Union City’s Disaster Council meeting was convened for the second time during the pandemic, on Thursday, February 18. The purpose of convening the Disaster Council was to hear about the activities of the City’s Emergency Operations Center and partner agency responses related to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Union City Disaster Council was established by city ordinance in 1972. Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci serves as the Disaster Council Chair.
Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci expresses: “We are closing in on the one-year anniversary of the City’s local emergency declaration in response to COVID-19, and it is just as important as ever to maintain strong communication with our partner agencies and communities. The City’s Emergency Operations Center continues its 24/7 work on pandemic response, understanding the community’s needs, and connecting residents and businesses with resources. Holding another Disaster Council meeting was a significant way for us to convene our partner agencies under one – virtual – roof and to convey to the public the timely updates on vaccines and the various support that is available to them.”
Participating members included:
A summary of agency updates is attached to this press release. For regular updates from the City about all things Coronavirus, go to www.unioncity.org/coronavirus, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and NextDoor, and sign up for our e-newsletter at unioncity.org/e-newsletter.
Union City Disaster Council – February 18, 2021
City and Partner Agency Meeting Updates
Emergency Operations Center (EOC):
The Union City Emergency Operation Center team has been meeting weekly and now bi-weekly since March of 2020, and has focused on three main areas – (1) employee health, safety, and well-being, (2) communication to our community, and (3) assessing community needs. The EOC continues to communicate with residents and community partners, and has shifted its focus from testing to vaccination efforts. The EOC reports on its activities and accomplishments:
Alameda County Office of Emergency Services (ALCO OES):
As of February 18th at the time of the Disaster Council meeting, ALCO OES reported that 264,000 people have received at least one vaccine in Alameda County and there is already noticeable improvement in long-term care facilities and nursing homes. However, with a population of 1.7 million in the County, the vaccine supply is still very limited. ALCO OES asks residents to continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks as the County continues its work in distributing the vaccine.
There are now numerous vaccination sites throughout Alameda County:
New Haven Unified School District (NHUSD):
No re-opening date for students physically attending school in person is available. Learning pods have been established throughout New Haven Unified School District and there is a pod for the unhoused students at the Union City Family Center.
Union City Family Center (UCFC):
Since May of 2020, the UCFC received 10 supplemental grants; most of these grants support direct cash distribution in partnership with Centro de Servicios, in the form of gift cards for gas and groceries. Since the start of the pandemic, UCFC has served an average of 800 families per month by providing various types of PPE, diapers, and wipes. The Center also maintains a robust food distribution operation: they host a drive-through food distribution four times per month, serving between 200 and 350 families. UCFC is also seeking to be a site host for a mobile vaccination site. The Center is currently accepting clothing donations, by appointment only. To sign up for any of these aid programs or to get immediate assistance, contact UCFC by email at email@example.com or by phone at 510-476-2770.
Union City Police Department (UCPD):
The mission of the Union City Police Department during the pandemic is to maintain quality emergency services while protecting employees and those they serve. Various measures have been taken to keep police officers healthy and free of exposure. Some of these mitigation efforts include the implementation of an emergency staffing plan, a modified service model reducing person to person contact, temperature checks of employees before their shifts, increased deep cleaning of facility and vehicles, and requiring masks to be worn in the field and in the station.
Chief Jared Rinetti reports that, to date, 22 UCPD employees have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19. Police staff have started to get vaccinations and all staff who are interested in getting vaccinated will have done so by the end of February. Staff will be asked to come back in person on March 15.
Alameda County Fire Department:
ACFD provided an update on the Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center (TVHC) pod which conducts 350 vaccinations on Thursdays. The pod is currently vaccinating people 65 years and older, as well as essential workers. In addition, ACFD reports that new training opportunities will be available for CERT, with online academies opening up in June 2021.
Alameda County Water District (ACWD):
Operations have had to be reduced in the area of construction because of lower staffing levels. ACWD has programs for lower-income individuals, such as the Help on Tap program. In an effort to assist people who have been affected by COVID-19, ACWD is not shutting off water and collecting late fees.
PG&E continues to offer programs for low income individuals, such as the CAREs program and FERA, a federally funded program. PG&E is not shutting off power during the pandemic. The Medical Baseline program is also in place; this is a program for residential customers who depend on power for certain medical and independent living needs. In the last year, PG&E’s operations have been impacted by fire response, civil disturbance, windstorms, and COVID-19.
Union Sanitary District (USD):
Union Sanitary District is open to the public and customer service has not changed.
Eden I&R 211:
211 reported 8,000 COVID-19 calls since March 2020; most of these calls are related to job loss, domestic violence, utility payment assistance, and scheduling medical appointments in general. 211 is also assisting in booking vaccine appointments at Fremont High School in Oakland. 211 reports that senior residents are having difficulty in navigating sites and are not on social media to get vaccination information and make appointments.
These updates and more can be found at www.unioncity.org/coronavirus.