COVID-19 Update 3

county seal

A message from:
Board of Supervisors
Susan S. Muranishi, County Administrator
Colleen Chawla, Director, Health Care Services Agency
Joe Angelo, Director of Human Resource Services

March 17, 2020

Alameda County joined six (6) other Bay Area health jurisdictions to issue an Order to our respective residents to shelter at home for three (3) weeks beginning March 17, 2020. The Order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. The Order will remain in place through April 7, 2020, and the County will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as needed. The press release and Order are linked.


The following countywide direction was issued under the authority of an Order of the Alameda County Health Officer (and the separate Order issued by the Berkeley Health Officer):

  • All persons to shelter at their place of residence, other than to provide or receive essential services, which include:
    • Performing tasks or activities essential to personal or family health and safety;
    • Obtaining services and supplies, including perishable goods;
    • Engaging in outdoor activity; and
    • Performing work providing essential products and services.
  • All businesses to cease non-exempt operations at physical locations.
  • Cessation of all non-essential services
  • Cessation of all non-essential travel.

All seven (7) health jurisdictions (the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara; City & County of San Francisco; and City of Berkeley) have adopted the same direction.


We recognize how disruptive this action may be to our communities and want to note the following:

  • The Bay Area is densely populated, with our counties sharing borders, commerce, families, and workforces.
  • We have evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Alameda County and have seen an acceleration of increased cases in the region.
  • We must act now to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and decrease its reach beyond the Bay Area.
  • Having weighed data, the risk, health, and safety of the public, and socioeconomic impacts on our community, this action protects people who are at high risk for COVID-19-related complications and will help prevent overwhelming our health care systems.

The joint action by, and the unity of seven (7) health jurisdictions, underscores the fact that we must take unprecedented actions to stop this new disease immediately. Alameda County has a duty to protect the health and safety as well as promote the well-being for people living and working in our communities.


We call on our dedicated County employees to respond to this public health emergency at a time when our community needs us the most. Our highest duty is to ensure the public continues to receive essential services - especially in our most vulnerable communities. Continuity of these services in this time of high need is vital. And, as County employees, we are all designated by State law as Disaster Service Workers which means we may be called upon to assist and support the County's response in any number of ways including deployment to other work sites and assisting with duties that are different from our regular work responsibilities. While we know that this is a period of great uncertainty, it is also a time when our employees rise to the occasion.

We recognize that not all our employees may be able to assist due to health or other circumstances, we need those who can help to do so. Finally, as we pull together as one workforce to meet the challenge of taking care of those in most need, the County is also committed to minimizing the health risks for our employees and their families

To implement this Order, over the coming days we will be evaluating our services to determine how to ensure continuity of essential government functions and identifying solutions that may include opportunities to expand our flexible work arrangement programs.

We recognize that you have a number of questions, and we are quickly working to finalize the policy decisions necessary to provide that direction.

Our employees and our communities are resilient, resourceful, and have a history of coming together to overcome adversity. We have an opportunity to flatten the curve of disease spread, and we will get through this together.