As the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths rises in Alameda County, relief services and new protocols are underway in the Tri-Valley.

The Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) reported 602 confirmed cases, while the death toll climbed to 15, as of April 7. Three days earlier, there were 373 cases and nine deaths in the county. Berkeley, which has its own public health department, reported 32 cases and no deaths as of April 7.

The expiration date for the shelter-in-place order is currently set for May 3; residents can find the following resources and updates:

RESOURCES

EBCE Commits Over $1 Million

East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) — a nonprofit agency providing clean energy to about 500,000 Alameda customers at low rates — committed more than $1 million for local COVID-19 relief efforts.

“I directed our management team to identify any possible opportunities in the current budget to repurpose as contributions for COVID-19 relief efforts,” EBCE CEO Nick Chaset said. “This is clearly a crisis time for residents and local businesses, and if EBCE has any resources available to help, then by all means, that is what we're going to do, and we’re doing it immediately.”

Some of those efforts include temporarily suspending customer bill collection and offering customers flexible payment plans. EBCE will also suspend its policy of returning customers with delinquent accounts to PG&E.

AARP to Issue COVID-19 Care Card

In conjunction with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the State Department of Aging, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) will issue California for All Resource Cards, which share tips with seniors about staying in place and staying well. For more information, email CAAARP@aarp.org.

While Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD) has closed most public facilities until further notice, it’s now offering Friendly Calls for Seniors. The calls serve as a wellness check and provide a friendly conversation to those struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation. To sign up for Friendly Calls for Seniors, call 925-373-5760.

Medical Professional Volunteers Needed

In anticipation of a greater surge of COVID-19 patients, the county is seeking volunteer doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, technicians and other medical professionals to work shifts in alternate patient care locations within the county. There may also be a need for translation services. People who are available and willing to work should complete an online form available at https://bit.ly/2JLZ6nY.

Health Official Online With Swalwell

Colleen Chawla, Alameda County Health Care Services director, will join Congressman Eric Swalwell on Facebook to answer public questions about coronavirus. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance on the event’s Facebook page, set for 1:30 p.m. April 9.

Farmers Market Remains Available

On April 2, Dublin had its first farmers market of the season at Emerald Glen Park. Customers and farmers maintained social distancing, and no chairs or tables were available in an effort to discourage lingering. Farmers already had their products prepackaged. Dublin officials will explore holding another market in the future.

NEW PROTOCOLS

Grocery Stores Set Time For First Responders

Lucky Supermarkets announced it will reserve one hour before normal opening hours and one hour after normal closing hours at all of its stores to serve first responders. There are Lucky stores in all three Valley cities. For store hours, visit https://www.luckysupermarkets.com/.

Health Officials Reverse Position on Face Masks

Alameda County Public Health Department now encourages residents to wear masks, noting cloth bandanas will help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The mask does not have to be hospital grade, but should cover the nose and mouth. The release indicates hospital-grade masks should be left for medical care workers and first responders, because their supply is limited.

CLOSURES

Taylor Family Foundation Postpones Event

The Taylor Family Foundation (TTFF) postponed its fundraiser Day in the Park/Day at the Table until next year until further notice. TTFF serves children who have a variety of challenges, including AIDS/HIV, bereavement, Celiac disease, Down syndrome and sickle cell.

Playgrounds Go Virtual

Dublin Parks and Community Services Department has come up with clever substitutes for kids and adults to play, while they isolate themselves at home. Kids can go on an egg hunt with two cartoon characters, one of them a bunny named Flopsy. The goal is to find as many virtual eggs as possible in each scene.