Published: March 30, 2020 at 9:40 AM
It is hard to believe that we are embarking on Day 13 of the County’s
Shelter in Place Order. This Health Order requires that most people stay
home unless they are engaged in certain “Essential Activities.”
This is a critical intervention to reduce harm from the spread of
the coronavirus in our community. You can find out more about the Health
Order here: https://socoemergency.org/order-of-the-health-officer-shelter-in-place/.
As County employees, we have
experienced more than our share of emergencies and I am always amazed at the
passion, dedication and selflessness of our workforce. Every time we are
called upon to stand up and take these challenges head on, you all respond with
such grace and compassion. I am very proud to be part of the County
As of March 27, we had 1,530
employees working from home on essential services, along with another 1,740
performing essential functions working in their offices or the field.
That represents over 76% of our workforce actively supporting services to the
community. In addition, we have approximately 745 employees available to
be deployed as Disaster Service Workers.
As we know, this emergency is very
different than the emergencies we have dealt with in the past. There is a
lot of fear in our community, our nation and the world. Yet, it is
important to remember that our community has the ability to change the course
of this pandemic at the local level through staying home and practicing social
distancing. As County employees, we are essential workers under the
Public Health Order. We are actively promoting telework for County
employees who are able to perform essential work remotely. For those of
us that need to come into county facilities or be deployed out in the community,
it is critical that you practice the guidance provided by the Center for
Disease Control (CDC):
- Social distancing
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning
spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the
bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or
I wanted to share with County
employees that I expect the Public Health Officer to issue an extension to the
Shelter in Place Order early this week. Currently, the local Public
Health Order has an end date of April 7. Our local Public Health Order is
generally consistent with the Governor’s Order; however, the Governor’s order
has no end date. Last week, the local school districts announced that
schools would be closed through May 1st.
We know that the extended closure of
schools impacts many of our employees. On March 18, 2020, the President
signed and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the Act’s
provisions take effect April 1, 2020. The Act makes changes to
FMLA. One significant change relates to leave time for parents who have
childcare needs as a result of school, daycare or caregiver closures. Human
Resources will send out additional information about the Act as well as other
important leave and pay information this week. Please stay in contact with your
supervisor and check the Employee Resources page on the County website for
In closing and in honor of tomorrow’s
recognition of Cesar Chavez, I wanted to leave you with a quote that I thought
was especially poignant:
“History will judge societies and governments and their institutions,
not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but
by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”
Please take care of yourselves and
your loved ones!