A community in crisis looks to local government for help and relief

Posted on August 4, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Dear Councilmembers, Supervisors:

COVID-19 is a disaster, and as a community, we are feeling the impacts of the disaster, impacts that will only increase in the next few months. We look to our local government to provide disaster services, as it did during the fires, to meet the needs of the community and keep everyone safe.

We are seriously concerned that many people in Sonoma Valley, particularly in El Verano and The Springs, have no place to quarantine if they are sick with COVID-19. We are upset that the one place where they could get tested without a doctors order, has shut down.

To community volunteers providing services and support for frontline workers and their communities, it is extremely disturbing that we have nowhere to refer the sick friends and neighbors who are reaching out to us.

The county’s quarantine housing at SSU has closed. The drive-through testing done by the Community Health Center at the Sonoma Valley Hospital parking lot has ended July 31.

Sadly, we are receiving frantic phone calls from friends and neighbors, wondering where they can go to quarantine and who will feed their children if they do. Some people have been sent home from work after testing positive and abandoned to fend on their own.

Infection numbers in Sonoma Valley are rising. There have been multiple outbreaks in places of employment, and this trend will continue. The outbreak at Broadway Villa Post Acute, with both patients and staff infected and some dying, is just one example.

It’s no secret that many of the Valley’s essential workers — often Latino — are forced by low pay and high rent to live doubled up in small houses and apartments. They don’t have the ability to take time off from work if sick, or to quarantine away from the rest of the household.

We’re afraid that infections will begin to snowball and we will lose friends and neighbors, particularly the elderly. The coronavirus surge that is predicted for the fall coincides with back to school and the grape harvest.

Consequently, we request that the city and county together provide emergency shelter for those infected with COVID-19 who have no other place to quarantine, and to provide emergency support for testing, particularly in El Verano and The Springs.

Celeste Winders

Food for All/Comida para Todos

Dave Ransom

Sonoma Valley Housing Group

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