You’ve no doubt seen news about COVID-19 – caused by the new coronavirus causing concern around the world. As city employees, you are affected by public health emergencies in more ways than one. That’s why I and other members of our city leadership will be sending you frequent updates and reminders as this situation continues to unfold.
Safeguard your own health
First, protecting your health and safety is our number one priority. Please continue to follow all the guidelines put out by public health officials, including:
Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly – for at least 20 seconds each time.
If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that has 60% alcohol.
Don’t touch your face.
Effective immediately, no more shaking hands. Simply give a “hi” sign and explain that you’re doing your part to prevent the spread of germs. People will understand.
If you feel sick, stay home (or go home if you start to feel ill during the workday). Inform your supervisor.
If you become ill and have reason to suspect COVID-19 (suspect possible contact with infected individual or have been in a location known to be experiencing community spread), call your health care provider before reporting to health care facility.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose completely with a tissue or the inside of your elbow and look away from others.
When you use tissues, immediately throw them in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Things are changing quickly.
Please read the emails we send completely and post them in break rooms for those who don’t use computers frequently.
If you’re a supervisor, discuss the content with your employees and ask if they have questions.
Refer to the city’s web page that has links to approved, reliable and updated information from official sources.
COVID-19 is caused by a novel (new) virus. Currently, there are no vaccines or anti-viral treatments.
Like the flu, most people who become infected will get a cough and a fever for several days then recover without any medical treatment.
People with other health conditions are more vulnerable to the effects of the flu, including COVID-19, and should keep in close contact with their doctors if they experience symptoms.
How Carlsbad has prepared
Those familiar with the work of the city’s emergency preparedness team will not be surprised to learn that plans have long been in place for a public health emergency such as COVID-19.
The city has protocols and procedures in place to manage a public health emergency.
We have procured additional supplies that could be needed during a public health emergency, and have reviewed and updated our response plans.
City staff are in near daily contact with public health officials and not just following their guidance but going above and beyond to help make sure we are prepared.
We are in the process of placing hand washing stations provided by the county in heavily trafficked locations around Carlsbad.
City employees have some unique roles and responsibilities:
All city employees are also considered disaster service workers. Please discuss what this means with your supervisor, including how your department or division could be called upon to help.
If you spend time or money on preparedness or response activities, please track your time and expenses with this new project code: 95931 - COVID-19 (see attached instructions if you’re not sure how to do this).
We expect COVID-19 to be a topic of significant interest, including requests for public records, such as emails. If you communicate via email about COVID-19, please do not include other topics in the message. This will make it easier and quicker to respond to requests for records.
As COVID-19 cases continue to spread, some additional precautions and responses could become necessary, such as:
Activating the city’s emergency operations center to facilitate information sharing and support first responders in the field.
Canceling public events and meetings.
Canceling or limiting workplace meetings in favor of conference calls/video chats.
Implementing a telework (working from home) policy for city staff.
Increased cleaning/disinfecting of workspaces and public areas.
Temporarily closing city facilities.
Quarantining those who may have or have contracted COVID-19.
Implementing contingency staffing plans if a significant portion of the workforce is unable to report to work due to illness, unforeseen childcare needs or other COVD-19 related reasons.
Again, these are steps that could be needed, not steps we are taking now. We will follow the guidance issued by the county’s public health officer.
Where to get more info
Check the city’s home page for a link to updated information about COVID-19.
Call HR with employee related questions.
Call your personal health care provider with questions about your health and the health of your loved ones.
Your co-workers and those we serve depend on you. Thank you for helping Carlsbad be prepared.