City Council discusses pandemic recovery for infants and older adults

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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By Katherine Simpson
Express Correspondent

The Winters City Council heard presentations from the Senior Commission on Aging and from First 5 Yolo at their regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 21. Both presentations focused on how the city can address the needs of two vulnerable populations—new babies and older adults—as a part of pandemic recovery efforts.

Commission on Aging
New chairperson Glenn Ripley presented the commission’s one year plan looking forward to the next year. The senior commission plans to formally adopt their goals, based on its charter, within the next two months, Ripley said.

“It’s a pretty crowded charter and a little overwhelming, but our initial response to that is to begin developing a comprehensive legislative platform that we would hope to be able to bring back to you,” said Ripley.

Ripley emphasized the importance of the work of the senior commission within the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “We really feel a responsibility to be in touch with the senior community, and to kind of overcome the challenges that are still ongoing with the Delta variant in terms of how we can do that,” Ripley said.

As a part of their goals, the senior commission hopes to publish a resource guide for local seniors in both English and Spanish by the end of November this year. Ripley also said that the commission hopes to place it on a regular publication schedule, so it would become an updated resource for local seniors.

The commission also hopes to have established a set of metrics in order to assess their ability to serve unmet needs and create standards of services by July 2022.

“I’m a big advocate of measuring and metrics,” Ripley said. “You can talk in generalities, all day long but if you really want to make substantive progress, it helps to have a set framework and a set of items that you’re going to measure and then we say OK, these are the key measures.”

The senior commission is still at work preparing the Senior Center.

Welcome Baby Program
The council also passed a letter of support for First 5 Yolo’s “Welcome Baby Program.” The program aims to support families in Yolo County by addressing stress and promoting resiliency, “as early as the birth of the child…through the next three years of COVID-19 recover.”

“When we see an increase in low birth weight births and extremely high risk pregnancies both medically and socially high risk, and two and three pregnant women clinically depressed, that’s an immense concern for the effect on the child,” said councilmember Jesse Loren. She presented the proposal, which passed unanimously.

The program will use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding in order to provide home visits by medical professionals within the first week of returning home from the hospital and two by community healthcare workers in the following weeks. These visits will be available to all babies born in Yolo County over the duration of the ARP. Visits may include health screenings for both baby and mother, lactation support, and may lead to referrals to other community resources as needed.

The letter of support will be sent to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

Other Measures
Measures to purchase a replacement vehicle for the Public Works Wastewater Division, approving the final map for Winters Highlands Three Oaks Park, and awarding a construction contract to WM Lyles Company for improvements to the Wastewater Treatment facility passed unanimously.

The council also heard presentations from the Senior Commission on Aging regarding their annual plan and approved a proposal from First 5 Yolo.

The council deferred hearing updates on two pending zoning and housing related bills. The council plans to hear an update provided that the Governor signs the bills by Oct. 10.

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