Apr 21, 2020
by Elaine B. Holtz
The County of Sonoma has declared a local emergency to respond to COVID-19, for residents of Santa Rosa and all of Sonoma County. To support and help keep residents stay informed the county has launched the SoCo Emergency Preparedness website, https://socoemergency.org Included on the site is information on health orders and guidance along with updates by Supervisor Susan Gorin, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, who will provide video updates on the Corona virus and how Sonoma County is responding. You can view the videos on Sonoma County’s YouTube playlist: Sonoma Board Chair Corona virus Updates.
On the website there are a multitude of resources available including Health Officer Guidance on Face Coverings for general Public in All Age Groups, ideas On Foods and Meal Planning, Housing and Renter Support, County Services and its Limitations and suggestions on How You Can Help. There is a special section on mental health issues that address, Coping during the Corona Virus outbreak along with information on how to cope with stress and anxiety plus resources for families, parents and children and where to call if you need help.
Residents are encouraged to register on line for www.SoCoAlert.com or you can register by calling (866) 939-0911 and speak to a communications specialist to complete your registration. Once registered you can receive alerts that include Shelter In Place, Evacuations and much more. Due to the virus most dental care offices are only open for emergency dental care. In the video section there is an informative video by Dr. Anthony Fernandez, explaining when to seek emergency dental care and how to maintain dental health at home. Dr. Gina Bettita provides the same information in a Spanish video.
The Santa Rosa City Council waived Downtown Parking Fees temporarily for the Duration of the Shelter-in-Place Order www.srcity.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=890
The Santa Rosa Fire Department announced the expansion of their services to include a new Pandemic Response Unit – an additional effort to minimize potential Department and community exposure to the Corona Virus https://srcity.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=887
To find out what protocols have been put into place to help protect the department and the community go to https://srcity.org/3275/Santa-Rosa-Police-Department-COVID-19-FA
As of April 16 the Santa Rosa Police Department has tested 110 of its employees. The results were nine tested positive, eight have recovered and four are self-isolating due to age, pre-existing medical conditions and have traveled. Additionally, all of the cities latest COVID-19 news and updates are housed here: www.srcity.org/PreventTheSpread Things change rapidly so it is important to visit the websites for update information on a regular basis.
A special shout to Adriane Mertens | Chief Communications & Intergovernmental Relations Officer and Communications & Intergovernmental Relations Elise Howard | Communication Coordinator for providing me with the information I needed. Santa Rosa is working hard to make sure residents are informed and safe. We have come a long way since the fires and I want to thank all of you all for your efforts. We are in this together, the virus does not discriminate.
According to the S oCo Emergency website the seven-week quarantine is targeted to end for Sonoma County on May 3rd https://socoemergency.org/order-of-the-health-officer-shelter-in-place-extended . In light of all that is happening I thought it would be of interest to find out how residents and businesses have handled the challenge. Most people find physical separation from family and friends hard, however, calling a friend or two helps. For small to medium business the concerns are recovery, how to apply for loans and for those considered essential was making sure their employees are safe. Businesses that are open dramatically changed their hours of operation and the number of employees on board. Businesses are depending on programs like ZOOM and Facebook for business meetings and training.
“As with most businesses we have slowed down immensely, but at the same time we are grateful to be open and helping our customers with needed repairs”, said Susan Jensen co-owner of Economy Plumbing which is considered essential. Being concerned about the safety of her employees as well as the public when going into their homes, Plumbers are provided with hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and shoe booties for all service calls. As an extra precaution, the company’s dispatcher is screening customers to make sure they are not currently sick. As a multitude of businesses are doing they have applied for a business loan that the government is offering. To date the company is waiting to hear if they are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Kerry Fugett, Leadership Institute Program Manager for Daily Acts, whose Mission is to transform our communities through inspired action and education is now working at home and managing and presenting their eight-hour leadership course on line. One of her challenges, because there is no physical contact, is having their staff meetings on Zoom; however, she still feels a community connection. She receives inspiration from a quote by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s “Hope is something that you create, with your actions. Hope is something you have to manifest into the world, and once one person has hope, it can be contagious. Other people start acting in a way that has more hope.” Fugett sees this as an opportunity to slow down and deepen connections with family and friends. “I feel the pain of the disproportionate impact of COVID on our community and I hope through my daily actions, what I create will continue long into the future: connection with self, community and place,”
The Peace and Justice Center Executive Director, Shekeyna Black advised me the center is officially closed until further notice. Shekeyna is able to work from home and is utilizing Zoom for those special meetings. She wants folks to know that the Peace Press was not printed this month due to the crisis and invites people to go on line at www.pjcsoco.org and read it there. On their web page you can find information on how to make your own mask, find a link to Community Resources and sign up to be on the Center’s email list.. Shekeyna’s greatest challenge is not being able to meet people in person or do fundraising, “I am looking forward to this being behind us and stay connected with one another.”
“Even though I feel the blessing of being safe and supplied with all I need while I shelter in my home, the hardest thing is not being able to see my family, especially my grandchildren who are too young to understand what is going on,” Said Activist And Community organizer, Therese Mughannam who I believed summed it up for many of us. Therese has been concerned about her friends who live alone and has made an effort to reach out to them via phone which she reports is a wonderful experience. Her hope and prayer is that many in our world will return to the basics of what it is to be human — the loving and caring for each other, the kindness that we all need to give and to receive with every interaction. I believe most of us have that hope.
Something to think about:
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
— Dame Jane Morris Goodall born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall on 3 April 1934), formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, She is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees
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