To the People of Santa Ana,
Today the OC Health Care Agency for the first time released the number of COVID-19 cases for each individual city in Orange County. OC Health reported 13 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Santa Ana, out of 321 cases countywide.
The fact that COVID-19 is in Santa Ana should not come as a surprise. We have seen the number of confirmed cases countywide rise rapidly over the past two weeks as the virus has spread across the United States and around the world. Nor should this news be a cause for panic or a reason to think that those living in Santa Ana are at greater risk of contracting the disease than they were before.
OC Health emphasized that the data released today reflects where those diagnosed with COVID-19 live but does not necessarily reflect where transmission occurred. They also said the city-level numbers shouldn’t be seen as an indication of where the disease is geographically centered.
There are still many unknowns, of course. The case counts don’t necessarily mean these are the only people with the disease in each city, because OC Health prioritizes testing for those at greatest risk or who are most sick.
So what does this all mean?
For one, knowing exactly how many confirmed cases are in Santa Ana helps us all stay informed about the impact this global pandemic is having on members of our own community. I hope this news will encourage everyone to recognize that COVID-19 is a real threat and that we must take the guidance of our health officials seriously.
I know you are all making great sacrifices during this unprecedented crisis – including jobs and income, important activities, education and simply your own personal sense of freedom and well-being. Yet we all must change our habits if we are going to overcome this together.
Thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands regularly, especially before eating and after touching surfaces in public places. Sanitize and clean your home and anything you bring into it. Stay home as much as possible and don’t go to work unless you are in an essential industry or government agency. Non-essential businesses are required to close under the Governor’s executive order, and restaurants can only serve food for take-out or delivery.
Importantly, don’t congregate in groups, keep a 6-foot distance from others and don’t shake hands or make personal contact. It is essential to heed this advice in order to safeguard you and your loved ones, particularly the elderly and others who are at greater risk of serious illness.
The City Council this month declared a local emergency in order to implement numerous measures to protect public health, following the mandates and guidance of State and County health officials. We have closed municipal buildings and many outdoor facilities such as skate parks, and we are urging everyone to follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Some City employees have been sent home, but many are still working to provide essential services to our constituents, including police and fire services, road repairs, street sweeping, trash collection and graffiti removal.
The City Council also has taken steps to shield our residents and businesses from the economic impacts of the pandemic as much as possible. We waived street sweeping tickets so that those who are following the stay-at-home order won’t be cited if they don’t move their cars during sweeping hours. That ticket suspension has been extended through April 30. We’ve also waived late fees on City-provided services and stopped all shut-offs for City-provided utilities.
Additionally, we enacted a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and foreclosures during the state of emergency so that no one will be forced from their home or business during this crisis. We’re also allowing businesses to pay their business license annual tax that’s due this month later without additional penalties or interest.
To help the people of Santa Ana stay afloat and eventually get back on their feet, we’ve been working diligently to educate the public about all of these measures and the supportive resources available to them locally and at the County, State and Federal levels. For example, the Santa Ana WORK Center is an important City and multi-agency resource that provides guidance for those who need to file for unemployment, find work or seek other career support.
The countywide and city-level data is available on the OC Health Care website at www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus. OC Health said the total case counts and city counts will be updated every afternoon.
You can find information about the latest COVID-19 news, City services and links to resources on our website at www.santa-ana.org/covid19. There you will also find videos from me providing regular updates about COVID-19.
To receive regular news updates and urgent alerts, sign up for the Nixle.com alert service and follow City of Santa Ana and the Santa Ana Police Department. Join Nextdoor.com to connect with your neighborhood and community and to receive announcements from the City. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @CityofSantaAna.
Thank you and please stay home and stay safe. We will overcome this challenge together.
Miguel A. Pulido