SDPA Response to COVID-19:
On behalf of the Board, I hope this finds you healthy and well in these trying and uncertain times. I imagine that you, like me, are experiencing heightened anxiety as you are experiencing the global and local impact of the Coronavirus. Now more than ever, as psychologists, we are tasked with relying on our training and expertise to maintain level heads and to help calm our clients and community. In his podcast on Coronavirus Anxiety, Dr. Baruch Fischoff, Ph.D., an expert on public perception of risk and human judgment and decision making, notes that one reason our anxiety is so triggered is the lack of clear, accurate and trusted information. With that in mind, I would like to provide you with essential resources about COVID-19. I would also like to address questions and concerns that you may have about our Association’s plan for upcoming events. I hope this information helps you with decisions about protecting your health and safety and the health and safety of your clients.
As you may well know, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is caused by a novel form the Coronavirus. COVID-19 has been spreading worldwide, and the World Health Organization has officially declared the outbreak a Pandemic. Health organizations are still gathering information on the clinical course and immunology, and there is much we have yet to learn. COVID-19 cases have occurred throughout California, and without available testing, we do not have a reasonable estimate of the number of those who are potentially infected. As of March 5th, there were 53 positive cases in California, leading Govern Gavin Newsom to declare a State of Emergency. Fortunately, at the time of this writing, we have only had five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Diego.
A number of you have called with questions about whether we will be canceling any of our upcoming events. At this time, the California Department of Public Health has recommended caution or canceling of mass events of 250 or more. I have been in contact with other CPA Chapter presidents, and the chapter responses have varied depending on the area. At this time, in line with other Chapters, we will not hold any events of over 250 people. We will continue to consider events of under 100 attendees, taking into account variables such as maximum occupancy and social distancing strategies. For example, we will still hold our State of the Association Meeting on Saturday because there are under 20 registered. In contrast, due to social distancing limitations at the United Way offices, we have decided to exercise caution and reschedule the March 21st Trans 101 training, whose registration is at max capacity. Current registrants have been contacted by SDPA. Our committee chairs may also cancel committee events as they see fit, and we will keep you apprised of those decisions as they occur. Please note that Early Career Psychologists Committee (ECP) has cancelled their upcoming networking event on Thursday March 26th. Also, the organizers of 5th Annual Critical Issues in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference have canceled their event, scheduled for March 12th and 13th. The SDPA Board will continue to monitor COVID-19 in San Diego and will alert you to any changes in programming moving forward.
That said, I encourage you all to take whatever precautions you deem necessary to feel safe and to protect your health. If you are registered for an event and have any concerns about attending, we will arrange a refund. Please note the following advice from the California Department of Public Health
I wish you all the best and will keep you posted moving forward. I have provided links to helpful information below. If you have any questions and concerns, please let us know. We value your feedback!
Regards,Joseph Severino, PhD