Contra Costa Co. health officials aim to eliminate all 'preventable' COVID deaths

Refugio Garcia

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Contra Costa Co. officials announce plan to eliminate 'Preventable' COVID deaths

Contra Costa County public health officials on Monday announced a new plan to completely eliminate “preventable” deaths resulting from COVID-19, East Bay Times reports.

The county has maintained a cumulative death rate half of the national average since the start of the pandemic but has seen roughly 1,300 area residents die due to the virus.

“We feel confident that you no longer have to die from COVID-19,” said Contra Costa County Health Director Anna Roth during a press conference laying out the county’s “Path to Zero” plan. “We believe that many deaths, most deaths, are preventable at this point because we have powerful tools available.”

Contra Costa County is now examining the deaths caused by COVID in an effort to determine which cases could have been prevented among vulnerable groups in the population, according to the the county’s Health Officer, Dr. Ori Tzvieli. The county will examine certain factors such as “were they able to be tested in a timely manner? Did they seek out treatment and were they able to get treatment in a timely manner? Were they able to get vaccinated? Were they boosted?”

“If the answer to any of those questions is no,’” Tzvieli continued, “it shows us what we did well and where we fell short.”

The county also plans on making a nurse line available to any residents that test positive with access that doesn’t require any insurance coverage. The 24/7 Advice Nurse line can be reached at (877) 661-6230.

Oakland school board member lashes out in resignation letter

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On Monday, Oakland school board member Shanthi Gonzales announced that she will be stepping down from her role with the Oakland school board before her term ends, claiming that the board fell short in meeting the academic needs of Oakland students, East Bay Times reports.

Gonzales’ resignation comes after months wrought with tension due to the district’s plan to shrink and consolidate 11 area schools. She also claims the teachers’ union and allies have resisted improving the quality of schools and have attempted to silence those who have pushed back against the district’s plans.

“Our core issue is that most schools are not meeting students’ academic needs, meaning that students aren’t being adequately prepared for their next steps, whether that is middle school, high school or college and career,” Gonzales posted on her website. “Our efforts to improve school quality have been inconsistent and not nearly ambitious enough.”

She also pointed to a lower quality education negatively impacting enrollment – one of the district’s reasons for reducing the number of campuses saying, “so our refusal to really take on school quality in a focused, consistent and fearless way is impacting our enrollment and leading to budget cuts, school closures and other negative consequences.”

Tensions between the school board, teachers, students and parents have been intense since the district’s approval to reduce the number of schools in Oakland earlier this year, with numerous marches and rallies taking place in opposition to the plan.

The board will initiate the process to replace Gonzales during the next board meeting scheduled for May 11. The board will have 60 days to find a replacement before holding a special election for a replacement. The county superintendent also has the option to appoint a replacement.

Oakland City Council president says enforcement of parking laws at Lake Merritt will reduce violent crime

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Oakland City Council president Nikki Fortunato Bas released a statement pointing to parking enforcement and previous vehicle mitigation measures as being effective in deterring violent crime in the area around Lake Merritt, KRON4 reports.

In addition to the installation of speed bumps to deter sideshows in the area, Bas says the enforcement of the closure of Lake Merritt from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. is crucial to preventing any unwanted activity.

“I am calling for immediate action. The parking district when the park is closed must be enforced, including ticketing and towing that will prevent violence from occurring.”

“That is from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. in compliance with state laws, and so one of the biggest challenges is enforcement,” Bas said.

However, President of Oakland Police Officers’ Association, Officer Barry Donelan, said that he was surprised to read Bas’ statement saying, “I was actually speechless when I read that,” adding, “I don’t know if we’re looking at the same problem. This is a response to a murder. Parking is not the issue. Violent crime is the issue.”

The Oakland Police Department receives roughly 2,000 calls a day and doesn't include reports of parking violations. The department says it must prioritize reported violent crimes.

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