For so many of us, the holidays are a special time of year. We gather with friends and family, reflect on the good in our lives and remain hopeful for what is yet to come.
As we approach Thanksgiving, my thoughts go to the passionate, courageous and remarkable people I have the privilege to work with every day – our employees, our partners, our community and those we serve.
It's what has kept me hopeful during another year marked with ups and downs. Whether related to the COVID-19 pandemic or the countless other services people in Contra Costa rely on, you showed up every day to care for and improve the health of our community with special attention to the most vulnerable.
I want to thank you for giving care and comfort to those in need, for providing stability in an ever-changing environment, and for continuing to protect our community's health and wellness.
As I pause to give thanks this year, I'll be thinking of each of you.
Wishing you a restful, happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.
CEO, Contra Costa Health
Contra Costa Health's Hazardous Materials Staff Monitor Air Quality in Crockett and Pittsburg
Contra Costa Health's Hazardous Materials staff have been busy throughout the month responding to two events in Pittsburg and Crockett.
In Crockett, residents had complained about strong rotten egg or sewage odors, which were caused by operation issues at the Crockett Wastewater Treatment Plant. This prompted the CCH incident response team to conduct daily air monitoring from Oct. 6-17.
CCH issued a health advisory on Oct. 7 after air quality readings near the treatment plant showed elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide. Our HazMat team determined the levels were concentrated enough to cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea and irritated eyes in people exposed to the gas for long periods of time.
The plant processes sewage from the community and the C&H Sugar refinery. As of Oct. 17, representatives from the plant said they mitigated the problem and are in the process of upgrading equipment.
During the same time, CCH HazMat teams were also monitoring air quality in Pittsburg.
Since July, Pittsburg and nearby communities have experienced intermittent poor air quality due to the Marsh Fire. It's been difficult to fully extinguish because it's still burning underground in naturally occurring peat.
The HazMat team uses existing air monitoring data to determine the air quality index (AQI) for specific areas but realized there was a blind spot in Pittsburg where AQI data was not available. The incident response team conducted air monitoring at several locations in the blind spot, measuring airborne particulates (PM2.5) At last check in October, all readings were in the acceptable range.
These recent events show the need for air quality monitoring during an industrial incident or other natural event, such as a fire. HazMat is looking at expanding our abilities to monitor air quality both internally and with partners like the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
A3 Program Hosts Neighborhood Listening Session
Contra Costa Health continues to develop A3, our approach to providing timely and appropriate behavioral health services to anyone, anywhere at anytime in our county.
Sometimes when a person is experiencing a behavioral health episode, they need a place to access care. CCH is in the process of renovating the A3 Wellness Campus at 1034 Oak Grove Road in Concord. It will the be a hub to access mental health prevention and treatment services in Contra Costa.
While this is a key next step in developing A3, we want to gather input and recommendations from our future neighbors before finalizing building plans and program services.
We held the first of several neighborhood listening sessions on Oct. 26 at the Oak Grove site. Neighbors gave input, asked questions, and allowed us to address their concerns. We plan to organize a workgroup so that we can continue gathering feedback and recommendations. Based on what we hear, some modifications might be made prior to construction.
We know the A3 Wellness Campus will be a major asset for people throughout the county, and we want to do all we can to make it work for our neighbors as well. Learn more and find updates at cchealth.org/a3.
Every November, Contra Costa Health recognizes November as Homelessness Awareness Month. It's an opportunity to advocate, educate and provide resources for our communities.
Homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many people and families in our county. Last year, more than 9,100 people accessed homeless services in Contra Costa.
Contra Costa Health, in partnership with neighboring communities, is aiming to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 75% by the year 2024 as part of our commitment to the regional Action Plan. We know we can't do this alone and are committed to working with community partners, other departments and people with lived experience to meet this important goal.
This month provides an opportunity to raise awareness, educate our communities and provide critical services.
H3 put together resources for Homelessness Awareness Month:
- 2022 Toolkit
- Watch the Homelessness Awareness Month video featuring stories of staff and community members
Congratulations to Dr. Sara Levin who was selected as one of East Bay Leadership Council's 2022 Philanthropy Awardees.
The East Bay Philanthropy Awards are an annual celebration honoring people and organizations who help make positive change in our communities.
Dr. Levin was nominated by Debbie Toth, president & CEO of Choice in Aging, for her role in leading the COVID-19 response for disproportionately impacted communities, especially marginalized elderly people, adults with disabilities, and the African American community.
Dr. Levin will receive the Health Justice Award and will be recognized, along with other honorees, at the event on Nov. 17.
Sen. Steve Glazer is recognizing Lavonna Martin, CCH Deputy Director, for her leadership throughout the pandemic supporting people experiencing homelessness.
Last year, Sen. Glazer named Lavonna the 2021 State Senate District 7 Woman of the Year.
The Woman of the Year event celebrates contributions to society made by remarkable women throughout California.
The in-person ceremony on the floors of the Senate and Assembly was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, Lavonna was honored on Nov. 14 during a celebration at the County Administrative Building.
Contra Costa Behavioral Health will be honored at Mt. Diablo Unified School District's 2022 You Make a Difference Awards.
These awards honor those who have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of students with disabilities in the school district.
The celebration is on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Concord High School. Congratulations to our Behavioral Health team!
Service Excellence Awards
Service Excellence Awards acknowledge the care, skill and compassion Contra Costa Health employees bring to work each day.
I am excited to recognize the incredible work being done at CCH and acknowledge employees who have gone above and beyond for each other and our communities.
Please join me in celebrating and thanking each person who has been nominated.