May 12, 2020
It's one thing to talk the talk.
But in the San Fernando Valley, I've seen with my own eyes that we are committed to protecting our frontline workers, and supporting each other through this COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the beginning, my office has been checking in with organizations and institutions throughout our district. And while hospice workers are a critical component of our healthcare system, they can be often overlooked. We quickly learned that several small providers in our region were having to resort to wearing trash bags, and desperately needed Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to enable them to safely serve their clients.
We knew we had to do everything we could to find these necessary resources.
That's why, as part of a unique collaboration with BizFed - including all 39 Los Angeles County state legislators, LA County, the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Los Angeles Locals - last Friday, we helped coordinate the donation of more than 1000 PPE gowns to the Maximum Care Hospice Center and SEIU Local 2015. These gowns are going directly to nursing home staff, caretakers and those who need it the most.
So much of what you've done has already helped so many. But we still have a long way to go, so join me and my team, and please continue to give back any way you can.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions via this link.
- Bob Hertzberg
HEALTH AND SAFETY
ROADMAP TO RECOVERY
With fewer new cases, numbers indicate that the Stay-At-Home orders are helping slow the spread of COVID-19. But as more people become anxious to leave home, Public Health officials have now put out an updated roadmap to recovery.
Here is the latest update in Valley Cases: The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 6,173 cases of COVID-19 in the San Fernando Valley. That is an additional 656 cases since last reported. The three neighborhoods in the Valley with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to be North Hollywood (481), Sylmar (480), and Van Nuys (442).
DMV OPENS TWENTY-FIVE FIELD OFFICES ON A LIMITED BASIS
The DMV has opened select field offices to serve customers who require in-person visits for their transactions. The offices will be open at a limited capacity from Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Employees will be practicing social distancing, and will have cleaning products readily available. Customers will be mandated to wear face-coverings and may experience longer wait times (the number of those let inside will be limited). Transactions that can be completed in these offices include but are not limited to; reinstating a suspended or revoked driver's license, paying for commercial driver's transactions, applying for a reduced fee or no-fee identification card, and more.
Here in the Valley, the Arleta DMV is one of the twenty-five offices that have opened. The entire list can be found here.
Unless a particular transaction requires an in-person visit, the DMV encourages you to continue to use the online services available through the Virtual Field Office. Other offices will open in phases in the near future.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
STRONGER WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS TO HELP THOSE DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19 WHILE ON THE JOB
Employees that contracted COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive extended workers' compensation benefits. Under the Governor's Executive Order issued last week, workers diagnosed with COVID-19 and who meet certain conditions will be presumed to have contracted the virus at the workplace. This applies to the tens of thousands of Californians who have had work outside of their homes during the Stay-At-Home order. For a complete overview of COVID-19 benefits and Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
LA CITY COUNCIL STRENGTHENS RENTER PROTECTIONS
A new city ordinance prohibits landlords from making eviction threats during the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords are currently prohibited from evicting tenants who are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. But tenants' rights groups report that landlords are posting eviction notices, and demanding that tenants pay rent using their Federal Stimulus Check. This new ordinance gives tenants a tool to use against landlord harassment.
Landlords that are not in compliance with the ordinance could potentially face lawsuits from tenants, with damages of up to $10,000, or $15,000 for tenants that are elderly or disabled tenants.
For more information on the ordinance, please contact your LA City Council office here or read more here. If you are a tenant or a landlord in the City of Los Angeles, and have questions about your rights during COVID-19, please contact the Housing and Community Investment Department here or call (866) 557-7368.
BUCKLEY STUDENT CREATES QUILT TO HONOR THOSE LOST TO COVID-19
Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt (1985), Madeleine Fugate is making a "COVID Quilt" to honor those who have died from COVID-19. The 7th grader from the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks says she is planning for the COVID Quilt to be displayed publicly as a living memorial.
As part of her school's Community Action Project (CAP), Madeleine needs thousands of quilt squares. She says it must be completed by the end of the school year.
"The 8x8 individual quilt squares can be anything that makes the person real, so they are not just numbers in the news," explained Madeleine.
Although a rapid response will help get the first panels of the quilt made in time to meet the school project deadline, Madeleine's ambitious idea does not end there. She hopes to continue the project and honor every person who died of COVID-19. Visit CovidQuilt2020 for more information, including how to donate quilt squares.
"WE SOAR" - LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS CELEBRATED ONLINE
COVID-19 school closures may have impacted all students, but seniors are particularly inconvenienced by the truncated school year. They are missing proms, various upperclassmen activities, and most importantly, graduation ceremonies.
That's why LAUSD has created a new dedication site called "We Soar" – a place to honor nearly 30,000 graduates with videos highlighting individual seniors and their accomplishments.
Several district schools have posted videos, including: North Hollywood High, Panorama High School, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, Sun Valley Magnet School, Grant High School and Chatsworth High School, among others. Take a moment to check out the videos, and help celebrate the amazing Class of 2020.
NEW FRESHMAN DIGITALLY SHARE COLLEGE PRIDE
While the COVID-19 pandemic has halted in-person festivities for students entering college in the fall, they can still celebrate their accomplishments. LA Cash for College and Unite LA encourage newly-admitted college students to share their college pride by posting a photo or selfie in honor of May's college signing month. Incoming freshman should post a picture of themselves wearing a college shirt or their college colors with the hashtags #SigningDaySelfie, #CollegeSigningMonth, #ReachHigher, and #BetterMakeRoom, and tag @lacashforcollege and @unite_la on social media so they can share their story.
Unite LA also has a program connecting students to resources that will help them overcome pandemic-related challenges to enrollment.
REMEMBER, WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER
We have revised these updates to focus on issues important to the San Fernando Valley during the COVID-19 outbreak: health and safety, jobs and the economy, and Valley life. We appreciate your feedback. 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