UPDATE 3/13/20 6pm: City of Golden announces closure of Golden Community Center and other facilities. www.GuidingGolden.com now online with City’s COVID-19 response and updated closures.
UPDATE: 3/13/20 4pm: Since sending my letter to City Council, the City has agreed to create a section on GuidingGolden.com with COVID-19 information and the city’s response (not yet up as I write this). Mayor Weinberg has also sent out a thoughtful email this afternoon which I encourage everyone to read.
Note: The following letter was sent Friday March 13th to the City Council and Manager only after directly engaging Councilors, the City Manager, the Manager of the GCC and staff at the GCC over the past week via email and in person.
Mayor, City Councilors and City Manager Slowinski,
I am writing to encourage you to consider additional communication, education, outreach, and action. And I encourage you to take action now.
For those who may feel this is “still developing” and that we need to wait to learn more… The virus was reported in Seattle nearly a month ago. Colorado cases have more than quadrupled this week alone. Colorado has reached #5 in the country for total reported cases.
Employers and Schools are taking action and making changes daily that affect us all. The following quote reinforces my experience as a community health RN regarding the urgency of need to act:
“A fire on your stove you could put out with a fire extinguisher, but if your kitchen is ablaze, that fire extinguisher probably won’t work,” said Dr. Carter Mecher, a senior medical adviser for public health at the Department of Veterans Affairs and a former director of medical preparedness policy at the White House during the Obama and Bush administrations.
“Communities that pull the fire extinguisher early are much more effective.” (cited from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/us/coronavirus-deaths-estimate.html)
I know you are already asking about what we can do to help as a City. The limited information released so far after my previous emails does not feel adequate. Here are a few thoughts I have heard from residents and from my own background and experience.
- The City of Golden website has no information regarding City-specific responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It simply re-posts County updates. Let’s share information on what city leaders are thinking and doing related to the pandemic.
- What is City Council doing about this, and why is City Council going two weeks between meeting while this unfolds? And if the City Council cannot meet in person, how can Council make decisions if urgently needed?
- The Golden Community Center website also has no mention of COVID-19. There was an email sent earlier this week. There is no information regarding thoughts on possible changes to programming at the GCC, which touches hundreds of Golden Residents daily. This becomes especially important as our children switching into Spring Break and remote learning mode.
- The GCC has added small signs scattered around the facility about staying healthy. As of this morning, there are no warning signs at the two primary entrances directing people with symptoms to remain outside of the GCC. There was (again) no Weight Room Attendant today to help monitor, organize, and maintain hygiene in the facility. At one point there was only one empty spray bottle of equipment cleaning solution on the cubby countertop. Suggesting in an email that cleaning is increasing feels almost disingenuous in the face of these reports.
Education & Outreach
- The community would benefit from a hosted (virtual or otherwise) discussion regarding COVID-19 and what the City is and can do about it, as well as what residents can and should be doing – and what we should not be worried about.
- Speaking of what we should be worried about:
- will our water supply remain clean, safe and uninterrupted?
- What if we have a snow storm, will we have capacity to plow the streets?
- How are Fire and Life Safety services preparing?
- What about trash and recycling, could this be affected?
- How can the GCC turn programming into sharing information to everyone we touch base with
- Let’s get creative – and let’s get going! Time truly = health risk.
- How can the City support residents facing changes or loss of jobs and/or changes in education requiring children to be at home for what will be an undetermined amount of time?
- JeffCo is releasing 80,000+ students into the community for an extended period of time, what impacts should we be considering? College students are also returning home.
- How can we ensure appropriate staffing at GCC to support residents and remain as hygienic as possible?
- Can we finally get the pedestrian path over 8th street to the north neighborhoods re-opened? Now more than ever, residents need ways to get outdoors and stay active and healthy.
- Gather and share resources for people who may be struggling with food or physical or mental health issues. How can we support them as a community?
- Financial – the concurrent financial crisis demands we review and begin considering thoughtful, measured changes and updates to our two-year budget cycle and planning.
I look forward to a more visible communication, education, outreach and action from City Council and our municipal government. I am ready to help, as are many residents, and we look forward to opportunities to stay engaged.
Bill Fisher, BSN, RN, CHPN Resident, City of Golden Ward 4