Coronavirus: State Sen. Bill Dodd, Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan: Coming together to fight this pandemic
By Sen. Bill Dodd and Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan (Times~Herald)
We face unprecedented change in Vallejo as we pause our normal lives in response to coronavirus.
Economic uncertainty looms as businesses shut down and workers stay home to slow the spread. Parents experience the daunting challenge of home-schooling kids. And there is widespread fear about what infection could mean to loved ones. Sadly, Solano County recently suffered its first coronavirus deaths.
Which is why it’s so important that all levels of government come together to address the pandemic and its impact on public health and our economy. It something people across our state are already doing by social distancing and sheltering in place. Early indicators suggest California’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus in this way are working. We’re encouraged by what we see.
But we cannot let up. State and federal governments are helping doctors and hospitals deal with any surge in COVID-19 patients. We’re investing in more beds and equipment as well as testing to get a better handle on how the virus is being transmitted.
The city of Vallejo, as well as local groups, have stepped up, encouraging continued self-isolation to prevent more people from becoming ill. Donation drives have generated supplies of much-needed personal protective equipment such as masks. People are donating blood. And school campuses, which are closed until at least summer, are transitioning to online instruction.
Fortunately, the state, cities and the county have been prudent in years past with their own finances and have set aside rainy day funds for emergencies like this. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature are now devoting those resources to this crisis.
In addition to safeguarding public health, much attention is focused on the economic fallout. With the help of our own U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, a federal stimulus program is expected to get checks into the hands of all working Americans. Unemployment benefits have been streamlined to help people who lost jobs. A number of small business loans and grants are now available to help small companies weather closures.
Other welcome measures from Gov. Newsom include suspending all evictions of people who are out of work and cannot pay their rent. The DMV is extending the deadline to renew licenses and registrations for 60 days. In addition, an extension is now in place for filing state income taxes and resources are available to help impacted businesses and workers.
Of course, local government is the backbone of emergency response. We’re heartened by their resilience as agencies continue to provide services such as police and fire fighting — despite the enormous new financial burden. The state needs to continue to support local agencies, providing immediate assistance and resources on the long road to recovery.
We all must do our part though isolation and social distancing. Stay apart to stay together. This is especially important for people over 65 or those who are medically vulnerable. As always, follow official health guidance including frequent handwashing. If you become ill, call your doctor for advice before going to a hospital or medical office.
Make no mistake — this is a time of hardship. But if we follow the advice of medical experts and limit public contact, we will get through it. Vallejo has weathered disasters before, and we’ll get through this too as we always have — together.
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma,
Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.