November 18, 2020 Update
Beginning this week, the County Update is publishing every Wednesday, and also as needed, in order to share important news and resources in our battle against COVID-19 and to keep our economy running. We remain here for you. #SBCountyTogether
In today’s Update:
• County announces new Public Health Officer
• Great Plates transitions back to County nutrition programs
• County Fire Chief Dan Munsey on fire department innovation
• COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program is extended
• No-cost business webinars
• Sheriff COVID-19 cases update
Board of Supervisors Appoints New County Public Health Officer
Dr. Michael Sequeira
Dr. Michael Sequeira, M.D., a leader in the county’s medical community and experienced local expert in emergency medicine, was appointed Public Health Officer for the County of San Bernardino on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.
For the past 30 years, Dr. Sequeira has worked in leadership roles at the local, state and national levels, including as regional director of six of its hospital emergency departments, including hospitals in San Bernardino, Apple Valley, Colton, and Redlands. He is past president of the San Bernardino County Medical Society and a member of the steering committee of the Inland Empire Opioid Crisis Coalition, which worked on an educational program for opioid prescribing and overdose treatment and prevention in hospitals and the community.
He also serves as National Risk Director for Vituity Healthcare, where he has been charged with keeping providers current with the latest clinical and research data on COVID-19.
“We are pleased to have a medical professional of Dr. Sequeira’s expertise and background work for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We look forward to his leadership and counsel as we navigate our way out of this COVID-19 pandemic.”
The County conducted a two-and-a-half month nationwide recruitment, reviewed eight qualifying applications, and interviewed five candidates before recommending Sequeira to the Board of Supervisors. He will join Public Health Director Corwin Porter in leading the County Department of Public Health.
Sequeira intends to bring a balanced, scientific and evidence-based approach to the county’s public health challenges, including the fight against COVID-19.
“We will make the pandemic and its medical, economic and social repercussions the focus of our immediate efforts and develop a strong plan that will enhance our comprehensive but targeted testing and contract tracing, and effective and thoughtful mask and social distancing guidance, and a massive vaccination program when that time comes,” he said.
Sequeira received a Bachelor of Arts in zoology from Pomona College in Claremont and graduated with his medical doctorate in the top 10 percent of his class from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine and emergency medicine at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center in Portland.
Great Plates Program Transitions Back to Senior Nutrition Programs
Great Plates Delivered, the statewide temporary food-delivery campaign for senior residents, is winding down operations and transitioning participants to the County’s traditional senior nutrition services, The County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) announced.
DAAS led the local implementation of the $27 million program — jointly funded by the County, the State and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“We are grateful for having had the opportunity to help over 3,000 elderly residents get through these past few difficult months,” said CaSonya Thomas, assistant executive office of Human Services. “We teamed up with 37 local restaurants and food providers, who in turn prepared almost 1.2 million meals for delivery to some of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors. This was an impressive accomplishment and we’re so proud of everyone involved in this complex operation.”
Residents can access other nutrition programs by contacting Senior Information and Assistance at (800) 510-2020 or visiting the Department of Aging and Adult Services nutrition webpage.
County Fire Chief Dan Munsey Credits Innovation, Community Partnerships for Success
For a fire chief, San Bernardino County presents unusual challenges. The county is the nation’s largest by area and includes a population exceeding that of 15 states, but it also offers an enormous variety of challenging landscapes — from rugged mountains to vast deserts.
“It’s a rare fire department that finds itself using snowcats to clear highways at the same time it’s sending people to fight wildfires,” says County Fire Chief Daniel Munsey. “That’s not particularly unusual here.”
Munsey employs two primary strategies to meet the challenge of protecting lives and managing risk in such a vast county: 1) a focus on innovation, including the ambitious use of technology; and 2) a commitment to uniting community groups and individuals around the concepts of prevention and risk reduction.
“Conceptually, our objectives are relatively simple: Save lives. Mitigate property damage. Prevent environmental harm,” says Munsey. “But actually achieving this in an environment like San Bernardino County requires fresh thinking, a willingness to embrace technology, and active engagement with the community.”
Occasional examples of such fresh thinking, like using grazing goats to create firebreaks, are decidedly low tech. More common are partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, Google and Esri to determine how best to use technology — primarily big data and artificial intelligence — to further the Fire Department’s mission.
“We are one of the most technology-driven fire departments in the country,” says Munsey. He should know: he currently serves the International Association of Fire Chiefs as chairman of its Technology Council. “We’re using technology to create a safer county for residents and a safer work environment for our employees. Advances in areas like AI help us deploy resources — mostly manpower and equipment — as quickly and efficiently as possible. So you might say we’re also creating a safer environment for taxpayers.”
Another area getting a lot of attention from Fire Chief Munsey is Community Risk Reduction, or CRR. CRR seeks to identify, assess and prioritize local risks well in advance, followed by effective planning and execution to reduce both their occurrence and impact.
In the CRR model, County Fire not only responds to emergencies but also actively works to prevent, or at least mitigate, such incidents. CRR provides a more systematized and focused strategy for managing risk — which in San Bernardino County includes a data-driven approach to risk analysis and trend forecasting.
“We’re studying risk in every community,” Munsey says. “What’s the likelihood of each type of risk? What’s the potential severity? What are overall potential impacts? What steps can we take now to prevent or diminish them?”
Munsey emphasizes that CRR requires a “community-wide level of engagement” to be truly effective, and he touts the County’s Mutual Advisory Committee as a favorable example.
“Managing risk is most effective when it’s a shared, mutually beneficial effort,” he says. “Thankfully, we’ve begun building a common culture that increasingly understands and appreciates the value of a community-wide effort. We’re better together.”
Businesses and nonprofits can receive additional funding
County Extends COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program
The County of San Bernardino has announced an extension of the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program with increased funding amounts to businesses and adjusted eligibility criteria.
A business or nonprofit with no more than 100 employees and that has been in business prior to January 1, 2020, are now eligible to receive the funding, providing they demonstrate continued compliance with State health orders and incorporate safety and social distancing practices and measures in their business operations.
The amount funded for these operations is now $5,000 for an initial location and $2,000 for each additional location, with an additional amount of $2,500 for any business that is relocating operations to outdoors. For business partners that participated in the program earlier this year, they will receive additional funding to bring their total allotment to these new levels. Short-term rentals and private schools are not eligible for the additional funding.
Interested businesses that have not previously applied have until Dec. 13 to apply for the funds. For those who already applied, the County contact you in the very near future to coordinate the additional funding.
Upcoming Webinars Address Workplace Harassment, Expansion
San Bernardino County in conjunction with other partners both regionally and throughout the state are pleased to bring business owners and interested residents ongoing webinars on a variety of important topics. We aim to do everything we can to help businesses succeed during this difficult time. To see all upcoming webinars, visit the Workforce Development Board events page.
Harassment Protection for Employees
This course is designed to raise awareness about workplace harassment and discrimination, and reduce or prevent incidents of misconduct. As of January 21, 2021, California businesses with five or more employees MUST provide harassment prevention training every two years. The helps employees identify the difference between legal discrimination and an illegal “hostile environment,” promotes appropriate behavior, and reduces the potential for harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims.
Thursday, Nov. 19, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Simple Success – Optimizing Your Workload
This virtual training will be based on a book “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The presentation will discuss the value of simplifying one’s workload by focusing on the one most important task in any given project.
Thursday, Dec. 3, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sheriff Update on Inmates and Employees Testing Positive for COVID
A total of 451 County jail inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Many of the inmates are only experiencing minor symptoms of the virus. The infected inmates are in isolation, being monitored around the clock, and are being provided with medical treatment. A total of 413 inmates have recovered from the illness.
Seventeen additional department employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating at home. A total of 251 department employees have tested positive for COVID-19, 215 having recovered from the virus. Other employees are expected to return to work in the next few weeks.
78,298 Confirmed Cases (up 2.1% from the previous day)
1,118 Deaths (up 1.8% from the previous day)
961,411 Tests (up 0.8% from the previous day)
For more statistics from the COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard, click the desktop or mobile
tab on the County’s sbcovid19.com website.
For all COVID-19 related information, including case statistics, FAQs, guidelines and resources, visit the County’s COVID-19 webpage at http://sbcovid19.com/. Residents of San Bernardino County may also call the COVID-19 helpline at (909) 387-3911 for general information and resources about the virus. The phone line is NOT for medical calls and is available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have questions about social services, please call 211.