Manteca officials manning the city’s emergency command center activated for the first-time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic are recommending the city’85,000 residents to shelter in place if possible and avoid crowds of 10 or more people.
The advisory issued Monday evening mirrors federal guidelines formulated by the Centers for Disease Control.
“I can’t stress this enough,” said Lantz Rey, Manteca Fire Department Public Information Officer. “If you don’t have to leave your home — don’t.”
Manteca took a series of steps Monday including sending home all non-essential city personnel and suspending the disconnection of water service for unpaid and overdue balances.
“We are recommending individuals avoid all gatherings except to seek medical attention, get food, or to care for a friend or relative,” Rey said. “It is important for individuals to remain home as much as possible. We understand that this is a challenging situation and we will continue to update residents with more information as the situation evolves.”
The city’s moves come on the heels of decisions in seven Bay Area counties — including Alameda and Santa Clara counties where the bulk of Manteca commuters work — to essentially close most businesses by ordering residents to stay at home and go outside only for food, medicine and outings that are absolutely essential for at least the next three weeks.
Of critical importance is making sure the city’s first responders — firefighters and police officers as well as Manteca Ambulance District personnel — stay healthy.
The central 9-1-1 dispatcher for fire services in the county has just instituted protocols to screen all emergency medical calls to see if there is a respiratory issue in play.
That paid off Monday when Manteca Fire received a call about an individual who had fallen. The 9-1-1 operator had been able to ascertain the person has a respiratory illness allowing first responders to don the appropriate protective gear when responding. County health officials doing a follow up were able to determine the individual had socially interacted with someone who had been exposed to the coronavirus.
Had the firefighters responded and not have had the proper protective gear on, the fact the patient had been around someone who had been exposed to the virus they would have been required to be quarantined whittling the city’s firefighting personnel by three people for at least 14 days.
“Unlike with a major fire or other incident we won’t be able to rely on mutual aid,” Lentz noted if Manteca’s first responders staffing is depleted. “That’s because every city is in the same boat.”
The city’s emergency declaration has allowed the fast tracking on a number of things needed to prepare for a potential surge in coronavirus cases such as inspections needed for tents at both Doctors Hospital of Manteca and Kaiser Manteca hospital to pre-screen emergency room patients.
Interim City Manager Miranda Lutzow who serves as coordinator of emergency responses when the city declares an emergency as it did Saturday, indicated all non-essential city personnel will be sent home starting today until further notice. Excluded from that order are police, fire, solid waste, water, and wastewater workers.
The workers sent home will still be paid.
That means city offices are closed as well as the police lobby. Utility accounts will not be shut-off for non-payment during the city hall closure. Late fees for the month of March that would have been due April 1 are being waived.
The city’s emergency command center is operating daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. inside the council chambers. They are working closely with San Joaquin County Health officials as well as local entities such as Doctors Hospital and Kaiser.
Manteca Police will continue to respond to emergency calls and non-emergency calls for service. For emergencies call 9-1-1 and for non-emergencies call (209) 456-8101.
Manteca Fire will continue to respond to emergency calls and non-emergency calls for service. For emergencies call 9-1-1 and for non-emergencies call (209) 464-4650.
Solid Waste will continue operations with the same collection schedule. The solid waste office will be closed. For emergencies call (209) 649-7371.
Water will continue operating as well. For emergencies or utility stops and starts call (209) 639-4900 or email email@example.com.
Sewer will continue operating. For emergency sewer issues call (209) 456-8470.
Street crews will be on call. For emergency street issues call (209) 235-8836.
The city had already moved to close the Manteca Library as well as the Manteca Senior Center and to suspend all city recreation offerings through at least April 6. They will, however, provide to-go lunch service for seniors at the senior center.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org