Wednesday, March 11, 2020

City Manager's New Update Silent on COVID-19

After a gap of a little over two months, the City published a "City Manager's update" on Tuesday.
The weekly newsletter (inset) kept advertising them
In January and February it was a little amusing to see at the end of the City's "Community Connection" newsletter each week that we should read the City Manager's Updates. It was clearly just careless boilerplate, not at all linked to the existence of any new update.

And this new one dated March 6th is a little longer than usual.

Praise for the City
It leads with Praise for the City. I suppose the ritual acclamation and anodyne tone could be a good way to start, but what is alarming is the utter silence on coronavirus and Covid-19.

Are we performing a revival of the cyanotoxin fiasco? (And on something that has a much greater known lethality?) As of this morning the City's page on the coronavirus is dated March 2nd, and still seems dominated by a "this is like the the flu" sensibility and does not meet its severity.

The City is mainly "monitoring" - here's a message to monitor!
WHO declared it a "pandemic" today
If we wait until people start getting sick and dying here, we will be too late. We are already too late for serious containment. On mitigation and treatment Salem Reporter notes
Salem Hospital has 48 ICU capable beds & 27 negative air flow rooms, per spokesman
That capacity will get maxed out real fast in a wave of illness.

The City should be more proactive about discouraging public meetings and large association. They should advocate real social distancing now, not merely three-foot spacing, but on all gatherings, before we have the wave of illness, not after.

Even if they are trying to follow the lead of the State and County Public Health, there should have been some acknowledgement of the crisis and preparation for things to follow. All in all this is a strange and worrisome omission. "We hope it won't be as bad" is not a strategy.

We need more institutional support for social distancing
via twitter


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Willamette Week just published a letter from UO faculty based in Italy.

From the piece:

"To date, the state and the university have not recognized the seriousness of the situation. There remains only a short window of time to be proactive rather than reactive," write Professors Melissa Graboyes, Alfredo Burlando and Eleonora Redaelli in a letter that has circulated on social media.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

This afternoon both UO and OSU are cancelling in-person classes and moving to online coursework. UO is also cancelling attendance at sporting events. Things are beginning to move, and we should not be bashful about joining the social distancing program.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Now the NBA has cancelled the rest of the season and Tom Hanks announced he tested positive in Australia.

Anonymous said...

The city did just announce a limited slate of closings and postponements following Governor Brown's directives on gatherings of 250+ people:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks, anon. Today the City announced a further set of closures, including "advisory board and commission meetings," many of them with likely attendance well below the 250 person guideline.