County of Fresno Response to California’s COVID-19 Mitigation Measures

A message from:

Jean Rousseau, Fresno County Administrative Officer;

David Pomaville, Director, Fresno County Department of Public Health;

Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Health Officer, County of Fresno

In response to the continued surge of COVID-19 cases throughout Fresno County, the State of California, and much of the country, California has again imposed strict measures to help curb the increases and protect public health and safety from this dangerous virus.

In Fresno County we are again faced with the closure of schools and businesses, continued economic hardships, and a challenged healthcare system working tirelessly to keep up with the demands of this typically taxing time of year compounded by a growing influx of COVID-19.

As the pandemic stretches on into yet another month of restrictions and health orders, it has long been exhausting. It’s emotional. It’s overwhelming, stressful, and frustrating.

Many families and teachers are struggling to navigate the uncharted waters of distance learning to deliver an education to our children. Others are challenged by the continued isolation and separation from loved ones. And while we continue our efforts to offer support and resources for our struggling business community in any way that we can, we recognize that the hardships brought by continued restrictions and closures for many are becoming too overwhelming to overcome.

The County has been hard at work all year doing our best to provide the information, tools and necessary resources to all corners of our community to help educate and provide protective measures that will help keep people safe and return our whole community to a state of normalcy.

The work and measures being taken are not arbitrary actions of an overbearing, anonymous government entity. Rather these are the thoughtful and reasoned actions of fellow community members with expertise in healthcare, science, and public safety, charged to make these difficult decisions and implement measures that can protect against threats like COVID-19.

None of these decisions are taken lightly. Stay at home orders, school closures, business closures, isolation and all that continues to accompany the response to COVID-19 is not what anyone wants, and the impacts affect everyone.

However, it’s important to realize that without these types of measures in place and in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, the impacts of an unchecked pandemic beyond what they have already been would be tragically exponential.

Despite our personal feelings, we all share in our responsibility to maintain effective safety measures to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our coworkers and our community from further spread of COVID-19.

If we want our kids back in school and businesses to open back up, we all need to wear masks to prevent further spread and drop our case numbers down.

If we want to get back to traditional celebrations, large family gatherings and regular church services, we all must continue to practice social distancing and virtual alternatives to prevent further outbreaks.

If we want sports and entertainment options for our kids, ourselves and our community, we all must maintain good hygiene practices to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

If we want a healthcare system and public safety workforce back to full strength, we all must stay home if we feel sick so that we stop exposing others, particularly those most vulnerable, to this devastating virus.

There is understandably some uncertainty about enforcement of this new mandate. Considering that Fresno County is more than 6,000 square miles with a population of more than 1,000,000 people, it is unrealistic to task code enforcement and public safety officials numbering in the hundreds with monitoring curfew requirements, business practices, mask usage and private family gatherings across this expanse in addition to their standard duties to protect life and safety.

However, this does not absolve us of our individual and collective responsibility to take these measures seriously and practice them for the benefit of our whole community. It will take us all working together to turn the corner on this pandemic.

In the meantime, our hospitals, critical care facilities, trauma centers, and the rest of the emergency medical care system are experiencing extraordinary burdens as a result of direct and indirect effects of this ongoing pandemic.

Make no mistake: we are at a critical, and hopefully final, stage in a war against a microscopic enemy that has substantially disrupted our lives, our traditions, and our livelihoods. We may disagree about how best to beat this virus, but we need to recognize that we are on the same team, united against a common enemy. So, let’s finish strong, Fresno County!

We must come together, act together, and work together at this critical point. Our choices now will help to determine our path moving forward and allow us to recover as quickly as possible. Working together and making safety our top priority will help get our kids back in school, open our businesses, get our economy back on track and, most importantly, help save the lives of those we love.

For more info: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/

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