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Palo Alto Police Department
Tuesday March 10th, 2020 :: 04:42 p.m. PDT


Update from the City of Palo Alto on Coronavirus

To limit the potential spread of respiratory viruses and safeguard those at highest risk of catching COVID-19, the City of Palo Alto announced a series of actions to keep the community safe during this time of heightened public health risk. In response to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department recent guidance to cancel large events in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 within the County, the City is postponing, cancelling or modifying over 30 events and programs from now until March 31, 2020. In addition, the City is encouraging all community members to keep our community safe by preventing the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19 by staying home if sick, use hygiene best practices including washing your hands, calling your health practitioner before going to the hospital if you have COVID-19 symptoms and other healthy lifestyle approaches. Help our most vulnerable community members stay safe during this public health emergency by demonstrating that hygiene is important for everyone. The City is continuing its work to provide essential services through thoughtful planning for several impact scenarios. The City has already implemented operational changes to support first responders and safeguard our community from COVID-19 risks. The City continues to track and monitor the public health situation in our community, including participating in the Santa Clara County briefings as well as monitoring advisories issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The City’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) has also been in contact with Stanford Health Care and other hospitals and clinics to coordinate on preparation and contingency planning.
A list of cancelled or postponed events is listed on the City’s dedicated webpage on the coronavirus situation at and will be updated as more details are known.

Anticipating Temporary City Operational and Service Changes or Modifications

-The City has already implemented several operational changes in response to the COVID-19 public health risk, including supplying protective gear for field staff, expanding 911 dispatcher protocols to support Police, Fire, emergency medical first responders, and Utilities staff, providing more hand sanitizer stations and enhanced cleaning in public facilities. The City is evaluating modifications to service delivery and other efforts to maintain City staffing levels and providing essential services through thoughtful planning for several impact scenarios. The City anticipates more details to be released later this week on longer-term planning and potential service delivery modifications.

Informing the Community on the Latest Local Developments

-The leading agency focused on public health and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak is the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. As of Monday, March 9, there are 43 confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Clara County and they are anticipating more cases. There is one case in Palo Alto, that the City is aware of, because of a Veterans Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System (a federal agency) hospital transfer from another County in California to Palo Alto. This case is unique and not related to a community spread of the virus. Instead, this case is a contained hospital transfer of an infected veteran from one hospital to another. Santa Clara County Public Health Department guidance seeks to limit the community spread of COVID-19 and includes guidance for employers and the public to keep our community’s safe. Santa Clara County is in the process of finalizing the use of 211 as a “call center” and San Mateo County is already using 211 as a "call center" for persons with questions about COVID-19. Community members can also text "coronavirus" to 211211 for information and updates. There is also a public information phone number to gain updates by calling (408) 885-3980. In addition, the City has set up a dedicated webpage and other communications efforts, including placing posters at high use public facilities and printed materials to help inform and provide tools to help keep our community safe. For more on recent coronavirus updates and other online resources, go to the City’s dedicated webpage on this issue at

The full news release can be found at

Palo Alto Police Department
275 Forest Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-329-2406

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