Menlo Park acts to address public health concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19)

by Contributed Content on March 8, 2020

With the evolving situation surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), city leaders understand and take seriously the concerns of our community members as we continue to plan and take proactive steps to address this public health emergency.

Public health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still believe that the public’s risk of exposure in our area is relatively low.

The City of Menlo Park is coordinating with public health officials, local and regional agencies, and community-based organizations. Over the past week, City staff participated in daily coordination calls with other San Mateo County cities and the San Mateo County Emergency Operations Center, as well as other local and regional partners. This provides us a broad understanding and perspective of the ongoing regional response.

Changes to City operations and activities
As we continue to monitor the situation, we have taken the following additional steps to protect local public health:

  • Our public facilities are undergoing increasingly frequent cleaning and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces such as doors, handles, sinks, drinking fountains, elevator buttons, counters, tables, self-service kiosks, conference rooms and child care classrooms
  • Staff is convening daily to coordinate our resources and review our response plans
  • Upcoming events are being reviewed and modified as necessary to protect vulnerable populations identified by public health officials; this includes information about how to receive information, submit comments and questions, or participate remotely (where possible)
  • At this time, library programs and recreation activities are continuing and we have started specific messaging to program participants and user groups
  • Senior services are being reviewed as we consider the best way to protect this vulnerable population and ensure ongoing support for essential services, including the senior meal program
  • The city website serves as our main point of information; it has been updated to highlight the resources available at as we continue to work with our local and regional partners on coordinated messaging to inform, educate and respond to public needs

How you can help
All community members can take steps to help reduce personal and public health risks related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Consider avoiding public or crowded areas, especially if you don’t feel well; stay home when you are sick
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Stop shaking hands
  • Under all circumstances, stop touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your cough or sneeze properly; use a tissue then immediately throw it in the trash
  • Increase the amount of remote working or teleworking to the extent possible especially for those who appear at higher risk for developing the disease, including those over the age of 60 and those with other underlying conditions or reduced immune systems
  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19
  • If you have recently returned from regions with ongoing COVID-19 impacts, monitor your health and immediately call your physician if you experience flu-like symptoms

Additional planning and preparedness actions you can take
Start now to plan and prepare for possible disruption caused by further spread of the virus:

  • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family
  • Make a child care plan now for the event you or a caregiver get sick
  • Make arrangements for how your family will manage a school or daycare closure, if necessary
  • Make a plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself
  • Sign up for emergency alerts and ensure your information is up-to-date at
  • Consider taking an online CERT course or local CERT training to prepare yourself and your neighbors
  • If you believe that you or anyone in your household has come in contact with someone who was exposed to COVID-19, please notify your health care provider by phone before leaving home to seek medical attention.

Stay engaged and follow updates
We know that there are many questions regarding how this virus may affect our lives in the coming weeks and months. Planning is underway on a number of fronts to anticipate the evolution of the virus’ spread. We encourage our residents, businesses and community organizations to visit for preparedness resources and tips.

You can also get the latest public health information by visiting:

  • San Mateo County Health,
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  • City of Menlo Park,

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One Comment

Curt McGee March 09, 2020 at 8:17 am

Nicely done communication – sober without being anxiety producing.

Thanks for making this available to us!

Comments are closed.


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