August 7, 2020 Edition
After a few hiccups last week, the Legislature resumed this week with a busy calendar of policy committee hearings, special hearings, and floor sessions. The Assembly Health Committee convened on Tuesday to hear several bills including SB 793, Senator Jerry Hill’s measure to ban flavored tobacco statewide. After lengthy testimony and a spirited debate amongst committee members, the bill passed out of the committee on a 10-2 vote with three members of the committee not voting. The measure now moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Looking ahead, CHEAC’s jointly sponsored measure with HOAC and SEIU California, AB 3224 (Rodriguez), will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on Monday, August 10. The measure would require CDPH to contract with an appropriate and qualified entity to conduct an evaluation of the adequacy of the local health department infrastructure, including recommendations for future staffing, workforce, and resource needs.
Please see our updated CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart for specific information on bills of interest to CHEAC.
Communicable Disease Control
AB 2077 (Ting) as Amended May 20, 2020 – SUPPORT
AB 2077, sponsored by HOAC, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and the Drug Policy Alliance, would remove the sunset from an existing law that allows pharmacies to sell and adults to possess sterile syringes for personal use without a prescription. The bill was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Saturday, August 3, passed out on a 6-2 vote, and will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee next week.
This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a series of COVID-19 guidance documents relative to youth sports, elementary school in-person instruction waivers, and higher education. Below, we detail these activities:
On Monday, CDPH issued guidance on youth sports that establishes a consistent set of rules that apply to all youth sports programs, including school-based, club, and recreational programs. Outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not permitted at this time. Youth sports and physical education are permitted only when physical distancing of at least six feet and a stable cohort of participants, such as a class, can be maintained. Activities should occur outside to the maximum extent possible.
Youth sports guidance is available here.
Elementary School Waiver Process
Recall, on July 17, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that schools in counties that have been on the County Data Monitoring List within the prior 14 days would only be allowed to conduct distance learning with the ability for elementary schools in those jurisdictions to request a waiver for in-person instruction. CDPH issued the waiver process on Monday. A district superintendent, private school principal or head of school, or executive director of a charter school may apply for a waiver from the local health officer to open an elementary school for in-person instruction in a county on the monitoring list. The waiver is applicable only to grades TK-6 and must include an attestation that the applicant consulted with parent, labor, and community organizations.
The application must include confirmation that the elementary school reopening plans have been published on the school’s website and must address, at a minimum, specified plans for cleaning and disinfection, cohorting, movement within school, face coverings and protective equipment, health screenings, healthy hygiene practices, contact tracing, physical distancing, staff training and family education, testing, communication plans, and triggers for switching to distance learning.
The process additionally details steps to be taken by local health officials in reviewing and considering school waivers, including an assessment of local COVID-19 epidemiological data, other local conditions, and a consultation with CDPH.
The in-person learning elementary education waiver process is detailed here. The CDPH Waiver Notice for Local Health Jurisdictions is available here and a waiver letter template and cover form are available here.
CDPH’s full press announcement on youth sports and the education waiver process is available here.
Higher Education and Collegiate Athletics
Today, CDPH issued interim guidance for institutions for higher education, including collegiate athletics. The guidance is intended to assist institutions and their communities plan and prepare to resume in-person instruction when appropriate based on local conditions. Institutions of higher education must take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus and to protect students, faculty, workers, and families.
A phased reopening of higher education institutions will depend on local conditions, including epidemiologic trends, availability of testing resources, and adequate preparedness and public health capacity to respond to cases and conduct outbreak investigations. Today’s guidance details a series of areas for consideration by institutions of higher education related to use of face coverings, a campus-specific COVID-19 prevention plan, course instruction formats, visitors, and meal service.
The guidance issued today also outlines conditions for collegiate athletics to resume, including use of face coverings, competitions without spectators, and return to play safety plans.
The full higher education guidance is available here. A news release on higher education guidance from CDPH is available here.
Recall, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is seeking a 12-month extension of the Section 1115 Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver that is currently set to expire on December 31, 2020. The extension request was published in late July can may be viewed here.
DHCS will hold its second and final public hearing to solicit comments on the extension proposal on Monday, August 10 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Registration for the hearing is available here. Written comments may also be submitted to DHCS firstname.lastname@example.org. The 30-day comment period closes on August 21, 2020.
This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Injury and Prevention Branch, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Office of Child Abuse Prevention, Essentials for Childhood Initiative (EfC), ACEs Connection, and the Yolo County Children’s Alliance published a newly developed resource, “Coping with Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The material is intended for California families experiencing severe economic consequences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and shares resources and offers supportive information on ways individuals can take care of themselves and their families during the pandemic. The one-pager is available here.
The Joyce Foundation will be hosting a new monthly virtual Lunch & Learn webinar series highlighting emerging research on gun violence. The first webinar will be held on Monday, August 10 at 9:00 am and will feature Dr. Garen Wintemute and Julia Schleimer from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Wintemute was a previous CHEAC Annual Meeting plenary speaker and is the Baker-Teret Chair in Violence Prevention at UC Davis.
The webinar will detail new research released in July on gun violence trends during the COVID-19 pandemic which found that the surge in firearm purchases during the pandemic is linked to higher rates of firearm violence in the U.S.
Registration for the webinar is available here.