CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY PLANNING

The City of King is taking proactive steps to help prevent a local outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to plan the steps necessary to respond effectively if an outbreak should occur.  First and foremost, it is important that everyone remain calm.  There is no cause for panic.  Thus far, there has been no known cases of the coronavirus in King City or Monterey County.  If cases do occur in the future, most patients will experience mild symptoms and will recover with no complications.  However, since the disease can have serious effects for higher risk individuals, including older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, the absence of any prior cases presents an opportunity to prevent these potential risks by taking precautionary measures.

The City is recommending everyone follow guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to avoid potential exposure to the disease.  Wash hands frequently for 20 seconds.  Avoid shaking hands and avoid close contact with anyone that is ill.  Try to maintain a 6-ft. distance from others.  Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.  If washing facilities are not convenient, utilize hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  Stay home if you become ill and cover your mouth with a tissue or elbow when you cough.

The City is also following the guidelines of the CDC and CDPH for public gatherings, which recommend cancelling or postponing events of 250 people or more where 6 ft. distances between participants cannot be maintained.  Unfortunately, this will impact some upcoming events that the City has been planning for the enjoyment of the community.  The Census 2020 Kickoff Party scheduled on March 22nd has been cancelled.  The Grand Opening of Aera Soccer Park scheduled on March 28th has been postponed to a date uncertain.  In addition, all City recreation and sports programs have been postponed.

The City is working in partnership with all area agencies to develop an emergency plan for the potential scenario of an outbreak in the community in the future.  This includes Monterey County Office of Emergency Services, Mee Memorial Hospital, California Water Services, school districts, American Red Cross, and others.

In addition to the CDC guidelines specific to COVID-19, Mee Memorial Healthcare system has strict protocols for patients presenting to their facilities with respiratory symptoms or a fever. If any of these symptoms are present, patients are urged to call ahead before entering the facilities. All patients that present to their facility will be screened upon registering. If there is a concern for COVID-19 infection, patients will be given a surgical mask and be isolated in a separate room for evaluation by a healthcare professional.

California Water Service has confirmed that the water is safe to use and drink as normal. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency have all confirmed that the water quality treatment processes water suppliers already take to safeguard the water system are effective to keep it safe from viruses, including COVID-19. The utility also has a contingency plan in place to ensure the water system continues to operate properly if some employees are unable to report to work.

Much of the City’s emergency planning effort is aimed at ensuring the City will maintain critical services during an outbreak in the event City workers are infected and/or impacted due to exposure.  Therefore, if the community were to experience a significant outbreak of the coronavirus, residents and businesses should anticipate that the City would suspend all but critical services for a temporary period until full staffing is restored.  The City is also working on establishing the capability to expand online services if necessary.  Be assured the City’s Police and Fire emergency response services are operating as normal.

Residents are encouraged to take steps to establish their own plans and preparation. It is always advisable to have supplies on hand if a quarantine situation at home may become necessary, as well as any other type of emergencies that should always be prepared for.  However, the City urges the public to avoid stockpiling more items than needed, which makes it difficult for others to obtain necessary supplies.  The City is working with local merchants on plans to institute a program of delivering supplies to those that may become quarantined because of the disease if it becomes necessary as long as supplies are available.  While it is important to maintain recommended “social distancing” as much as possible, the potential for the disease should not prevent King City from doing what it does so well, which is to help and support each other if individuals in need become impacted at some point.  Please also note that price gouging is illegal.  Since the Governor has declared a State of Emergency, businesses are prohibited from raising prices on basic goods by over 10%.  Residents should report any violations to the City of State Attorney General’s Office.

Residents are encouraged to obtain more information from the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html or the Monterey County Health Department website at www.mtyhd.org/covid19.  You may also contact 2-1-1 if you have non-medical questions regarding the coronavirus.  The situation is changing rapidly.  Therefore, the City will be issuing ongoing public information announcements.  For these messages, you may go to the City’s website at www.kingcity.com or like the City of King facebook page.