March 17, 2020
Neighbors and Friends,
These are challenging days, and there will be more ahead. We're doing all we can to help the nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers on the front lines of this crisis.
At the same time, I want to make sure that everyone in the San Fernando Valley gets the information and support they need. I'm especially concerned about our seniors and others who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
With these regular updates, we hope to keep you informed about how our communities are addressing this outbreak, the services available, and suggestions to help keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe. If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send an email for follow-up by my staff.
If anyplace knows how to handle a crisis, it's the San Fernando Valley. We know that times can be hard, but we also know that challenges like these can bring out the very best in us. Let's remember, we're all in this together. — Bob Hertzberg
FIRST CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
Los Angeles County Public Health Department has identified confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Northridge, Sherman Oaks and Encino. Officials reported a countywide total Monday of 94 cases, and of these, at least 15 likely due to community transmission. "We are seeing a significant increase in cases and evidence of community spread as more testing occurs," said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. "We are implementing more social distancing requirements and we expect everyone to do their part." To see the breakdown of cases by city go to https://publichealth.lacounty.
LEGISLATURE TO ADDRESS EMERGENCY FUNDING
Lawmakers met Monday to consider setting aside $500 million to address the COVID-19 state emergency. Funds are expected to be used to lease and activate two hospitals, provide hotel beds for people experiencing homelessness, support local government efforts to reduce spread of COVID-19 among the homeless, buy hospital and public health surge equipment, assist hospitals and nursing homes, clean child care facilities so they remain open; and fund teams to support seniors during isolation. The Legislature is also expected to consider a measure providing $100 million to help schools address the emergency.
GOVERNOR CALLS FOR HOME ISOLATION OF SENIORS
Governor Gavin Newsom has called for those who are 65 or older and those with chronic conditions to isolate in their homes as they face the greatest risk from COVID-19. He also requested that visitation of patients in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, senior and assisted living homes be for "end of life" only.
VALLEY MEAL SITES FOR SENIORS CLOSED, MEAL DISTRIBUTION STARTING
While meal sites are closed effective Monday, packaged and frozen meals will be distributed at sites for older adults at some locations. See here for a map with detailed plans for each meal site. The Congregate Meal Program at the ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center, Canoga Park Senior Center and the Owensmouth Gardens Dining Center will hand out meals from noon to 1 pm. Learn more by calling (213) 482-7252 or at https://aging.lacity.org/
LOS ANGELES PARKS CLOSING ALL SENIOR CITIZEN CENTERS
Senior citizen centers are closed at all Los Angeles parks and recreation facilities. Dining centers for older adults will be contacting participants to provide information regarding meal distribution at the dining centers. Home delivered meals will continue to be delivered. Older adults can contact the centers they participate at directly or reach the LA City Department of Aging at (213) 482-7252.
SENIOR FOOD BANK OPEN TUESDAY
ONEgeneration will provide food bank service at 1 pm on Tuesday. Please call their main office at (818) 705-2345, or learn more at https://www.onegeneration.org
LAUSD TO OPEN FAMILY RESOURCE CENTERS WEDNESDAY
Starting Wednesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District will open family resource centers weekdays from 6 am to 6 pm. While locations and details are still being finalized, several will be in the San Fernando Valley, providing supervised places where children can learn, receive a meal, and engage with peers. Space will be limited, and the centers will carry out recommended public health measures, including social distancing, and checking the temperatures of children who attend. LAUSD will establish some grab and go locations for food distribution. For additional information go to www.lausd.net or call (213) 443-1300.
CA ATTORNEY GENERAL ISSUES PRICE-GOUGING ALERT
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued a price gouging alert. Under Penal Code Section 396, price gouging is illegal in all California communities during the declared state of emergency. California law prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations, and rental housing. Exceptions to this prohibition exist if the price of labor, goods, or materials has increased for the business. You can report price gouging to the Attorney General's office at (800) 952-5225 or https://oag.ca.gov/consumers. More information is available here.
MAYOR ISSUES MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS
Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered a moratorium on evictions of residential tenants who demonstrate an inability to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include loss of income due to a COVID-19 related workplace closure, child care expenditures due to school closures, health care expenses related to being ill with COVID-19 or caring for a household member who is ill with COVID-19, or reasonable expenditures that stem from government-ordered emergency measures. Tenants will have up to six months to repay any back due rent. Learn more at: https://www.lamayor.org
STATE TAX FILING DEADLINE EXTENSION FOR CORONAVIRUS RELIEF
State Controller Betty Yee announced that individual taxpayers, partnerships and LLCs will now have until June 15 to file their tax returns and pay any taxes owed. Those who have quarterly estimated payments due on April 15 will now also have until Jun 15 to make those payments. Taxpayers filing under this extended deadline relief should note "Coronavirus" on top of the tax return. The Franchise Tax Board will also waive interest, late filing, and late penalty fees. Learn more at www.ftb.ca.gov.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, DISABILITY, AND PAID FAMILY LEAVE
The California Employment Development Department has developed guidelines for those who are ill, caring for sick family members, or whose job has been disrupted by the Coronavirus. The guidelines address quarantine-related reduction of hours, missing work due to school closure-related childcare needs, and work loss due to age/underlying health-related isolation, among others. Learn more at https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_
PROTECTING YOUR COMMUNITY AND THE ONES YOU LOVE
Everyone has a role to play. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense things you learned as a kindergartner:
- Washing hands with soap and water.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Follow guidance from public health officials.
- It is also important that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call their health care provider first before seeking medical care.
- Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
REMEMBER, WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER
If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. And please connect with me on Facebook and Twitter as my office continues to provide more information regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Representing the San Fernando Valley, CA District 18