Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
I’m sure you are aware of concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, and the threat it poses to public health, particularly to older adults and those with underlying health conditions. I wanted to share with you how the city is responding to this situation.
It’s important to note that there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 among our residents. Pomona Valley Hospital and Medical Center (PVHMC) reported on Wednesday that they treated a woman who was visiting a nearby community, fell ill, and was rushed to their facility where she passed away due to complications from her illness. You can read PVHMC’s statement about this incident to learn more. This patient had been traveling and is suspected of contracting the virus during her travels. As I have often said, Pomona is a community that serves more than itself, and I’m proud of the dedicated staff at PVHMC, who demonstrate this by caring for those visiting our region who are in need.
While there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in Pomona at this time, we have consulted with health experts over the past several days and have taken a series of actions to reduce risks to Pomona residents. These include the following:
Postponement of the State of the City Address, scheduled for March 18th. After consultation with County health officials, city staff, Pomona Unified School District, and other event partners, I have decided to postpone the State of the City Address. It is prudent to postpone this event which would have brought hundreds of community members together to celebrate our accomplishments of the past year. When I was elected I made a commitment to annually hold this event, and remain committed to doing so. I look forward to being able to re-schedule this great community event once it is deemed safe to do so by local health experts.
Cancellation or postponement of other community events and non-essential meetings. Consistent with the recommendation of LA County Public Health officials, we are cancelling or postponing non-essential events, such as community meetings and public gatherings in an effort to practice social distancing and limit exposure. This includes the Downtown Pomona Market Night and Trolley on March 14th (galleries and businesses will remain open for artwalk), the Community Clean-Up event at Simons Middle School on March 14th, Pomona Beautiful’s weekly cleanup events, and the Golden Streets open road bicycling event scheduled for April 19th. I’m sure there will be additional postponements, and you are encouraged to follow me on social media to receive updates.
Changes at City Council meetings. Due to the essential nature of City Council meetings in order to conduct the business of the city, our next council meeting on March 16th will take place as scheduled. However, we are taking steps to ensure transparency and participation, while limiting exposure. We will be cancelling non-essential presentations, encouraging the community to watch the proceeding online, inviting public comment via email, and encouraging the practice of social distance for those in attendance. Read our full statement on these meeting changes.
In addition to these actions, I have been in constant consultation with large institutions in our city, including Cal Poly Pomona, Western University, the Fairplex, and Pomona Unified School District, to monitor steps they are taking to protect the community. Cal Poly Pomona has paused face-to-face instruction in most classes, to prepare for teaching these courses in a virtual format that accommodates social distancing (read President Coley’s statement). Similarly, Western University has shifted its coursework online and notified students to not come to campus (read their statement). The Fairplex has cancelled or rescheduled large events at least through March. Classes remain in session at Pomona Unified School District, as officials monitor reports from public health officials (read their latest safety update). These institutions will continue to monitor their situations and may be taking additional steps to protect the community.
We remain in contact with health experts about best practices to prevent the spread of this virus in our community and will take further actions as necessary. Each of us are urged to take steps in our own lives to protect ourselves and our loved ones. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends avoiding close contact, washing hands often, disinfecting surfaces, and avoid spreading infection to others by staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes. Visit the Department of Health’s Coronavirus web site for more information.
Together, we can protect each other, and keep our community safe.