A message from the City of Carlsbad’s Emergency Services Director
How public agencies are preparing for and responding to COVID-19
Reports of increased spread of the new coronavirus in the United States has prompted questions from Carlsbad businesses and residents about how the City of Carlsbad is prepared to respond.
A diverse and well-coordinated array of federal, state and local agencies are prepared and mobilized to respond to COVID-19.
At the federal level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the support of numerous other agencies, has led the health care response.
CDC’s response strategy has been to contain the outbreak in the U.S. while preparing to respond to cases of community spread.
As a part of that strategy, the CDC has informed Americans that the basic practices used to mitigate the seasonal flu are also the most effective to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. These include: hand washing, respiratory hygiene, keeping one’s distance from ill individuals and disinfection of common surfaces.
At the regional level, in San Diego County, the Health and Human Services Agency is the lead agency for infectious respiratory disease planning.
The county public health officer is authorized to take measures necessary to prevent the spread of disease.
The public health officer also evaluates COVID-19 information, assesses the health risk to the community, notifies appropriate agencies, and coordinates disease prevention and control measures with local agencies. Local agencies include cities, school districts and others.
City of Carlsbad preparedness
The city works year round to enhance our ability to prepare for and respond to potential hazards affecting our community, including those involving public health. We have been in direct and near daily contact with public health agencies since January and is coordinating with city leaders on potential response needs. Information sharing and planning has also involved regional agencies and local community sectors, including local schools, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and others.
The city has also identified in its continuity of operations plan the critical personnel and departments needed to provide for the necessary services and functions for the community during a public health emergency.
This past week we witnessed the first cases of “community spread” in the U.S. Community spread is characterized by positive COVID-19 cases of unknown origin. With the advent of community spread, a second category of strategies may become necessary. These strategies include “social distancing” and the CDC has issued guidelines for this eventuality.
The actions may involve:
Cancelling planned social gatherings, activities and meetings
Closing facilities and services
These strategies are implemented by local jurisdictions and districts in coordination with local health officials when community spread presents in the region.
Where to get information
The City of Carlsbad will continue to coordinate with federal, state and local public health agencies and share information affecting Carlsbad residents directly via a dedicated page on the city’s website. Community members can follow updates via the city’s social media channels and weekly enewsletter.
The health and welfare of Carlsbad residents is our number one priority. We encourage all who live, work and play in Carlsbad to adhere to the time-tested practices:
Respiratory hygiene (covering your coughs and sneezes and throwing away used tissues)
Keeping your distance from ill individuals
Disinfection of common surfaces
Should community spread occur in the San Diego region, distancing actions will be coordinated by the agencies discussed above and shared through the described media sources and references. Some agencies may use additional communication resources. And should community spread occur (or you suspect close contact with a COVID-19 source) and a family member, employee or friend becomes ill, please call your health provider before transporting the individual for care.