COVID-19 Update: Grand Princess Cruise Ship To Debark At Port Of Oakland

Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson Mcelhaney
(Last Updated On: March 9, 2020)

Update on COVID-19

Grand Princess Cruise Ship to Debark at Port of

March 9, 2020 – On Saturday, the Governor announced that the Port of was selected as the best location to disembark passengers aboard the Princess Grand Cruise ship. As the nation continues to address the concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) Council-member Gibson McElhaney is in regular contact with Mayor Schaaf and the Port director to ensure that no harm comes to those living and working in District 3 as the State and Federal officials work to get well passengers home to their families and infected passengers the treatment they need.

Please read the following announcement that was released by City Administrator Sabrina Landreth this morning:

Dear City Staff,

The State of California (Governor’s Office of Emergency Services) is working with the Federal government (Department of Health and Human Services) to help the passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship, nearly 1,000 of whom are California residents, disembark from the ship. That operation will take place at the Port of beginning tomorrow; the exact time has not yet been determined. This operation is being led by the federal government, in partnership with the State of California. The Port and City of were asked to support.

The most recent statement from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) is here: http://www.oesnews.com/update-on-grand-princess-cruise-ship/

A few key points to highlight from that update:

The ship will only be docked during the duration of the disembarkment. The ship will depart as soon as possible and will remain elsewhere for the duration of the ship crew’s quarantine.
The passengers will not be released into the general public.
Passengers who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization will be transported to health care facilities in California.
If passengers do not require acute medical care following health screenings, those who are California residents will go to a federally-run isolation facility within California for testing and isolation. Non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states. The crew will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship.

Governor Newsom also hosted a news conference today with opening remarks from Mayor Libby Schaaf. A link to that video is here.

During the news conference, Mayor Schaaf articulated her top three priorities: 1) to ensure the safety and health of our community, especially the workers and residents closest to the Port; 2) to ensure that the public and community stay informed, guided by the facts, not fears; 3) to do the right thing to help these people who have been stranded on the ship and not let fear dictate our humanity.

Mayor Schaaf also emphasized that from the outset she made it clear to State and Federal officials that this is a community that has suffered decades of environmental injustice and racism, and she sought and received strong assurances that the operation would:

Employ the best isolation practices known
Minimize the time the ship and its passengers are in
No one will be released into our community

Why ?

Many people are asking, “Why ?” According to CalOES: “After careful review of all options, the Port of was selected as the best site for the ship to disembark. There are limited docks that will be able to dock a ship of that size, and the Port of location was the easiest to seal off, securely move passengers toward their isolation destination and protect the safety of the public.”

Governor Newsom praised Mayor Schaaf and local leaders for their leadership: “The City of , Alameda County and the Port of are stepping up in a major way, and their residents deserve universal praise. They are showing the world what makes our state great – coming to the rescue of thousands of people trapped aboard this ship and helping tackle a national emergency,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

Mayor Schaaf stated, “’s role in this operation is to support our state and federal authorities as they conduct a critical public health mission to help those impacted by the COVID-19 virus…I have been assured that no one will be quarantined in , nor will any passengers be released into the general public.”

City Officials Continue to Plan and Prepare

The City’s COVID-19 Emergency Planning Team is closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. We remain in close coordination with public health experts at the Alameda County Public Health Department, our local public health lead, for guidance, and we are tracking any new developments at the CDC, the Federal government’s lead public health agency.

The Emergency Planning Team is taking measures to plan for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak and working to ensure that the plans, policies, and protocols related to COVID-19 will sustain the continuity of operations, services, and safety of City employees and the community.

Staying Healthy

According to public health experts worldwide, the most important thing we can ALL do to slow the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 in our community, is to vigilantly practice these illness-prevention measures:

Wash hands with liquid soap and hot water and rub for at least 20 seconds;
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
If you are sick, stay home;
Avoid close contact (less than 6 feet) with people who are sick;
Get a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu, which has some similar symptoms to COVID-19;
Use disinfectant wipes to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, including your work station, phone, computer keyboard, remote controls, and other work equipment;
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you develop symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Please continue to follow the guidance laid out in Administrative Instruction 257, including:

Employees with flu-like symptoms should stay home to prevent the spread of illness, and should stay home for 24 hours after the fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medication.
Employees should use available sick leave for personal illness or the illness of an immediate family member.
Supervisors must allow employees to use available leave if an employee presents with flu-like symptoms or claims they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Supervisors should consult with Risk Management before sending employees home or requesting a fitness for duty evaluation.

The Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS) continues to provide direction to first responders regarding precautions to use when encountering people who may possibly have COVID-19.

The City’s Public Information Team has produced tens of thousands of public information posters and fact sheets in English, Chinese, and Spanish that will be distributed this week to City facilities and public counters, including the Library, senior centers, Head Start centers, Edgewater, 5050 Coliseum Way, recreation centers, police stations, fire stations, and Civic Center.

The Alameda County Public Health Department has advised that at this time, they are not recommending cancellation of schools or mass gatherings; vulnerable populations who are at higher risk of contracting the illness may want to avoid mass gatherings. The State of California has issued new guidance re: schools and public events: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Guidance.aspx

The City’s Emergency Management Division is coordinating with emergency managers across Alameda County to plan for the following:

Ways to reduce contact between people if public health officials call for social distancing,
Possibility of school closures and cancellations of mass gatherings,
Protecting people who are at higher risk for complications from illness, and
·Maintaining operations.

We encourage you to visit these websites to stay current on how to protect you and your family:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.
Alameda County Public Heath Department: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov

The CDC has specific recommendations for:

Travel: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
Schools: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-for-schools.html
Pregnant Women and Children: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/pregnant-women.html

Thank you for your continued calm during this uncertain time. We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. If you have specific questions about the policies outlined in AI 257, please contact Risk Management.

Sincerely,

Sabrina Landreth

City Administrator

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By Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney

Lynette Gibson McElhaney is Oakland's Two-Term District Three Councilmember

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