Before we begin today’s community update, I hope you and your families have been staying healthy.
A lot has gone on since our last economic development update. For many, keeping up with the latest infection rates and current restrictions has been challenging. To simplify the process, on August 28th Governor Newsom revealed the State’s latest reopening guidelines. With this new plan, two county-level COVID-19 testing variables will serve as the basis for business and personal restrictions. The first variable is the number of daily new COVID cases per 100,000 residents. The second variable is the number of positive COVID test results, as a percentage, out of all COVID test results within that particular county. Depending on the number of (i) daily new cases and (ii) the overall percentage of positive COVID test results in each county, that county will be placed in one of four “county risk levels.” These color-coded risk levels represent the transmission risk of COVID within the county. The various levels are titled “widespread,” “substantial,” “moderate,” or “minimal.” I encourage you to spend time exploring this website (https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/) for more detail.
Taken from the above website, this county risk level framework, “…is informed by increased knowledge of disease transmission vulnerabilities and risk factors and is driven by the following goals:
1) To progress in phases based on risk levels with the appropriate time between each phase in each county so impacts of any given change can be fully evaluated.
2) To aggressively reduce case transmission to as low a rate as possible across the State so the potential burden of flu and COVID-19 in the late fall and winter does not challenge our healthcare delivery system’s ability to surge with space, supplies and staff. Also, with winter weather pushing more activities indoors, low levels of transmission in the community will make large outbreaks in these riskier settings less likely.
3) To simplify the framework and layout clear disease transmission goals for counties to work towards”.
The restrictions within each risk level and the time a county must spend at each level before moving to a lower level is…detailed. Thankfully, the takeaway for our City is simple. Our actions, both individually and as a community, directly impact our county’s risk level, and consequently, the restrictions on our personal and business activities. We can keep the number of infections down by wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and getting tested. While face masks and social distancing are critical steps, getting tested is less obvious, but equally important. If only sick individuals get tested, the test results will show an artificially high positivity rate. This high positivity rate will not accurately reflect the actual percentage of infected individuals within the county. If more and more community members get routinely tested, we will enjoy two benefits. The first benefit is those who are COVID positive and asymptomatic (contagious but not showing signs of the illness) can immediately quarantine. An immediate quarantine will stop the accidental spreading of the disease to loved ones. The second benefit of frequent testing will be future test results will more accurately reflect the actual number of healthy and sick individuals within a community. This will give State and County health officials better data which is the foundation for better decisions.
Until a safe and reliable vaccine is widely available, avoid gathering in groups. If you must, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Beyond that, shopping local is the next biggest step you can take to accelerate our City’s economic recovery. Check out our website, Cathedral City Shop Local, to find categories and lists of all the businesses within Cathedral City which need your support. Shopping at our businesses will help keep our retailers alive and keep your tax dollars within the City. These tax dollars fund critical services such as our police, our fire department, and our road maintenance. There is no better testimonial for attracting new businesses than to ensure our existing businesses are prosperous.
Lastly, please do everything you can to keep your properties in great shape. Property appearance is an important “selling point” when prospective homebuyers, business owners, and developers look for their next “perfect” location.
Please share the City’s dedicated websites, www.DiscoverCathedralCity.com and and www.ccedd.org, with your friends and families. As a team, we are all a part of the long-term success of Cathedral City, an incredible place to live, work, and play.