• Coronavirus

March 15, 2020 - Update From County Administrator

Published:  March 15, 2020

Dear Sonoma County Employees,

As the COVID-19 pandemic quickly evolves, I wanted to provide you with an update based on the most current developments. 

The County’s Health Department has confirmed community spread of the virus.  The sickened individual and another asymptomatic individual who is closely associated are quarantined.  Health Officials are in the process of contacting individuals the patient has come in contact with.  The Health Officer is maintaining the orders of no indoor events with 250 or more in attendance, limiting gatherings for those at higher risk to no more than groups of 10 people, limitations on visiting long-term care centers, social distancing (6’ or more personal space), encouraging employers to consider tele-working, and of course, good hygiene. Additionally, schools districts are in the process of communicating with families regarding plans related to remote methods of learning, and the Governor just issued additional guidelines including self-isolation for individuals who are 65 and over.  We would like all of our employees to follow this guidance. 

As an employer with the obligation to help limit community spread and to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our employees safe.  First, I have asked Department Heads to allow for tele-work where appropriate. Today, I instructed Department Heads that we will be transitioning County operations  to provide mandated and/or essential services only. This transition will occur by the  end of business day Wednesday, March 18, and will be in affect through Friday, April 3rd.  Departments are starting the process today to meet this implementation timing and will determine which services and which positions/individuals are needed to maintain continuity of operations.  There will be efforts made in each department to consider tele-working as an option for as many positions and services as operationally possible.  As this is a pandemic disaster, all employees may be contacted and requested to fill a disaster service worker assignment.  For those employees who are determined by their Departments as not being needed for essential services, they haven’t been assigned a disaster service worker assignment, are not provided tele-work, are not using time accruals for other reasons, may be paid to meet their regular FTE (aka disaster pay for time not worked).  However, they may be called in at any time to support department essential services or as disaster service workers.

 Departments will establish communication methods with their employees, and the County will set up a phone line for information.  That phone line is:  (707) 329-4157

Please note, the Health Officer has NOT issued a health order to close County facilities.  The decision is being made to be proactive in supporting the efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus.  Therefore, employees are to report to work on Monday as they were planning unless they are sick or are 65 or older.    

The County is in the process of determining which services must maintain an in-person, counter-like, presence and will be putting safety precautions into place.  Departments are also being asked that if employees are needed in the office to provide continuity of services beyond March 18th, that they evaluate work space to ensure social distancing is achieved. 

Regarding employee pay, leave information, what to do about school/child care closures, etc. we have updated the information, which is attached.  (Subject to change as the situation evolves, or if there is a need to clarify.) Human Resources/Payroll will release more detailed information regarding pay and pay coding as soon as possible.  The information will be maintained moving forward on the Employee Resources Page of the County’s website:  http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/HR/Employee-Resources/.  You may also log into Employee Self-Service from the Employee Resource Page to ensure your personal contact information and personal email is current.

I want to thank you again for all that you are doing to keep our community well and thank you in advance for your efforts in maintaining essential services. 


Sheryl Bratton, County Administrator

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