We are sending you this note to bring you up to speed with regards Troop 4’s position and response to the SARS-CoV2 virus. As you know the WHO declared planet Earth to be in a state of global pandemic yesterday, 3/11/20. The disease was only recognized by the WHO on 12/31/19 and has since spread to 113 countries outside of China as of 3PM yesterday including the USA. We still have only 1 confirmed case of a patient with the SARS-CoV2 virus in San Diego, but that number is certain to grow.
The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) issued guidance this morning regarding public gatherings and meetings (https://tinyurl.com/qtvk5hu).
“Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person.”
These precautions are designed to safeguard our community and slow the spread of the virus. This is not a cure, but will hopefully slow the spread of the disease through our community so that our medical professionals and healthcare systems are not overwhelmed. We can deliver some of the best care in the world here, but the resources are not unlimited. So, a key consideration for us (your local healthcare community) is keeping the number of patients presenting at any one time manageable.
Effective today (3/12/20) @ 1200PM, in accordance with the directive from Cal OES and in recognition of the challenges we would face with maintaining the mandated Social Distancing requirements, Troop 4 will be postponing our in person meetings and gatherings until this pandemic event is contained or guidance has been changed.
As such we are postponing indefinitely our planned (1) New Parent Meeting for Sunday, (2) New Boy Patrol Meeting for Sunday and the (3) Eagle Scout Project Meeting for Monday. Additionally, we will be postponing all our other troop activities through the end of March in accordance with the CalOES guidance from this morning. We will be reassessing the situation daily and plan on updating everyone on a regular basis and as the situation requires.
So what can each of us do as part of the Scouting Community here in La Jolla? First, do not panic. I can’t reinforce this enough. This adage applies to when the airplane you are flying starts malfunctioning or when your patient comes in having a heart attack and it applies here. Take your pulse and think STOP like we teach our Tenderfoots when they are lost or confused…. Stay Calm, Think, Observe, and Plan.
So what does that look like you ask? You can think of your Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge to help you with this if you have already completed it, but additionally I want to share some of the really rock solid recommendations from our San Diego Public Health Department:
STORE a two-week supply of food, beverages, and water, including food for family pets. Ensure an adequate supply of prescribed and routine medications are on hand.
PLAN ways to care for those who are at greater risk for serious complications and who will take care of sick family members.
If you have family members with increased risk of getting seriously sick, CHECK with your medical providers about symptoms and treatment.
CREATE an emergency contact list of family and friends, teachers and employers.
Have a PLAN in case your school, childcare, or employer closes temporarily.
TALK with your children, family, and friends about what to do if an outbreak occurs and what each person would need.
Ensure they know what to do, such as STAYing home when sick and appropriately COVERing coughs and sneezes.
CLEAN surfaces frequently such as doorknobs and desktops.
Further, I would challenge you all to look around your neighborhoods and see if you have any elderly or less fortunate neighbors who might need some assistance with things as simple as gathering their 2-week supplies of goods or setting up Skype or FaceTime capabilities to help them stay in touch with family and friends in the coming days. All this while maintaining Social Distancing of 6 feet and universal precautions so as not to unnecessarily expose them or yourselves to the disease. As we say in medicine, “Above all, do no harm.”
As Dr. Richman discussed on Tuesday evening, the world has seen multiple pandemics in the last 100 years. The SARS-CoV2 organism is different and the COVID-19 disease it causes is new, but we should draw on the lessons from the outbreaks of yesterday to help us navigate today’s scare. Even more importantly use the lessons we learn today to help us prepare for the challenges we are certain to face tomorrow. In essence I think our response should draw upon and embody the Spirit of Scouting.
We should all stay abreast of the rapidly evolving science regarding this disease and the guidance that our fine Public Health Department publishes. So I would ask that you bookmark the following web pages and review them regularly to stay informed.
San Diego County Department of Public Health
California Department of Public Health
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Knowledge and enlightenment are the flames which ward away the darkness and panic of ignorance. We in Troop 4 are very fortunate to have so many parents involved in healthcare in our community, so if you have any questions, we ask you to send them to us and allow us to use your questions to enlighten everyone and make these days a little less dark.
Where others may panic and rush to hoard water and TP, it is my hope that you, our Scouts and families, will “Be Prepared” and show others what a calm and collected response in the face of uncertainty looks like. It is for challenges like the very one we face today that the Scouting Program is designed to prepare you, our Scouts. So, I look forward to seeing us rise to the occasion and overcome this challenge.
Dr. Peter Park (Scoutmaster), Mr. Emmet Holden (Committee Chair) and Mr. Ted Padula (Charter Organization Representative)