What Happened This Week
We've heard from a lot of people that it's hard to keep track of what's happening from week to week. We thought you might feel that way, too, and that a recap might help. Here are some highlights:
- Dr. Sam holds live briefings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30am; those briefings are broadcast live on his County Executive facebook page, which you can access from this link: https://www.facebook.com/CountyExecutiveSamPage/. See past briefings at the Youtube channel HERE.
- Every Tuesday, the St. Louis County Council holds its meeting live by web/teleconference. During that meeting Dr. Sam gives his weekly County Executive Report. This week's meeting is at 6:30pm on June 9. To join, dial call +1-408-418-9388 and enter the Access code: 132 695 9669. If you'd like to join by computer, go to www.stlouisco.com and scroll to the "events" links at the bottom of the page, where you will find a link to join.
- Every Tuesday, the County Council Special Committee for Oversight of COVID-19 Funding and Expenditures holds its meetings at 10:00am. To join by phone call +1-408-418-9388 and enter the Access code: 132 081 7857. To join by computer, go to www.stlouisco.com and scroll to the "events" links at the bottom of the page, where you will find a link to join. The Committee provides special oversight over spending of the $173 million in federal CARES Act grant funding.
- As Sam said on May 30, "Racism is a public health emergency." As our community grieves George Floyd and unites for change, Sam stands in solidarity with everyone against injustice. As he said during his June 1 press conference, "We are a country that is scared. We are a country that is angry. And we’re a country that is holding out for the promise of justice for all. ... Allies cannot completely know what it’s like to walk in a black man’s shoes. But they do fully understand that it’s time for change, and this is long overdue. As prosecutor Wesley Bell said [on May 30], this is not a black problem, this is an American problem. The only way to a better future is not to repeat the mistakes of the past." Read his June 1 comments HERE.
- Tuesday’s election led to the historic victory of Ella Jones, the first African-American and first woman mayor of Ferguson. Congratulations, Mayor Jones! Read more about her historic victory HERE.
- This week the County announced $15.4 million in federal CARES Act grant funding would be allocated for child care centers and humanitarian relief supporting the well-being of County residents. You can track these funds on the STLCorona.com transparency portal at www.STLCorona.com. The funds included:
- $5.9 million in grants to child care centers that need help operating safely (see more details on that below)
- $1 million for senior and homebound programs
- $250,000 for housing stabilization
- $2.3 million for homeless prevention
- $2.5 million for temporary housing assistance
- $1.7 million for utility assistance
- $250,000 for legal advocacy and support for households who are at risk for homelessness, eviction or foreclosure
- $1 million for technology such as prepaid cell phones and wifi hotspots to help isolated people stay connected
- $500,000 for social and emotional wellness of children
- Applications are currently being accepted for grants awarded under the Child Care Relief Program, which will help child care providers continue to operate safely. Funding is available for business interruption expenses as well as costs of complying with public health guidelines; funding available is based upon the number of children served. Learn more and fill out an application at the www.STLCorona website HERE.
- On Friday, the County announced an additional $5 million from CARES Act funding would be set aside for homelessness prevention and rental and mortgage assistance programs. With this, St. Louis County is now investing $12 million to keep the most vulnerable residents in stable, safe, and healthy homes.
- The County now tests 1,200 people every day, and while there is still a supply shortage of tests, it's getting better and the County continues to aggressively purchase tests.
- On Friday, the Department of Public Health distributed more than 6,000 masks and other PPE to County residents. To date, hundreds of thousands of masks have been provided to communities in St. Louis County. Two hundred thousand masks have gone to Catholic Charities to get to vulnerable families in our community and another 22,000 will be distributed through the YMCA to get to kids through their summer camps. That is in addition to the 100,000 masks given to the Clergy Coalition for use by congregants, over 30,000 masks provided to nursing homes, 16,000 masks provided to North County Inc. for use by businesses, 138,000 masks to be distributed by Prepare STL, and 1,500 masks to People's Health Center in North County.
- June is LGBTQ Pride month, which honors the 1969 Stonewall uprising against police persecution of LGBT Americans. Beyond being a celebration, Pride Month also highlights the need for equal justice and opportunity. Dr. Page has always been a strong supporter of LGBTQIA rights; he co-sponsored the Missouri NonDiscrimination Act (MONA) while in the state legislature and he continues to advocate for its passage. This year celebrations will look different, but the focus on equity and justice resonates. This week, the St. Louis Parks Department raised Pride flags in the St. Louis County government plaza between the courts and administration buildings to celebrate the beginning of Pride Month.
- On Wednesday, the County delivered 1,000 air conditioning units to vulnerable residents. This was made possible by a St. Louis County community development grant and a generous donation from Ameren. More funds are in place to support the folks at Cool Down St. Louis as they work to distribute air conditioning across our community.
- St. Louis County, community partners, and the Drug Enforcement Administration - St. Louis Division organized a community-based website for drug and substance abuse related resources. During times of high stress and social isolation, increased substance use and relapse are especially common. The www.WithYouSTL.com website brings together information about support facilities, treatment and recovery, substance use prevention, and free Naloxone distribution locations in the St. Louis Metro region.
- The St. Louis County Department of Public Health provides Narcan through the AnyoneCan initiative, which you can learn more about by clicking HERE. Naxalone (also known as Narcan) is available free of charge between 8am-4:30pm M-F at Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, North Central Community Health Center, 4000 Jennings Station Rd. St. Louis, MO 63121.
- The STLCorona.com website has a COVID-19 information and resource page, which displays links to the published materials available to citizens overcoming COVID-19 related challenges. Here you can find resources ranging from COVID-19 Statistics to Internet Access to Educational Resources and Websites. Go HERE to learn more.
- St. Louis County’s slow, gradual reopening began Monday, May 18th. Specific guidance has been provided for various industries, including hotels, business offices, restaurants, construction, transportation services, personal services, retail, daycare and summer camps. You can find all of those on www.STLCorona by clicking the green "reopening guidelines" button on the main page or by clicking HERE.
- Bars can open on June 8th at 25% capacity with guidelines provided on STLCorona.com. These can be found here.
- Sporting events can resume June 15th. However, youth and adult events will have different guidelines and restrictions as outlined on STLCorona.com.
- All businesses can begin to reopen on June 15th including gyms, movie theatres, bowling alleys, conference/banquet venues, community centers, museums, sporting venues, casinos, and pools. Gyms can offer outdoor fitness training, as of June 1st.
- The St. Louis Department of Public Health will reopen all medical, mental health, and substance use services at John C. Murphy on June 15th. All clinics will accept new patients and provide telehealth.
- You can participate in the St. Louis County’s Participatory Budget effort and help decide how $7M of the CARES grant should be spent. Learn more about how you can participate, and apply HERE.
- On June 1st, the St. Louis County Parks Department published its monthly newsletter, announcing a new Junior Ranger program for children to complete. Check it out HERE.
- A reminder that you can see CARES Act expenses for yourself in the transparency portal on www.STLCorona.com. You can view a breakdown of actual or committed spending by department or by vendor, look at individual expenditures, and even download a spreadsheet of the spending data. Access it by going to www.STLCorona.com and clicking on the green "COVID-19 Spending" button, or by clicking HERE.
To say this is a challenging, fast-paced time is an understatement, but we hope updates like this will help you keep track of what's going on week-to-week.
Let us know if you have questions, concerns, or something you'd like us to focus on. We'll get through this together.
Dr. Sam's Team