideOpenSchool –free resources for kids and families: https://wideopenschool.org/

Tam Adult School is open and providing ESL, GED, High School Diploma and Home Care Aide classes online. They are accepting new students, all classes and materials are free. Visit www.tamadulted.org or call  415-945-3780.

CalFresh - If you receive CalFresh, extra benefits may be available to you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency allotments will automatically be added to qualifying households' EBT cards. Additionally, using CalFresh EBT benefits at farmers markets can double your food dollars. The Market Match program makes fresh, locally grown foods more affordable and provides up to an additional $10 that can be redeemed for fresh produce.

To apply for Medi-Cal, CalWORKS and CalFresh, you can call 1-877-410-8817 or go to http://www.benefitscal.org/

Women, Infants, and Children - WIC Services are continuing by phone only. They are continuing to accept new applicants at this time. For existing clients, WIC benefits will be added to your WIC cards remotely.

For Sonoma residents, please call (707) 565-6590 or email WIC@sonoma-county.org

For Marin residents, please call (415) 473-6889 or email MarinCountyWIC@marincounty.org

Food Banks

Food Banks are becoming a critical resource for any family experiencing food insecurity. We are fortunate to have a number of food banks that support North Bay communities, many which offer pick up and drop off options for seniors.

San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

Redwood Empire Food Bank

Sonoma Valley Food Distribution

My staff and I are working around the clock to make sure that residents across the North Bay are receiving the support and services you need. If I can be of assistance, please contact me by email at assemblymember.levine@assembly.ca.gov or by phone at (707) 576-2631 or (415) 479-4920.

 

 

SUPPORTING SENIORS DURING SHELTER IN PLACE

Audio of the April 15, 2020 Tele-Townhall on Senior Resources during COVID-19:

 

Thank you to all the North Bay residents who were able to participate in our recent tele-townhall on senior resources during the COVID-19 shelter in place.  We were fortunate to have Dr. Charlotte Carlson, a geriatrician with Sutter Health; Elece Hempel, Executive Director, Petaluma People Services; Paul Dunaway, Director of Sonoma County's Adult and Aging Division along with Lee Pullen, Director of Marin County's Area Agency on Aging provide seniors and their loved ones with important resources to support their needs while we shelter in place.

 

If you were unable to participate, I have posted an audio recording of the townhall here on my website along with a number of resources that were discussed to support you and your family during this time.

 

While we are all taking steps to help flatten the COVID-19 infection curve, the current stay at home order is having an impact on senior residents throughout the North Bay.

 

Seniors often have underlying health conditions that make this virus especially dangerous and potentially deadly. Many seniors also feel isolated, making it difficult to access resources or stay connected with friends and loved ones.

 

While we must practice physical distancing at this time, there are resources available to help you.

 

It is important to remember that it is okay to ask for help. Senior residents are part of a proud generation of people known for their fierce independence and self-reliance. This crisis is impacting us all more than we could have ever imagined. Now more than ever, know that our community is strong and we are all here to support each other. 

 

Here is a summary of senior resources in the North Bay:

 

Sonoma County

 

General Support

For information on food resources and other services and assistance specifically for older adults (age 60 and over) and persons with disabilities, call 707-565-INFO (4636).

 

The Sonoma County Adult & Aging Division can be reached at: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Services/Adult-and-Aging-Division/ 

 

Emotional Support

The Friendship Line can be reached at 1-888-670-1360.

 

Petaluma People Services Center provides a range of services to seniors in Sonoma County and can be reached at www.petalumapeople.org. They also offer a You Are Not Alone warmline at 707-765-8488, which provides peer support to seniors in need.

 

If you are interested in volunteering to support seniors in the North Bay, please reach out to Notalone@petalumapeople.org for more information.

 

Marin County

 

General Support

For information on food resources and other services and assistance specifically for older adults (age 60 and over) and persons with disabilities, call 415-457-INFO (4636).

 

The Marin County Area Agency on Aging can be reached at: https://www.marinhhs.org/area-agency-aging

 

General Information

 

Advance Health Care Directives

For those of us 18 years and older, one important action we can take is to make a plan for our medical care. What does it mean to make a plan? Consider the following:

 

- Complete an Advance Health Care Directive at: https://prepareforyourcare.org/covid-19

- Identify a person who will speak for you and could make medical decisions for you in the event of an emergency. 

- Make sure this person knows your healthcare wishes before a medical crisis develops.

- Make sure your family and medical providers have a copy of your Advance Health Care Directive before a medical crisis develops.

 

Additional advance care planning conversations tools are available from the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California and The Conversation Project.

 

CalFresh

If you receive CalFresh, extra benefits may be available to you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency allotments will automatically be added to qualifying households’ EBT cards. Additionally, using CalFresh EBT benefits at farmers markets can double your food dollars. The Market Match program makes fresh, locally grown foods more affordable and provides up to an additional $10 that can be redeemed for fresh produce. 

 

To apply for Medi-Cal, CalWORKS and CalFresh, you can call 1-877-410-8817 or go to http://www.benefitscal.org/

 

DMV

Drivers age 70 and older whose licenses expire before May 31, 2020, have been automatically granted a 120-day extension to renew without penalty. This extension allows this vulnerable group to avoid an in-person visit to the DMV during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible drivers will automatically receive a paper license extension in the mail.

 

While in-person DMV offices are currently closed, many DMV needs can be handled on their website at: www.dmv.ca.gov 

 

Food Support and Assistance

Many grocery stores are offering a special ‘senior hour’ for older residents to shop with limited exposure to the general public. These include:

 

Albertsons: Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00am-9:00am

Community Market: Daily, 9:00am-10:00am

Costco: Tuesday and Thursday, 8:00am-9:00am

Mollie Stone: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 7:00am-8:00am

Nugget Markets: Daily, 7:00am

Oliver’s Market: Daily, 6:00am-7:00am

Pacific Market: Daily, 7:00am-8:00am (pregnant women welcome)

Petaluma Market: Daily, 6:00am-7:00am

Penngrove Market: 8:00am-9:00am

Safeway: Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00am-9:00am

Sonoma Market: Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00am-8:00am

Target: Wednesday, 8am

Whole Foods: Daily, 8:00am-9:00am

 

Food Banks

Food Banks are becoming a critical resource for any family experiencing food insecurity. We are fortunate to have a number of food banks that support North Bay communities, many which offer pick up and drop off options for seniors.

 

San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

Redwood Empire Food Bank

Sonoma Valley Food Distribution

 

Meals for Older Adults

Meals on Wheels and food pick up locations are available from service providers throughout the North Bay– no one 60 years of age or older is refused a meal. If you have a pet, please speak with the provider to receive pet food. Please call the number below to register.

 

· Meals of Marin (415) 578-2961 

· Coastal Seniors (707)-882-2137

· Council on Aging (707) 525-0143 x013

· Petaluma People Services Center (707) 765-8488

· Whistlestop Nourish (415) 456-9062 x176

 

Additional information on COVID-19 and resources for seniors:

 

- Guidance for Area Agencies on Aging for Coronavirus Disease 2019

- Guidance for Community-Based Adult Services for Coronavirus Disease 2019

- Guidance for Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program

- Guidance Documents: Coronavirus Disease 2019

- Check out the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for older adults and people with chronic medical conditions.

- State Health and Emergency Officials Encourage Individuals at Higher Risk of Severe Illness due to COVID-19 to Take Precautions

- What do Older Adults and People with Disabilities Need to Know?

- People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19

- Guidance for Individuals with Access and Functional Needs

 

My staff and I are working around the clock to make sure that residents across the North Bay are receiving the support and services you need. If I can be of assistance, please contact me by email at assemblymember.levine@assembly.ca.gov or by phone at (707) 576-2631 or (415) 479-4920.

Stay safe and be well,

MARC LEVINE

 

 

SUPPORTING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING SHELTER IN PLACE

Audio of the April 7, 2020 Tele-Townhall on Mental Health Resources during COVID-19:

Thank you to all the North Bay residents who were able to participate in our tele-townhall discussing tools to support our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were fortunate to have Dr. Jei Africa, Director of Marin County's Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services as our guest speaker and provide families with important resources to support the mental health needs of our loved ones and ourselves.

If you were unable to participate, I have posted an audio recording of the town hall here along with a number of resources that were discussed to support you and your family during this time.

Now more than ever, it is important to recognize that protecting our mental health is as important as protecting our physical health. There are a number of resources available to support us. Please use and share this information with your friends and neighbors.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at (800) 273-8255

El Linea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio es (888) 628-9594

Marin County, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services offers prevention and early intervention, suicide prevention and crisis services to all residents of Marin County.

The Marin County Crisis Stabilization Unit can be reached at (415) 473-6666

Marin County's Mental Health and Substance Use Access and Assessment can be reached at (888) 818-1115 

Sonoma County offers a range of mental health and substance abuse support services to all residents of Sonoma County.

The Sonoma County Crisis Stabilization Unit can be reached at (707) 576-8181

The North Bay Suicide Prevention Hotline of Sonoma County (855) 587-6373

The California Peer-Run Warm line provides free, non-emergency support and mental health referrals to California residents 24/7. They can be reached at (855) 845-7415.

The Centers for Disease Control offer resources to Manage Anxiety & Stress.

The Centers for Disease Control offers resources on Helping Children Cope with Emergencies.

The World Health Organization offers resources on Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers resources on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information and Resources.

NAMI California offers resources on Coronavirus Updates: Mental health guidance, public health news and resources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers resources on How to Talk to Your Anxious Child or Teen about Coronavirus

National Public Radio recently published Just for Kids: A Comic exploring the new Coronavirus

I have also received a number of emails from constituents sharing resources that were helpful to them and could be helpful to others. At a time like this, it was heartening to see so many of our neighbors wanting to offer tools and support for other families. Thank you!

Here are a few of the resources offered by other constituents:

Three Tips from a Therapist for Calming Your Coronavirus Anxiety published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Wellify Teen, a Marin County nonprofit dedicated to supporting parents of teens with mental health struggles, has compiled listings of local mental health organizations and private practice therapists providing teletherapy on a sliding scale. Sliding scale fees help to make mental health care more accessible to all. A sliding scale is a flexible fee structure, tailored to your financial ability to pay. 

YMCA of San Francisco, which serves San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties has made virtual wellness classes available for members and non-members. Visit their page for virtual healthy living resources, including live wellness classes. https://www.ymcasf.org/virtual-classes

The COVID19 Pro Bono Counseling Project is devoted to helping front-line healthcare workers impacted by COVID19 by providing free short-term tele-counseling during the COVID19 crisis.

Please note that this website is for therapists and front-line healthcare workers in the Bay Area only. Pro bono counseling services are at exceptionally high demand. If you are able to access and pay for non-pro bono care, please consider doing so.

I know that this is an extremely stressful time for you and your loved ones. It is important to know that while we are all practicing physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, that does not mean that we should limit our social connections. Technology is a great tool to keep us connected. Call, facetime, email, join an online group, or go low tech and write someone a letter. Use this time to connect with those you care about and let them know that they are not alone.

Your mental health is important to your overall health. Remember to:

Take care of yourself.

Maintain a daily schedule and routine.

Try your best to eat healthy.

Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep.

While staying up to date on the news is important, give yourself a break from the constant flow of information.

Take time every day to turn the tv off and put your phone down.

If you can, take a walk or give yourself a few minutes to sit in your yard or patio.

Most importantly, know that you are not alone during this crisis. My staff and I are working around the clock to make sure that residents across the North Bay are receiving the support and services you need. If I can be of assistance, please contact me by email at assemblymember.levine@assembly.ca.gov or by phone at (707) 576-2631 or (415) 479-4920.

 

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These are unprecedented times. The Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic poses a massive threat to our community's health and well-being, to our economy and to our way of life. We must confront it with firm and resolute steps to slow the virus' spread.

Success will define us, failure will destroy us. These are frightening words, but it is the reality we face. We are all in this together, and together we can determine our fate. Can we protect the health of our families and ourselves? Can we stop our healthcare system from becoming overloaded? What resources are there to protect our financial security and our homes? Here is what your government is doing:

This week, at least eight northern California counties (Sonoma, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara) issued public health orders directing people to remain at home unless absolutely necessary, and to close all non-essential businesses. More counties are expected to make similar announcements in the coming days. Social isolation is critically important now to reduce the infection rate and protect our healthcare infrastructure from being overwhelmed.

We need to work together now more than ever.

All residents are directed to shelter in place and distance themselves from others until at least April 7, only leaving their homes for reasons deemed essential. North Bay residents should only leave their home for things like necessary trips to the grocery store, urgent doctor's appointments and pharmacy visits, and helping families, friends, or others who need our help. Essential businesses will remain open, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, gas stations, and hospitals as well as public transportation. Many restaurants will remain open, but only for takeout and delivery. Daycare centers may remain open. All non-essential businesses will be closed. All non-essential gatherings of any size are also banned, along with any non-essential travel. Residents are being asked to work from home or stop work unless their work is an essential service such as health care workers, public safety, utility providers and sanitation workers. People can also go outside for exercise as long as they maintain six feet of separation from others.

Although severe, these measures are critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19, and I urge residents to adhere to these directives in the full spirit through which they were issued.

You can read more about the Marin County shelter in place order here: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/

You can read more about the Sonoma County shelter in place order here: https://socoemergency.org/covid-19-message-17-march-2019/

I recognize that these orders will create some economic hardship, and I'm working with the governor and legislative leaders to mitigate these difficulties as much as possible. I'm committed to helping people stay in their homes, providing relief for small businesses and collaborating with essential providers like local food banks to make sure nobody goes without what they need.

On Monday, I supported a bipartisan agreement to make over a billion dollars in emergency funding available to the State of California to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement includes a billion dollar appropriation to support Governor Gavin Newsom’s emergency declaration to address the COVID-19 pandemic and gives the governor significant resources to both increase the capacity of our healthcare system while supporting preventative efforts to reduce transmission of the coronavirus across the state. The legislation also includes language to prepare for the long recovery period the state will likely experience after the crisis has abated and lays the groundwork to support small businesses, non-profits and individuals that experience economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I also supported legislation to waive the current Average Daily Attendance requirement in K-12 public schools for the remainder of this academic school year. As of Monday, more than 100 school districts serving more than 2 million students were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will ensure that all school districts receive their full enrollment funding for the year and makes an additional $100 million available to school districts to purchase personal protective equipment or for supplies and labor costs necessary to conduct additional deep cleaning of schoolsites.

The Legislature’s actions this week build a foundation from which California will meet this moment. We will make every resource of the State of California available to curb this pandemic and its impact on our society and economy.

My staff and I are here to support you and your family during this difficult time. Please reach out to my office directly for information on resources available to assist you during this emergency. I can be reached by phone at 415-479-4920 or 707-576-2632 or by email at Assemblymember.Levine@assembly.ca.gov. For the most up to date information, please take a moment to connect with me on social media:

Additional resources can be found here:

  • State of California - This website provides a one stop resource with the latest information and resources to help you and your family during this emergency.
  • Department of Public Health - This website is updated frequently with the latest public health information on COVID-19.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles - If your driver’s license or vehicle registration is expiring within the next 60 days, the DMV is offering a 60 day grace period to limit the need to visit a DMV office.
  • Employment Development Department - The governor has waived the one week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits for those unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19. Additional information is available for employers including payroll tax assistance.
  • Franchise Tax Board - The FTB announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns and make certain payments to June 15, 2020, for all tax filings and payments due between March 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020.
  • Property Taxes - Both Sonoma County and Marin County have updated information on property tax payments due this spring. Please click on your county’s link for the most current information.
  • Protections for Renters and Homeowners - This week, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order authorizing local governments to halt evictions for renters and slow foreclosures and protect customers from utility shutoffs. Please contact your local government (city or county) for specific protections for renters and homeowners in your community.
  • US Small Business Administration - The SBA is offering low interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses with economic support during this emergency.
  • CA Infrastructure & Economic Development Bank - The California iBank can offer small businesses with a range of loan guarantee programs to provide economic support during this emergency.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric - PG&E has announced a moratorium on customer shutoffs for nonpayment.
  • Attorney General - The Attorney General is actively enforcing price gouging related to emergency and medical supplies. File a complaint.

As a father of two young children and the son of elderly parents, I know how difficult this time is for many North Bay families. We can and will get through this together.