Yesterday morning, I participated in a White House briefing call with more than 5,000 other state, local, and tribal leaders regrading the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic. The purpose of the call was ostensibly to provide these leaders with an update on the federal government’s response to the outbreak, and to alert them of available resources.
White House officials began by stating that the call was off the record to the press, and asked any members of the press to disconnect—striking protocol for a briefing intended to provide critical information regarding an emergent public health crisis.
Little new information was provided beyond that already made public in news reporting and on the websites of federal agencies like the CDC, but we did learn that eligibility for coronavirus testing has finally been expanded to anyone with a doctor’s order, and that production of test kits has been ramped up to more than a million per week. I hope these moves will help make up for lost time.
Despite the frustrating shortage of new information, White House officials took time to repeatedly praise President Trump for what they characterized as his ‘unprecedented leadership’ in launching a ‘whole-of-government response.’
Corte Maderans, many of whom are rightly worried about the spread of COVID-19, deserve a more serious and credible response from the federal government in the face of this public health emergency. In the meantime, we will continue to work with County and State health officials as they move diligently to monitor, contain, and mitigate the outbreak.
At the local level, we stand ready to take direction from County and State health officials, and have proactively moved to cancel all non-essential Town-led meetings. We are currently exploring technological solutions that will allow residents to participate in local government (i.e. Town Council meetings) remotely and in real time.
We all have a role to play in slowing and ultimately stopping this outbreak. While young and healthy coronavirus patients often have mild or no symptoms, the virus can be extremely severe in older or immune-compromised individuals. To protect yourself and more vulnerable members of our community, please wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and practice social distancing.