Menifee residents provided COVID-19 updates through city-sponsored webinar

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Many Menifee residents joined the city’s Wednesday, April 29, COVID-19 community update webinar presented by city staff who gave a 30-minute update on what the city’s public safety department, community services nutrition, parks and programs, virtual city hall services, business programs, resources and infrastructure projects are doing to help residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Menifee city manager Armando Villa updated residents to the effect the virus has had on the community as of April 29. He said the city has 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including three new cases and three deaths since March 16 when the community emergency declaration was called by the city council. He said that the number of cases reported daily have been in decline since April. 13.

Samantha Rodriquez, senior management analyst for the city, explained that the Emergency Operations Center is in Level 2 operations with five key staff members from each major department assigned to the EOC coordinating with the county and state EOCs. More staff would be added if the level increases. They are in seven-day operations. She said there were 1,303 people who have recovered from the virus in the county, but public health orders have been extended now until June 19.

Lt. William Stens from the Perris Sheriff’s substation said his officers have joined Menifee and other Riverside County sheriff’s officers to continue patrols in the area and are ready to respond anytime they are needed during the pandemic with the call volume increasing.

Police Chief Pat Walsh joined in the discussion, saying his administrative officers are in the final interviews with 44 new officers seeking to join the department when it takes over city law enforcement, July 1.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark League said the call volume is down countywide since the stay-at-home order was issued in the coronavirus, confirming that the number of COVID-19 patients is increasing as more and more are being tested in the county. He said daily medical calls have increased from 100 to 125 per day at the Perris dispatch station since the pandemic began. The Perris fire dispatch provides coverage in Menifee. He said ambulances may be the only units now responding to day care, nursing and skilled nursing homes during the pandemic.

Jonathon Nicks, director of Menifee Community Services, said the priority for his department is making sure the senior community and others in need are getting food with 5,058 meals served since the stay-at home-order was given in the pandemic. He said the city parks are open to hiking, bicycling, horseshoes and other non-contact sports, but all the playground equipment and mass gathering facilities are closed.

Gina Gonzales, director of Menifee’s Economic Development department, gave a long list of online services and other activities available to residents for free during the pandemic. She said the city is also doing its best to assist the business community facing increasing unemployment and low consumer sales.

She provided a long list of the business services offered to the community online at https://www.menifeebusiness.com/menifee-cares.

“As the COVID-19 situation remains fluid, please visit the city of Menifee COVID-19 webpage, for the most current resource information and for assistance,” Gonzales said.

City clerk Sarah Manwaring said she will provide minutes and other information to the public on request and online including city council and other committee meeting schedules and agendas and how to reach them during future meetings through telecommunications and social media during the pandemic.

A question and answer period followed the regular presentations with residents responding on the chat line provided and voice input.

Similar webinars will be presented with the latest updates as needed.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.