Archive for the ‘Contra Costa County’ Category

Melissa Klawuhn promoted to Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

New Contra Costa County Assistant Sheriff Melissa Klawuhn. Photo: CCCSheriff’s Office

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston is pleased to announce the promotion of Captain Melissa Klawuhn to the rank of Assistant Sheriff effective February 27, 2021.

Captain Klawuhn joined the Office of the Sheriff in 2001 as a Laboratory Aide in the Forensic Services Division. In 2003, she was promoted to Deputy Sheriff Criminalist and attended the police basic academy. The next year she transferred to the classification of Deputy Sheriff and had assignments in custody service, patrol and investigation. During that time she served as a Bay Point resident deputy and homicide detective. Captain Klawuhn was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2013, to lieutenant in 2016 and captain in 2019. Captain Klawuhn previously served as a team leader of the Hostage Negotiation Team and the commander of the SWAT Team.

Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, Captain Klawuhn, who has a degree in animal science, was a high school chemistry teacher.

“The Office of the Sheriff values our community partnerships and diversity, and I am honored to transition into this new leadership role,” said Captain Klawuhn.

In her new role, Captain Klawuhn will be one of four Assistant Sheriffs in the organization. She will oversee the Administrative Services Bureau. This includes personnel, finance, professional standards, recruitment, and training.

“It is my privilege to promote Captain Klawuhn,” said Sheriff David Livingston. “She has handled numerous high profile and critical assignments as she climbed the ranks in the department. She has shown outstanding dedication and leadership and made many contributions to the department and community. I thank her for taking on new responsibilities as we serve the community and guide the department into the future. Congratulations to Captain Klawuhn.”

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Contra Costa County issues $97.42 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund new county facilities

Friday, February 26th, 2021

For redevelopment of former administration building site, build fire stations and fund new airport terminal; savings of $7.3 million also generated from refunding existing bonds

By Susan Shiu, Director, Office of Communications and Media, Contra Costa County

Thursday morning, Feb. 25, 2021, Contra Costa County sold $97,420,000 of lease revenue bonds with Barclay’s Capital Inc. serving as underwriter. Proceeds from the bond sale will fund infrastructure projects including redevelopment of the former County Administration Center complex in Martinez, a portion of a new Aircraft Terminal at the Buchanan Field Airport in Concord and construction of two fire stations in Pacheco and Bay Point.

In addition, the County refunded $48.4 million of outstanding bonds resulting in significant savings to the County.

The bonds funding the new construction projects have a true interest cost of 2.27% with a term of 20 years. The refunding bonds have a true interest cost of 1.80% and shortens the term of the previous bonds by two years, from 19 years to 17 years. The refunding bonds resulted in a net present value savings to the County of $7.3 million.

“The results from today’s bond sale are proof of the County’s reputation of strong financial management within the municipal market,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors Diane Burgis. “This allows the County to secure financing for important public infrastructure projects at very attractive rates to better serve our residents.”

According to the California State Treasurer, lease revenue bonds (LRBs) are a type of revenue bond. Lease revenue bonds usually finance the construction of facilities, including government office buildings, correction facilities, courthouses, and fire facilities. However, unlike revenue bonds that use money generated by the project (a bridge toll) to repay investors, lease revenue bonds have a lessee (government agency) that pays rent to use the facility. The rent payments are used to pay back investors who purchased the bonds used to finance the construction of the facility. LRBs are secured by lease payments made by the party leasing the facility (school or office building) that was funded by the bond issue.

“Historically low interest rates and the County’s strong credit profile have allowed us to advance critical projects and refund existing debt for cost savings,” stated County Administrator Monica Nino.

Contra Costa County has been rated “AAA” by Standard and Poor’s since 2012 and, most recently, was upgraded by Moody’s Investor Service to “Aa1” from “Aa2” on February 16, 2021. Both credit rating agencies have attributed their high ratings for Contra Costa County to strong financial management, with policies and practices well-embedded in County operations. They have also pointed to a strong local economy with a large, diverse tax base.

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Contra Costa DA Becton supports California Supreme Court decision to prevent minors from being tried as adults

Friday, February 26th, 2021

By Allen Payton

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton issued a statement regarding Thursday’s California Supreme Court decision to uphold the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1391 (Lara).

Proposition 57, passed in the November 2016 general election, requires prosecutors to commence all cases involving a minor in juvenile court. Senate Bill No. 1391 enacted in 2018, amended Proposition 57 to prohibit minors under the age of 16 from being transferred to adult criminal court.

In the case of O.G. v. The Superior Court of Ventura County, the Court of Appeal held that Senate Bill 1391 is inconsistent with Proposition 57 and thus invalid. The state Supreme Court overruled the lower court’s decision.

“We agree with the majority view that Senate Bill 1391 was a permissible amendment to Proposition 57 and we reverse the judgment in this case,” the decision reads.

“Today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court is an important moment for the criminal justice system to give children a chance at rehabilitation for crimes they committed during their youth,” said Becton. “I have always believed this law was constitutional and should be followed. Our local judges in Contra Costa County have also agreed with me.”

“The juvenile justice system currently is not working,” she continued. “I established a task force to examine how to reform our juvenile justice system. We must think differently on how we treat children and ensure we strategically allocate resources to focus on prevention and rehabilitation efforts.”

The full Supreme Court decision is available here.

Scott Alonso, PIO, CCCDA contributed to this report.

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Deer Valley High student wins second in 2021 Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud competition

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Esmeralda Noyola’s performance in the 2021 Poetry Out Loud county finals. Video screenshot.

Prospects High School champion also made the finals of the competition

The Arts and Culture Commission announced the winners of the 2021 Poetry Out Loud Contra Costa County and Esmeralda Noyola, the Deer Valley High School champion, won second place in the final competition and was awarded a $150 cash prize. The Facebook Live Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony was held on February 11th. Her performance was of the poem We Are Not Responsible by Harryette Mullen. (See her introduction and performance at the 23:50 mark of the video)

Jermaine Gitana from Pinole Valley High School was selected the champion of the county finals and awarded a $200 prize and varsity jacket.

“I am a 17-year-old senior at Pinole Valley High who is part Black and Filipino,” said Gitana. “I enjoy playing instruments, making music, swimming, singing, and most of all reciting poetry.”

His performances of the poems Written By Himself by Gregory Pardlo and Piano by D. H. Lawrence proved to be a winning combination! On March 11th, Jermaine will compete in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals where students recite 3 poems. On March 12th, the California State Winner will be announced on California Arts Council email, internet, and social media. We are very proud of Jermaine!

Tessa Brubaker from San Ramon Valley High School placed third and was awarded $100. The County Finals included impressive high school champions Patricia May Villanueva of Prospects High School (Antioch), Michael Miralles of John Henry High School (Richmond), Kyla Erika Nano of Concord High School, and Kaleigh Thurman of College Park High School (Pleasant Hill).

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud provides free curriculum materials—all available online—including a poetry anthology, a comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources.

All Contra Costa County high school students, grades 9-12, are invited to enter Poetry Out Loud. School winners advance to the County competition each February, then the State competition on March 11, and ultimately to the National Finals. The 2021 POL National Semifinals will take place on Sunday, May 2nd and the 2021 POL National Finals will take place on Thursday, May 27th and will be held virtually in lieu of holding them on-site in Washington D.C. as previously planned. Both will be video submission-based competitions and will be streamed on arts.gov.

Every high school in the county (public, private, parochial, independent, alternative, continuation, court, charter and home schools), non-profit organizations, and libraries are encouraged to participate. Students don’t enter the POL competition directly, but through their high schools or a school POL liaison such as a teacher, librarian, school staff, or organization member.

“Last August, I became the new Managing Director and was first introduced to the amazing Poetry Out Loud program. Our incredible team of Donté Clark (Poetry Out Loud Coordinator), Brennan DeFrisco (Poetry Out Loud Student Coach and Assistant Coordinator), and Antonio Tamayo (Poetry Out Loud Digital Content and Technical Assistant) worked together to transition the program online,” said Jenny Balisle, Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County Managing Director. “The Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony was an evening of many firsts for the Arts and Culture Commission: first Facebook Live event for a signature art program, first ASL interpreters for a live virtual event, and first Land Acknowledgement. Despite the pandemic, we were determined to uplift, support, and celebrate Contra Costa County youth! I’m proud of what we accomplished but most of all- very proud of the resilience and grace of our youth.”

To watch the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony please visit here.

Poetry Out Loud is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, California Arts Council, and Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5).

AC5 is dedicated to advancing the arts in a way that promotes communication, education, appreciation and collaboration throughout Contra Costa County so that we may grow creatively as a community that preserves and celebrates our diverse cultural expression.

Please visit www.ac5.org for more information and sign up on our email list. We welcome your participation and hope to see you next year!

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa extends COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to essential workers

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Teachers, grocery workers and other frontline essential workers who live in Contra Costa County can now sign up to receive safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to them.

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) today updated its eligibility policy for COVID-19 vaccine to extend vaccination eligibility to residents who work in the education and childcare sector, food and agriculture workers, and emergency services workers as defined by Phase 1B of California’s vaccination plan.

“We are committed to protecting all of our educators by ensuring they can access the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors. “It is critical that we prioritize the health and well-being of all the essential workers who have cared for us and our families throughout the pandemic.”

Residents in these groups, as well as county residents who are 65 years and older who have not yet been vaccinated, can sign up to access state and federal sites through MyTurn (myturn.ca.gov) or by calling 1-833-422-4255.

Essential workers and residents 65 years and older can also request immunization appointments through CCHS and join the county waiting list for COVID-19 vaccine. However, due to a temporary reduction in vaccine supply from the state, all appointments at county sites are filled through the next two weeks at least.

People who need to cancel an existing appointment or who received a first dose of vaccine through CCHS and need to make a second-dose appointment should call 1-833-829-2626.

When more appointments do become available, CCHS will continue to prioritize county residents who are 65 or older as well as eligible essential workers, particularly those who live or work in the local communities most heavily affected by the pandemic.

CCHS continues to move forward with a workplace-based outreach effort to immunize essential workers in high-risk jobs in the county’s hardest-hit communities, including food and agriculture workers. Workers at sites selected for the program will be contacted by their employers.

For more information about Contra Costa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic including information about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility and appointments, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.

 

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Moody’s upgrades Contra Costa County’s Issue Rating to Aa1 reducing cost for floating bonds

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Also upgrades LRBs’ to Aa2 and POBs to Aa3; assigned Aa2 to 2021 LRBs; outlook is stable

By Susan Shiu, Contra Costa County Office of Communications & Media

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the Issuer Rating, an indicator of general creditworthiness, of Contra Costa County from “Aa2” to “Aa1”. In its press release, Moody’s cites the County’s “…strong and sustained financial position supported by robust reserves and liquidity.” On Moody’s credit scale, “Aa1” is just one notch below the coveted “Aaa” credit rating.

The rating upgrade is especially complementary of the County’s efforts since Moody’s has placed the U.S. Local Government sector, as a whole, on negative outlook due to the coronavirus pandemic. The upgrade comes in advance of the County’s planned issuance of lease revenue bonds for the construction of an aviation terminal, fire stations, and a new office complex. In addition, the County will be refunding existing bonds for an estimated net present value savings of $7.8 million, or 16.2%.

Board of Supervisors Chair Diane Burgis (District 3) commented that “The upgrade from Moody’s is a testament to the strong financial management practices that have become a tradition in Contra Costa County.”

County Administrator Monica Nino stated that “Contra Costa County has been a leader throughout the State in prudent financial and budget management, and we plan to continue that into the future.”

Complete Press Release

New York, February 16, 2021 — Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Contra Costa County’s (CA) issuer rating to Aa1 from Aa2, lease revenue bond rating to Aa2 from Aa3 and pension obligation bond rating to Aa3 from A1. The amount of debt affected is $232.4 million and $85.7 million, respectively. We also assigned a Aa2 rating to the Contra Costa County Public Financing Authority’s $62.4 million Lease Revenue Bonds (Capital Projects and Refunding) 2021 Series A (Capital Projects) and $37.2 million 2021 Series B (Refunding). The outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade to Aa1 incorporates the county’s strong and sustained financial position supported by robust reserves and liquidity. The Aa1 rating incorporates the county’s large and diverse tax base poised for ongoing solid growth, residents’ favorable income levels and moderate long-term liabilities. The rating also factors the recent increased general fund subsidy for the county’s hospital enterprise because of higher operating costs unrelated to the pandemic. The subsidy will remain manageable when compared to the county’s operating revenue. In addition, the county will benefit from a recently approved sales tax measure that expires in March 2041. These funds can be used to support general operations, providing additional financial flexibility. The county’s strong governance, as demonstrated by management’s prudent fiscal practices and adopted policies, is also factored into the rating.

The Aa2 ratings on the county’s lease revenue bonds are one notch lower than the county’s Aa1 issuer rating, reflecting both the absence of California GO (General Obligation) bond security features, which provide uplift to the GO rating, and the weaker legal structure of standard abatement leases, despite the “more essential” nature of the pledged asset, which is the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center.

The legal provisions for the Lease Revenue Bonds, 2021 Series A and 2021 Series B include that the city will provide rental interruption insurance for 24 months, title insurance, and will not require a debt service reserve fund, which is a negative credit factor. This negative credit factor is mitigated by the county having earthquake insurance that covers the pledged asset, a protective feature that is rare for California abatement leases. The county is not legally obligated to have earthquake insurance, however management expects to renew its policy when it expires next month.

The Aa3 rating on the county’s pension obligations bonds is two notches lower than the county’s issuer rating, reflecting the lack of strong legal features of California GO Bonds. The notching also reflects the relatively poor performance of POBs in Chapter 9 bankruptcies compared to other types of municipal obligations. The POBs are unsecured debt paid by general operating revenues.

RATING OUTLOOK

The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the county will maintain a strong financial position supported by management’s prudent fiscal practices. In addition, we expect that the county will continue to navigate through the economic, operational and financial challenges caused by the coronavirus without materially impacting its long-term credit quality.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OF THE RATINGS

– Improved income and wealth levels

– Material reduction in long-term liabilities and fixed costs

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

– Sizeable reduction in reserves and liquidity

– Material increase in long-term liabilities and fixed costs

LEGAL SECURITY

The issuer rating is equivalent to what would be the county’s general obligation bond rating. In California, GO bonds are secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes, unlimited as to rate or amount, upon all taxable property within the county.

The lease revenue bonds are secured by lease payments made by the county for use and occupancy of various leased assets which we view “more essential”. Lease rental payments are payable from any source of legally available funds of the county.

The county’s obligation to make all POB payments of interest and principal are imposed by law and are absolute and unconditional. The POBs are payable from any source of legally available funds of the county, including the county’s general fund.

USE OF PROCEEDS 2021

Series A bonds will finance improvements at the county’s Buchanan Field Airport, the construction of two fire stations and a new county office building. 2021 Series B will refund outstanding lease revenue bonds for savings and there is no extension in maturity.

PROFILE

Contra Costa County is located in the eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, just east of Berkeley and Oakland in northern California. The county seat of Martinez is approximately 24 miles northeast of downtown San Francisco. The county has a population of 1.1 million and the largest industry sectors that drive the local economy are health services, retail trade, and professional/scientific/technical services.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in the issuer rating was US Local Government General Obligation Debt published in January 2021 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx? docid=PBM_1260094. The principal methodology used in the lease and pension obligation bond ratings was Lease, Appropriation, Moral Obligation and Comparable Debt of US State and Local Governments published in January 2021 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx? docid=PBM_1260202. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For further specification of Moody’s key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody’s Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx? docid=PBC_79004.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody’s rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider’s credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Moody’s general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1243406.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody’s legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

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Supervisors chastise DA Becton over outdoor wedding, OK demolishing old admin, county jail buildings

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Historic photo of old Contra Costa County jail. Source: Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa

Architectural Preservation Foundation wants old jail preserved for other uses; Board hears from Budget Justice Coalition on COVID related equity issues; COVID-19 variant draws concern

By Daniel Borsuk

Contra Costa Supervisors Candace Andersen and Karen Mitchoff chastised Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, during the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, for holding her wedding reception in the backyard of her El Sobrante home in August in violation of COVID-19 health protocols.

“I think we give up hope when our top public officials improperly conduct themselves,” District 4 Supervisor Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said.

“What District Attorney Becton did was wrong.  There were so many events that so many of us had to give up that were important,” Mitchoff later said. “It just needs to be called out.  We cannot sweep it under the rug and act as if this did not happen.”

“I feel very frustrated about the wedding District Attorney Becton had at her home” remarked District 2 Supervisor Andersen of Danville.  “I was very surprised that she would have a party after a wedding, knowing it was in violation of county health codes.”

In her defense, Becton said: “I did everything I believe was in proper guidance with what I thought was allowed.  I realize public officials like myself are held to a higher standard as we should be.”

Becton married Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Bernstine, a fourth-generation preacher and the author of his most recently published book, Hope Us, Lord. (See related article)

Approve Demolition of Old County Administration Building, Old County Jail

Over the concerns of preservationists, supervisors flashed the green light for Contra Costa County Public Works officials to hire a design-build contractor to demolish the old 12-story county administration complex at 651 Pine Street in Martínez and the old county jail across the street from the administration complex so that either a two or three-story office building can be constructed on the site of the old administration building.

In December, the county opened a new four-story, 71,000 square foot Administration Building across the street from old the Pine Street building.

It would cost about $65 million to demolish the old building and then build a two-story building and $75 million to build a three-story office building.  The County plans to provide parking and open public space on the land cleared through demolition.

“Four years ago, we presented over 300 signatures to you for preservation,” said Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa President Cheryll Grover. “There has been no current relevant community outreach on this issue.”

According to the organization’s website, “In 1989 the entire Contra Costa County ‘Court House Block’ was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1903 County Jail and the present-day Finance Building.  The National Register described these as classically inspired dignified structures of Vermont granite ‘designed to represent stability and permanence.’”

County officials have shown interest in using the Pine Street site for office space for the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Public Offender’s Office, Health Services and the Office of Racial Justice and Equality.

Supervisors said because of the old jails building material – concrete to keep prisoners inside along with concerns about the presence of asbestos, made it problematic to renovate the old jail.  Grover said her preservation group did propose alternative proposals to rehabilitate the old jail, but their proposals apparently fell short of the mark as far as meeting County Public Works criteria.

From slide show presentation to CCCBOS 020921.

Hear from Budget Justice Coalition on COVID Related Equity Issues

In other action, the Supervisors heard a presentation from the Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition and the Bay Area Equity Atlas on COVID Related Equity Issues, to ensure all county residents are treated fairly during recovery from the pandemic.

According to their slide show, “The Contra Costa Budget Justice Coalition advocates for community engagement in the Contra Costa County budgeting process and for a set of values-based budgeting principles that support safe and affordable housing, stable employment with fair wages, sufficient healthy food, essential health care, access to critical social services, and quality early care and education.”

Presenters spoke on the subjects of Disparate COVID Health, Housing, and Economic Impacts, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Community Challenges and Stabilizing Neighborhoods and Equitable Relief.

They offered proposed solutions and plans of action in response including: “Producing and Maintaining lasting affordable housing”; “Prioritize equity and those most in need – evictions, food, housing, health, essential services”; “Protect and stabilize vulnerable households and workers”; “Connect low-wage workers with economic opportunities”; and “‘Build Back Better’ through equitable investments in a stronger, fairer, more sustainable economy”; among others.

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Variant Draws County Warning

A deadly Coronavirus variant now prevalent in Santa Clara County could surface in Contra Costa County, Contra Costa County Health Department Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano informed supervisors.

“Getting a vaccine is still the most important thing one can do to protect oneself,” said Dr. Farnitano upon informing supervisors about the Santa Clara County variant.  So far, 800 patients in Santa Clara County have been stricken with this variant and “there have been a couple of cases of this variant in Contra Costa County,” he said.  “We expect to be more knowledgeable about this variant in the next couple of weeks.”

The Santa Clara County COVID-10 variant is one of a number of Coronavirus strains to have surfaced globally, particularly in Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Farnitano said because Contra Costa County remains in the Purple Tier, at or under 46.2 new infections as it was in late January, school grade levels K to 6 can “bring back students as soon as tomorrow (Wednesday).”  The restart of school for grade levels 7 to 12 will be determined later.

County health officials made the COVID-19 announcements at the same time United States health officials announced Tuesday that the most severe surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation has weakened significantly based on major metrics.  Nationally, newly reported cases have declined 56 percent over the past 30 days.  Hospitalizations have declined 38 percent since January 6.  The seven-day average of COVID-19 tests returning positive declined to 6.93 percent over the past week, the lowest rate since October 31.

Dr. Farnitano announced religious institutions can reopen at 25 percent occupancy, but chanting, singing and the serving of food are prohibited, he said.

Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth also confirmed the county will receive $40 million in stated COVID-19 vaccine distribution funding but, could not provide details.  Last week, there were initial reports the state aid the county would receive would be shared with health organizations Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield.

County Health Equity Officer Gilbert Salinas said the county’s efforts to equitably distribute the vaccine throughout the county, especially in parts of the county where there are more people of color or economically disadvantaged is gaining traction.  He reported that about 70,000 vaccine shots had been administered to county residents and retailers like Safeway, RiteAid, and WalMart are participating in the administration of vaccine shots.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Contra Costa County Clerk’s office to officiate weddings on Valentine’s Day 2021

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

By Dawn Kruger, Civic Outreach and Engagement Specialist

Photo: CCC Clerk

The Contra Costa County Clerk’s Office will officiate wedding ceremonies on Valentine’s Day – the most romantic day of the year.  Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Sunday, February 14th.  Twenty-one ceremonies will be performed at the Contra Costa County Clerk’s office, located at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

“Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year and despite the many limitations posed by the pandemic, we are thrilled to offer safe, socially-distant appointments for couples to exchange nuptials on this special and popular day that symbolizes never-ending love,” Assistant Clerk-Recorder Barbara Dunmore said. “Not surprisingly, the appointments filled to capacity very quickly.”

Typically, the County Clerk’s Office officiates Valentine’s Day ceremonies as part of the Destination Wedding program in a picturesque or historic location. The pandemic has caused this program to be put on hold for the near future.  It is not likely to resume until the shelter order is lifted.

As with all ceremony appointments offered throughout the pandemic, the Clerk-Recorder’s Office takes precautions to keep our constituents and our staff safe.  Strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place and ceremonies will be conducted with a glass barrier between the couple and the officiant.  Only the couple getting married will be permitted in our lobby.

All appointments for the Sunday ceremonies have been filled, and the County Clerk’s Office does not accept walk-in appointments.

Before the ceremony, couples must obtain a marriage license at the main office in Martinez. The civil marriage ceremony fee is $60. Couples can obtain a public marriage license for $86 or a confidential marriage license for $90.

The County Clerk’s Office continues to conduct wedding ceremonies during the week.  Couples interested in having their ceremony at the Martinez office must make an appointment.  For information about marriage license and ceremony services, go to https://www.ccclerkrec.us/ or call the office at 925-335-7900.

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