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Davis, California

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award given to the City of Davis for COVID-19-related teamwork with Healthy Davis Together

City of Davis has been able to keep low COVID-19 infection rate due to testing and vaccination efforts

By SHRADDHA JHINGAN city@theaggie.org

The City of Davis announced “that it was awarded a Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award by the Institute for Local Government (ILG) for cross-agency collaboration for partnering with UC Davis on the Healthy Davis Together (HDT) project,” according to a news statement published on Oct. 22. The news statement said that “Healthy Davis Together helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the city and coordinated the gradual return of UC Davis students back into the community.”

Barbara Archer, the communications and customer service manager for the City of Davis, said that the Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award was given to the City of Davis at an online city council meeting.

“The award was given to the City virtually at the Nov. 2 City Council meeting,” Archer said via email. “Chancellor May joined the meeting for the award item.”

The news statement further explained what accomplishments such awards are highlighting. In California, 165 cities, special districts and counties take part in the Beacon Program which was created “to provide recognition and year-round support for California local agencies that are working to build more vibrant and sustainable communities.” Not only was Davis awarded the Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award, but so were three other cities in California. 

“The Innovation and Leadership Awards aim to celebrate local governments’ efforts to implement collaborative, inclusive and equitable climate resilience and adaptation programming,” the news statement reads. “In addition to the City of Davis, ILG recognized the cities of Fremont, Irvine, Truckee and Manhattan Beach with Beacon Leadership and Innovation Awards.”

Archer further highlighted what role the HDT initiative played, including the reopening of businesses, schools and more in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The initiative provided community outreach on testing, business-focused outreach and assistance, advertising to promote healthy behaviours, safe opening plans for businesses and schools and vaccine availability,” Archer said via email. 

A recording of the meeting at which the award was given to the City of Davis can be found online. Erica Manuel, the CEO and executive director of ILG presented the award to the city during the meeting.

“So this year, and the reason I’m here, is I’m so excited to announce that the City of Davis has actually won the inaugural award for Cross-Agency Collaboration in Climate Resilience and Adaptation for your work in the Healthy Davis Together initiative and partnership with UC Davis,” Manuel said at the meeting. 

Manuel added that when reviewing the applications, IG was “impressed by the way that the city and the university banded together to address an issue that is impacting community resilience.” With this partnership, the COVID-19 infection rate was less than 3%, lower than the state and region’s infection rates.

Mayor Gloria Partida also spoke at the meeting, recognizing the collaboration and its effects on the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This collaboration didn’t just benefit our city; it really did ripple out into the surrounding region and I’m very, very proud that UC Davis and the county and all of the stakeholders worked so well together and that we understood that this was really much bigger than the individuals,” Partida said at the meeting.

Chancellor Gary May also spoke at the meeting, where he recognized the Yolo County Public Health and Yolo County Leadership for their work. With this partnership, the infection rate was kept low, there were partnerships with 400 local businesses in Davis and around 40,000 students were able to return to campus. Chancellor May also stated that since HDT launched in September 2020, over 1 million asymptomatic PCR COVID-19 tests have been performed.

“It’s a wonderful moment to acknowledge our collective efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep the City of Davis and our campus healthy,” May said. “So I want to thank you — Erica Manuel — and the Institute for awarding Davis with this Beacon Leadership and Innovation Award. It’s really deeply gratifying to see this recognition of Healthy Davis Together.”

On-campus testing efforts have also been working efficiently, though at the start of the year, the lines were longer. However, with more stations and staff now, it has been a smooth process, according to Cindy Schorzman, the medical director of Student Health and Counseling Services at UC Davis. 

“On-campus testing efforts have been, overall, going very well,” Schorzman said via email. “We have an amazing team working at the testing kiosk at the ARC. We started the academic year testing everyone as they moved into their on-campus residence, and have been helping the entire campus community meet their testing requirements.”

Schorzman added that “students should be particularly proud” because of the high vaccination rate and the support with testing, vaccine and case investigation or contact tracing efforts.

Ultimately, as a result of all the work with HDT and testing and vaccination efforts, Davis has shown itself to be a role model for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our positivity rate on campus remains lower than our community, and our community remains lower than the surrounding area,” Schorzman said via email.

Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org

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