Coronavirus – Marin Proclaims Health Local Emergencies Increasing Eligibility

Proactive move increases eligibility for COVID-19 cost reimbursement

The County of Marin is taking steps to proclaim a local health emergency and a local state of emergency to prepare for impacts associated with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that has raised concerns worldwide.

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a local health emergency proclamation March 3 and recommended that the Marin County Board of Supervisors ratify it during its next regular meeting March 10. In addition, the Board will consider ratifying a local state of emergency proclamation, a step that allows the County to exercise authority – if needed – to protect lives and property and be eligible to receive reimbursement for costs incurred because of the COVID-19 threat.

While there have been no cases of COVID-19 among Marin County residents, the County’s actions will help ensure a flexible and fluid response to COVID-19 while better preserving the County’s ability to recover any COVID-19 -related costs from state or federal sources.

“This declaration is about preparedness,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “Our COVID-19 preparation is bringing together partners from across the community, in public health, first responders, our hospitals and health care workers, our schools and businesses. As we allocate more resources to protect residents, this will help ensure we have the support we need.” 

The ratified proclamations would be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and the State of California Office of Emergency Services for consideration to request mutual aid. In declaring a local emergency, Marin County joins a growing number of Bay Area jurisdictions taking similar action to support COVID-19 response, including San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Solano, and Sonoma counties.  

“As the epidemic spreads globally, we’re prioritizing local readiness,” said Benita McLarin, Director of Marin HHS. “This declaration will allow even stronger interagency collaboration.”

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, and the United States followed the next day by declaring a federal public health emergency. On February 26, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed community transmission of COVID-19 in the Bay Area, meaning the afflicted patient had no signs of associating with anyone who had been diagnosed with the virus.

Health officials cite a concern for potential impact in Marin.

“Nearly one on three Marin residents is over age 60,” said Dr. Lisa Santora, Deputy Public Health Officer. “It’s especially important to protect our seniors from infection. Older adults and those with other existing medical vulnerabilities are at the greatest risk for severe disease if infected with COVID-19.”

The best way to reduce the risk of becoming infected with a respiratory virus, whether the flu or COVID-19, is to practice good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or crook of your elbow (not your hands). If you use a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands afterward;
  • Avoid touching your face;
  • Stay home from work or school if you have a fever or are feeling sick;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu.

In addition, residents are encouraged to seek factual, reliable information about COVID-19 and not fall prey to rumors circulating on social media. Local COVID-19 updates can be found on the Marin HHS COVID-19 webpage, and information about global COVID-19 activity can be found on the CDC website.



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