Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Frazier bill to eliminate Los Medanos Healthcare District passes Assembly on 70-0 vote

Friday, May 14th, 2021

Source: Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier

Would transfer tax revenue to county, eliminate Antioch Mayor Thorpe’s executive director job

On Monday, May 10, 2021, Assemblymember Jim Frazier’s (D-Fairfield) bill, AB 903, to dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, unanimously passed the Assembly floor on a 70-0 vote. The district serves Pittsburg and Bay Point.

AB 903 will require Contra Costa County to be the successor of all rights and responsibilities of the district. AB 903 will also require the county to complete a property tax transfer process to ensure the transfer of the district’s health-related ad valorem property tax revenues to the county in order to operate the Los Medanos Area Health Plan Grant Program.

The Los Medanos Hospital closed in 1994 but the district, covering Pittsburg and Bay Point, has continued to exist, collecting property taxes and using the funds to pay for staff and provide grants to local organizations, direct service programs including a community garden and district sponsored programs including REading ADvantage for early literacy. The district’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget projected $1.13 million in tax revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.

“This bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region. A lot of this funding comes from the savings on LMCHD’s extremely high administrative expenses, which topped 60% in some years,” said Frazier.

The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has approved of the dissolution of the existing healthcare district, and Contra Costa County already serves the communities within district boundaries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical shortfalls in healthcare and health services funding across the state. Communities of color have been especially impacted by the emergency,” said Frazier. “Now more than ever, we have seen the life-changing impacts of devoting every possible dollar to serving those we represent. AB 903 effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region.”

“Comparable programs in the county average at about 15% admin cost, and rather than lose over half the funding to wasteful administrative expenses, AB 903 dedicates those dollars to the community,” Frazier added.

Part of the administrative expenses includes Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s executive director position which included an annual salary of $96,000 when he was hired in 2019, plus merit-based salary increases, according to the minutes of the Dec. 16, 2019 LMCHD Board meeting. He is also provided one hour of paid personal leave time for every 30 hours worked. When reached, previously about having his position eliminated if the bill is signed into law, Thorpe said he could find another job.

Previously, LMCHD Board President Patt Young challenged Frazier and his legislation, claiming he doesn’t represent but a portion of the healthcare district and that he is “taking political orders from your top political advisor in an effort to turn our district into a political slush fund for one of your top allies on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.” (See related article)

However, Assemblymember Tim Grayson, whose district includes most of the healthcare district, is the Principal couthor of the bill.

The bill requires passage by the State Senate and signing by the governor before it becomes law.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch council moves forward moratorium on oil, gas drilling in city

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Three oil well pumps operate at the site owned by Sunset Explorations just south of Antioch city limits on Deer Valley Road. Photo by Allen Payton

Would affect two potential wells in the city; no one from city reached out to owner for his input or to offer comments during meeting before council “consensus vote”; majority also supports county-wide moratorium

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday night, May 11, 2021, a majority of Antioch City Council members expressed their support for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling inside the city limits. While the agenda item was only a discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson who proposed the matter, Council Members Tamisha Torres-Walker, Mike Barbanic and Lori Ogorchock supported directing the city attorney to return with a proposal for the council to vote on at a future meeting.

Wilson, Barbanica and Torres-Walker also expressed support for a countywide moratorium. Ogorchock was opposed. Mayor Lamar Thorpe didn’t express an opinion on either proposal.

The moratorium in Antioch would currently only affect one company, Sunset Explorations, owned by East County businessman Bob Nunn, who was not aware of Tuesday night’s agenda item until this reporter reached out to him for comment prior to the start of the meeting.

“I brought this item back up,” Wilson said. “It has two parts, first as a resolution as a city to call a moratorium and then a moratorium for the county. After hearing from many advocates in the community, I believe this is the time for it.”

In response to questions from the Herald, Nunn said he has “drilled a well in city limits a number of years ago”, but that “was a dry hole.” His company has also “filed a permit in the southeast corner of town that we have stalled,” and owns “mineral rights on FUA2 (Future Urban Area 2)” which is located north of Lone Tree Way and southwest of Highway 4, near the future extension of Laurel Road.

Nunn’s company also has a permitted site on the east side of Deer Valley Road just outside Antioch city limits, which started drilling three wells, three years ago.

Public Comments

Charles Davidson, who said he lives in Hercules, spoke about the oil drilling on Deer Valley Road. “The well’s owner denied the Air District’s inspector access to the site,” he claimed.

Antioch resident, Harry Thurston spoke in support of a county moratorium. “There has been limited oversight of this site by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Antioch citizens are at unacceptable risk,” he said. “It will lead to unrestricted oil drilling in East County. We should be stopping all oil extraction” and then spoke about “environmental justice”.

Another speaker, an Antioch resident who said she purchased her home in 2008, spoke against oil drilling. “I’m in an area I can breathe clean air and drink clean water,” she said. “I want to live in a place where no environmental injustices take place. We have everything in Antioch. You just need to promote the right businesses. I have seen firsthand the destruction of many places in the U.S. and around the world due to oil. It’s time to embrace wind and solar.”

Shoshana Wechsler spoke next saying, “I’m a coordinator of Sunflower Alliance…and a resident of unincorporated west county. The toxic emissions in unincorporated Contra Costa don’t stay there. They go wherever the wind blows them. The greenhouse gas emissions threaten everyone and everything on this planet. The permit application slipped through the cracks. Phase out the existing drilling on Deer Valley Road. Other cities have done that. They got it done. It’s Antioch’s chance to put the climate resiliency plans to work. Your forward momentum on this, lifts everyone up.”

Barbara Collins, a resident of East Contra Costa County wrote in favor of the moratorium.

Another public comment submitted read, “Does the city have any power to limit the mineral rights of owners in Antioch? Please stop all this posturing about oil wells.”

Council Discussion and Consensus Votes

The council then took up the matter.

“About a year ago this month, three of us voted and approved a Climate Action Resiliency Plan. This would go along with that,” Wilson stated. “We are committed to making sure we have a healthy city and are free from health risks. The action that we did a year ago moves us away from fossil fuel. We also discussed the climate in our Strategic Plan. This needs to be more than just an item we discuss. We need to call for a moratorium in our city and ask for our county to do the same.”

Asked to offer her input, the city’s Environmental Resources Coordinator, Julie Haas-Wajdowicz said, “I would definitely echo what Mayor Pro Tem Wilson says. So, I think we should support a moratorium. Additionally, I would look forward to working on a declaration of climate emergency.”

“I don’t have a whole lot of background in oil drilling,” she added.

“I would like to bring this back for council to discuss a ban on oil drilling,” Wilson said.

Thorpe then asked for a “consensus vote” of council members.

Torres-Walker, Barbanica and Ogorchock all said, “yes”.

“This is something we have to research and come back,” said City Attorney Thomas Smith. “To me it sounds like something that can go through the zoning process.”

Torres-Walker and Barbanica also added their support to Wilson’s efforts for a county-wide moratorium. When asked, Ogorchock said “no”.

Asked if they were prepared to pay Nunn for his mineral rights, Barbanica, Ogorchock and Wilson did not respond. Asked if she had reached out to Nunn or had asked city staff to, prior to the meeting, Wilson did not respond.

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Meals on Wheels offers program to prevent falls by aging parents

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

Aging in place: Caring for an aging parent

By Rachel Heggen, Community Relations & Development Specialist, Meals on Wheels, Diablo Region

Yvonne Tweeten and Mom Gloria. Photo: MoW

In honor of National Occupational Therapy Month Yvonne Tweeten, Occupational Therapist with Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program, talked about the work we do with seniors to keep them safe at home.

Difficulty climbing stairs, feeling unbalanced, or being unsure about getting in and out of the bathtub are everyday problems that Yvonne has addressed for the past ten years at MOW Diablo Region. These are common issues for aging seniors who have difficulty accepting that everyday tasks that once were simple are now challenging. For many seniors, this can be extremely frustrating and for their adult children, it can be worrisome. The Fall Prevention Program focuses on helping seniors age safely in their home.

“We are an ally to the adult children,” says Yvonne. “I assess the home and point out potential fall risks. I also observe how the senior is getting around.” Once the assessment is completed, Yvonne works with a licensed contractor to make needed home modifications “We might recommend a ramp, railings, or a tub transfer bench. We develop trust with the senior and the adult children who are often the main caregivers. We also provide education to keep the senior safe.”

An analysis by the Center for Retirement Research found that 10 percent of adults ages 60 to 69 serve as caregivers to their aging parents, as do 12 percent of adults aged 70 and older. Having an Occupational Therapist as a part of the support team is important when it comes to caring for an older parent and helps the elderly parent maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Yvonne has a special understanding of concerns many may have with an aging parent. Her mom is 90 and lives in Wisconsin. “It’s important that a senior age with dignity, and that’s what Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program helps them to do.”

To learn more about Meals on Wheels Diablo Region’s Fall Prevention Program, visit https://www.mowdiabloregion.org/fall-prevention

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Antioch Police: National Prescription Drug TAKE BACK Saturday, April 24

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration & the Antioch Police Department announce its 20th Take Back Day is scheduled for April 24th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 300 L Street in Antioch.

At its last Take Back Day in October, DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, but accelerated significantly during the first months of the pandemic.

The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations provided lithium batteries are removed.

Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths.

Learn more about the event at www.deatakeback.com, or by calling 800-882-9539.

 

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Frazier bill to dissolve Los Medanos Community Healthcare District passes committee

Friday, April 16th, 2021

Would eliminate Antioch mayor’s job; Board President challenges Frazier whose district doesn’t include most of the healthcare district

By Serina Hartinger, Media & Communications, Office of Assemblymember Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Friday, April 16, 2021, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) passed AB 903 the Assembly Local Government Committee on a unanimous vote of 8-0 to dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District. The bill will now be sent to the Committee on Appropriations. If it passes there it will head to the floor for a vote by the full Assembly. Should it pass there, it still needs both State Senate approval and the governor’s signature before becoming law.

The Los Medanos Hospital closed in 1994 but the district, covering Pittsburg and Bay Point, has continued to exist, collecting property tax dollars and using the funds to pay for staff and provide grants to local organizations, direct service programs including a community garden and district sponsored programs including REading ADvantage for early literacy. The district’s 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget projects $1.13 million in tax revenue and $1.3 million in expenses.

“As all of you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical shortfalls in healthcare and health services funding across the state. Communities of color have been especially impacted by the emergency,” said Frazier. “Now more than ever, we have seen the life-changing impacts of devoting every possible dollar to serving those we represent. AB 903 is a district bill that takes strides towards addressing this issue. The bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region.”

AB 903 will dissolve the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and require the County of Contra Costa to be the successor of all rights and responsibilities of the district. AB 903 will also require the county to complete a property tax transfer process to ensure the transfer of the district’s health-related ad valorem property tax revenues to the county in order to operate the Los Medanos Area Health Plan Grant Program.

The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has approved of the dissolution of the existing healthcare district, and Contra Costa County already serves the communities within district boundaries.

The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblymember Tim Grayson, (D-Concord).

The Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (LMCHD) was formed in 1948 to operate the Los Medanos Community Hospital. In rural communities, such districts were created to provide for hospitals that otherwise would not exist. LMCHD operated the hospital until 1994 when the hospital closed due to bankruptcy. Since then, LMCHD has not provided any hospital, physician, or emergency medical services. Instead of providing direct services, LMCHD funds third-party agencies that provide health-related programs.

“This bill effectively creates hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for badly needed healthcare services in the region. A lot of this funding comes from the savings on LMCHD’s extremely high administrative expenses, which topped 60% in some years,” said Frazier. “That is simply unconscionable.”

“Comparable programs in the county average at about 15% admin cost, and a nearby healthcare district runs at a maximum of 20% in admin costs. Rather than lose over half the funding to wasteful administrative expenses, AB 903 dedicates those dollars to the community,” he added.

Some of those administrative expenses include the salary and benefits for Executive Director Lamar Thorpe who is the mayor of Antioch, whose job would be eliminated if the bill becomes law.

UPDATE: In response to efforts to reach him and Board President Patt Young, Thorpe provided the following letter from Young to Frazier.

“Dear Assemblymember Frazier:

On behalf of the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, I am writing to you in response to your introduction of AB 903.

Given that 98 percent of our healthcare district does not fall within your assembly district, or the fact that you have never attempted to build a relationship with our board or programs, I am quite perplexed as to why you would introduce this legislation without attempting to understand how we serve eastern Contra Costa County.

This letter is not intended to be interpreted as an attempt to appeal to your reason or logic, as we are well aware of the fact that you are taking political orders from your top political advisor in an effort to turn our district into a political slush fund for one of your top allies on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Let me be clear in stating that, although to you this is simply a political game, to our healthcare district, you are jeopardizing a critical healthcare prevention lifeline for many in our community. From free reading glasses for children to HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, many of the community members we serve participate in our programs because they do not feel that they have their needs met via Contra Costa’s public healthcare system.

Lastly, I have to state for the record that the manner by which you introduced this legislation has been interpreted to be highly disrespectful by both my board and community. I suspect that, if the makeup of our board were more in line with the makeup of the Oakley City Council, you would not have been as disrespectful as you have been to date.

Neither my board, nor my community will stand idly and accept to be treated in any manner less than the respect we deserve.

Sincerely,

Patt Young

President

Los Medanos Community Healthcare District”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Kiwanis Club presents checks to winning schools in annual, virtual Holiday Run competition

Friday, April 16th, 2021

Members of the Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch present checks and certificates to the principals of Antioch Middle and Carmen Dragon Elementary Schools on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Over 15,000 miles were logged during the 12-day competition

By Allen Payton

Members of the Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch presented checks of $500 each to three schools in Antioch, this week, rewarding them for their participation in the service organization’s annual Holiday Run and Walk for Health. This year, the competition was held virtually and required participants to run or walk and log their own miles during a 12-day period. The top Antioch schools that formed teams and participated in each category were Deer Valley High, Antioch Middle and Carmen Dragon Elementary. Checks were presented to the schools, this week with two done by club members on Thursday, April 15.

The students could recruit whomever they wanted to run for their team and Prospects High School, with one of the smaller teams, recruited some ultra-marathoners and almost beat Deer Valley. Both teams logged over 2,000 miles.

Paul Schorr, who has led the organizing of the event in previous years, said the club has held the competition for the past 43 years. This was their 44th year.

“Katie Young stepped up and coordinated the event, this year,” he shared.

“Close to 600 participants signed up,” Young said. “They logged their miles they walked or ran over a 12-day period. A total of about 15,000 miles were logged. A couple teams recruited ultra-marathoners.”

“And 2,000 miles were from our school,” said Antioch Middle School Principal Lindsay Wisely.

“I think you did a heck of a job coordinating,” she said to Young.

“On behalf of the faculty staff and students we are grateful for the support from the Kiwanis Club,” Wisely stated. “We have a running club on campus and plan to use the funds for equipment and prizes associated with our club.”

During the presentation to Carmen Dragon Elementary, Principal Mark Hemauer said, “we had 31 participants who completed 1,837 miles.”

Asked how he planned to spend the money Hemauer replied, “I’d like to use it for our PE program because it was a physical activity and competition for when the students come back, hopefully fully next year.”

“I really appreciate the Kiwanis Club organizing this, I’ve been a runner in past years. But continuing it this year during the pandemic and having them give back to us is really special,” he added.

Deer Valley teacher Michael Green, the school’s head coach for both the cross country and track teams, received the check on March 31, during the Delta-Antioch Rotary Club meeting.

“The funds will be used to take those same runners who helped us earn that money to multi-school invitational cross-country races,” he said.

“Thank you to the Kiwanis Club for doing these great events and I encourage others to join their club and other service clubs to serve our community,” Green said.

Club President and Antioch Unified School District Board of Trustees Vice President, Dr. Clyde Lewis shared thoughts from both of his positions.

“This is an example of community and schools working together. Our goal as a Kiwanis Club is to engage, encourage and promote collaborative opportunities,” he said. “As a school district this approach mirrors the support and relationship building that we hope to promote in our young leaders.”

 

 

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Antioch Council moves forward hazard pay for large grocery store workers proposal

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Three members support effort; city staff will return with ordinance for adoption; could increase costs to families; city would “very likely” face a lawsuit

By Allen Payton

During consideration of a proposed ordinance to require large grocery stores offer hazard pay of $3 to $5 more per hour, the Antioch City Council heard from both sides of the issue during their meeting on Tuesday night, April 13. Urgency Ord Lg Grocery Stores Temp Hazard Pay ACC041321

Ryan Guiling, an organizer of UFCW Local 5, spoke in favor of the hazard pay ordinance. “Our workers have been working tirelessly during this pandemic…to keep us fed. Early in the pandemic many of the stores were giving hazard pay as appreciation pay. But in June all stores ended it across the country. In the interim, grocery stores have been recording record profits.”

A California Retailers Association representative spoke next saying “we respectively request you vote no. This ordinance doesn’t take into consideration COVID-19 cases are rapidly decreasing. That we haven’t done our part is not reality. The grocery business operates on razor-thin margins.”

He spoke of increased costs over the past year “due to higher PPE costs and hazard pay to employees. Premium pay will add $400 in annual costs to families. Decisions should not be made at the local level, but in Sacramento or Washington.”

Barbanica asked to hear from the city’s Economic Development Director Kwame Reed on the matter.

“My thoughts are purely, we should do additional research…before we form an opinion on this,” Reed responded.  “I was hired to bring in jobs and companies. This could be seen as working against those efforts. It would be good to come back with some facts on this item.”

“As of right now, if we look at our database for current business licenses…we have just over 30 businesses that identify themselves as food businesses. That includes a 7-11’s, a donut shop,” he continued. “Stores that would qualify would be the Food Maxx, Lucky’s, Raley’s, SaveMart.”

“I very much appreciate the grocery workers who have been there for us,” said District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica who shared he had been a grocery store worker in the past. “I don’t think a city should get into determining what a private industry should do. Our attorney has said we’re headed for a lawsuit.”

“There are two grocery stores named that paid their workers appreciation pay. SaveMart has done it and hasn’t had going out of business sales,” Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson said. “Can you tell us the gross sales of grocery stores in our city?”

“I cannot tell you that, tonight. I would have to come back with that,” Reed said.

“I want to echo what members of the public said,” Wilson continued. “In the beginning we were calling these people heroes. They were showing up every day of the pandemic. They had to deal with people who didn’t want to wear a mask. These people who made sure our families were fed need to be acknowledged.”

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, who proposed the idea, said, “the most dangerous place to be, right now is grocery stores. I don’t have to be there every day…run in grab something without getting sick or coughed on by someone who doesn’t want to wear a mask. It says for a specific period of time. So, I do have questions. Appreciation pay was offered for a period of time. I don’t like giving people raises and then taking it away. Because it’s time bound…and it’s to help our most valued workers, right now, other than public safety workers. Capital over people is not important. We do have to put our people, first.”

“What is the potential impact to jobs…how many jobs are we talking about between these large, corporate grocery stores? Are all these workers Antioch residents…who could add to our local economy?” she asked.

“We would likely have to call each of those stores, because they’re not obligated to tell us how many employees they have or if they live in Antioch,” Reed responded. “That’s the type of research we’re going to have to do.”

“Are Walmart and Costco not considered grocery stores?” Ogorchock asked.

“No. You will see that club stores like Costco would be excluded,” City Attorney Thomas Smith responded.

“You would have to determine if you want them included,” Reed explained.

“They ultimately decided not to include them in Concord,” Smith added.

“I know that Cal Cities took a look at this and chose not to pursue it,” Ogorchock said. “This is a slippery slope for us to get into and I don’t think this is something we should get into.”

“Other cities have done it for shorter,” Reed added.

“It may stop other stores from coming in. But it could stop other shops, when we as a council are getting into their business,” Ogorchock pointed out.

“Those are additional complications and additional lawsuits,” Smith stated.

“There are a lot of people who think we shouldn’t be doing a lot,” Torres-Walker said. “We shouldn’t be doing anything with rent protections during the pandemic, as well. But we moved forward, even though it wasn’t your business to do. Then the county followed up and added more protections. Just because it isn’t something you haven’t done in the past doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, now. We need to continue to look at protections for renters and workers during this pandemic. When this comes back, I hope the council has the heart to move this forward.”

Thorpe then said, “it looks like there are two folks who support it and two folks who don’t.”

“We did things during COVID-19 that were temporary because of things we were facing,” he continued. “We did take the step on convictions and we heard the concerns, there. There will always be concerns. This could create all these horrible things. But we don’t know that.”

“I haven’t been to my office in over a year,” Thorpe continued. “But every time I went to the grocery store I saw workers working their butts off. From my perspective we move forward with the ordinance…include Target, Walmart and Costco. From my perspective, if we look at the revenue these places are bringing in, they were doing fine during the pandemic. I find it insulting when people call it ‘premium pay’. This is hazard pay because people either decided, or didn’t have the choice, to keep working.”

“We won’t single out stores, but we will include language that will capture those stores,” Smith said.

“We can add Lowe’s and I favor the $5 pay,” Thorpe said.

“Lowe’s?” asked Smith.

“I’ve seen ordinances that have a grocery component in there,” Reed said.

“Oh, OK,” Thorpe responded.

Smith and Reed then got into a bit of a tug-of-war over who would include what language in a proposed ordinance.

“I’m the attorney,” Smith said.

“You look at from a legal standpoint and I’ll look at it from an economic development standpoint,” Reed responded.

“I’m the mayor,” Thorpe said, ending the discussion between the two city department heads.

City staff will return with an ordinance at a future council meeting for adoption.

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California, Contra Costa follow FDA, CDC in pausing use of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Vial of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Source: CDC

SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement from Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist, regarding the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today, the CDC and FDA have recommended a temporary pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. Of over 6.8 million doses administered nationally, there have been six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot with symptoms occurring 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

“California is following the FDA and CDC’s recommendation and has directed health care providers to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until we receive further direction from health and safety experts. Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue. As the federal government has said, we do not expect a significant impact to our vaccination allocations. In California, less than 4% of our vaccine allocation this week is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

For more information about the adverse effects, and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. We will provide additional details on what this means for our state efforts as they become available.

The joint CDC and FDA statement can be found here.

In addition, the Contra Costa Health Services issued the following announcement on Tuesday about the matter, also pausing use of the J&J vaccine:

To ensure that every dose of COVID-19 vaccine provided in our county is safe for patients, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) will today temporarily pause its use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine while federal regulatory agencies examine new information about a possible, rare side effect that can cause blood clots.

CCHS is closely following guidance issued this morning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding this vaccine. CCHS continues to administer the other vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S., from Pfizer and Moderna.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a very small part of Contra Costa’s vaccine allocation from the state and federal governments and CCHS does not anticipate cancelling any of its vaccination appointments at this time.

Patients with vaccination appointments through CCHS should attend at their scheduled time.

CCHS is not aware of any reported cases of adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccine in the county that were inconsistent with those documented during the extensive clinical trials conducted to ensure the safety of all vaccines used in the U.S.

The risk of an adverse reaction for people who received Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine more than a month ago is extremely low, according to the CDC.

People who received this vaccine more recently should contact a healthcare provider immediately if they develop symptoms such as severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, severe leg pain or shortness of breath – these symptoms are different than the usual, minor reactions that some people may experience in the day or two following their vaccination.

The FDA has not received any reports of similar side effects associated with the use of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

CCHS will update the public at cchealth.org/coronavirus as more information becomes available about this developing situation.

 

 

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