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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 20th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 12 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 12

Political Watch: May 21, 2020

• Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a May 12 press release that the state has so far administered more than 1 million COVID-19 tests. Daily testing now averages at more than 35,000 across the state, an increase attributed to more than 80 new, community-based testing sites throughout California. Three of those are now operational in Santa Barbara County—in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara. “Ramping up our testing capacity is critical as we begin modifying our stay-at-home order,” Newsom said in the release. “Soon Californians will be able to get tested when they pick up their prescriptions at some pharmacies across the state.” As stated in the governor’s Resilience Roadmap, regional testing and contact-tracing capacities are key indicators of the ability to move through the gradual phases of reopening.

• On May 11, Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) and some North Santa Barbara County elected leaders, including Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne and Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino, sent a letter to the California Department of Public Health asking the state to separate Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 case count from the Lompoc federal prison’s. “In order for Santa Barbara County to move into the latter half of the state’s phase two,” a press release from Cunningham’s office states, “it must have less than one new COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents over 14 days. However, if the cases at the federally controlled prison are counted, it could take weeks for Santa Barbara County to meet that threshold.” The letter emphasizes that the prison is controlled federally and is not within the county’s jurisdiction to manage the outbreak there. “The outbreak only occurred at this magnitude because of FBP’s [Federal Bureau of Prisons’] failure to act in a timely manner,” the letter states. “In short, the failure to contain this virus lies totally at the feet of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, not the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health.”

• Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), State Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), and U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), came together on May 13 for a town hall teleconference to discuss and answer questions about phase two of the county’s reopening. The conference touched on child care, retirement care facilities, and the impact on small businesses. “We have to be very careful of the fact that this virus is no more contained today than it was when it broke out two months ago,” Jackson told the Sun before the teleconference. “We have to emphasize the importance of being thoughtful and cautious, and recognize that protecting human life is our primary responsibility. That being said, it is important that we try to minimize the risk of exposure while we try to gradually, thoughtfully, and rationally expand the opportunities for people to engage in commerce.”

• On May 12, House Democrats introduced The HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act, a $3 trillion coronavirus response bill that targets relief toward state, local, territorial and tribal governments; hazard pay for essential workers; coronavirus testing; and a second round of economic impact payments of $1,200 per family member. U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) supported the bill on Facebook, writing, “This bold plan ensures we take care of our workers, small businesses, families, and make necessary investments in our economy to ensure a full recovery from the coronavirus.” 








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