COVID-19 strike team arrives in Central Valley to start assessing the gaps in resources

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — On Monday, the COVID strike team assigned by the governor arrived in Fresno County has arrived in the Central Valley. 

The state officials met with local public health officials to identify where they can do the most good.

The meeting started in the morning and went on throughout the day and is expected to continue on Tuesday.

But those we spoke with say the first day was all about planning a strategy to turn back the epidemic.

The Central Valley getting an intervention after Governor Newsom says it continues to be a hot-spot for COVID-19.

“This slide underscores the concerns you’re starting to see the hospitalizations and ICU rates increase not just positivity rates in the Valley outpacing the rest of California,” Newsom said.

The strike team, also known as the Unified Support Team, arrived in Fresno to start assessing the gaps in resources.

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias was on hand to meet them. He says the migrant community needs help fast.

“We’re asking that essential front-line workers like farmworkers and those working in meatpacking plants be treated the same way like we treat doctors, police officers, and firefighters,” Arias said.

Arias says right now if police officers, firefighters, or city employees get sick with COVID-19, they get a hotel room and they get paid time off to self-quarantine.

But says field workers mostly fend for themselves.”They’re not getting the same level of support and relief to stay home and they’re not given test that’s accessible to them,” Arias said.

This was just one vital topic discussed during the meeting. 

The strike team is not military but made up of social services, the Ag labor relations board, Cal OSHA, Cal OES and more.

They also discussed resources needed for the homeless, low-income families and others vulnerable to COVID-19.

Newsom says the strike team is modeled on assets sent to Imperial County when the pandemic was surging there. Now the state hot-spot is our own backyard and deciding on how to use resources is key.

“The question that they are resolving over the next couple days is how that $52 million will be used as well as how the county $82 million and the City’s $92 million can be used in combination to provide essential workers the relief that they need,” Arias said.

The state and local officials are expected to start hammering out those details on Tuesday.

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