Life has changed drastically for all of us in the past week. We’re working from home, often on laptops, meetings are now being conducted by tele- or video conference, and the phrases “social distancing,” “shelter in place” and “stay at home” are part of our community vocabulary. It’s a frenetic time as we work to get information, craft solutions, advocate, share best practices and do our best to protect our citizens. It’s also a time when we see the best in humanity.
Unfortunately, managing crises is nothing new for County leaders. Just in the past few years we have experienced severe drought, devastating wildfires, flooding and debris flows, as well as public safety power shutoffs. #SBStrong, #SonomaStrong, #VenturaStrong, #ButteStrong and others have now become #CaliforniaStrong as the entire state comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19.
It is heartening to me that a state built through a series of pioneering and entrepreneurial spirits is coming together to protect and ensure the common good. Millions of Californians are putting aside their own desires to flatten the curve and protect the health of our most vulnerable residents. This is uplifting, and more can and needs to be done.
The latest data show the Coronavirus mortality rate in the U.S. is doubling every four days. Although raw numbers in California remain relatively low, the rate of increase foreshadows exponential increases, like were seen in Italy, if significant actions like “Stay at Home” and “Social Distancing” aren’t taken seriously and enacted by everyone, immediately. A beautiful weekend sent people flocking to parks, coastlines and beaches, putting public health and safety at risk. As a result, Governor Newsom has closed all state parking lots to deter large groups of people. A number of counties are considering similar actions, or have already followed suit. #CaliforniaStrong requires compliance if we want avoid more devastating impacts to our communities.
As scary as the latest statistics and headlines may be, there are many bright lights throughout our Counties. Dedicated county workers are leading the charge, working in hospitals and medical clinics, procuring masks, ventilators and readying hospital beds. They’re providing the essential life services that keep California going, while we are continuing to work with our State and Federal partners to provide flexibility and funding to keep our communities intact. So while we’re rallying around the statewide mission of #CaliforniaStrong, we want to highlight and celebrate the hard work and sacrifices of California Counties and add #CACountyStrong to the slogans we share.
On behalf of the Officers and everyone at CSAC, please know we are committed to supporting our County Family. Please reach out with your questions and your concerns. Let us know what’s working for your counties and what your needs are. We will continue to communicate these concerns during our daily conversations with Governor Newsom’s administration and our Federal partners. As we settle into the interim alternative structure of day to day life, take time to breathe, take a walk outside (with appropriate social distancing) and connect with a friend or loved one across town or across the country through social media or a phone call.
Through adversity we become more resilient, and we are confident we can all come together #CaliforniaStrong and #CACountyStrong.