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Parris urges citywide unity in fight against coronavirus


There are a total of 280 COVID-19 cases in Lancaster. As cases continue to rise, we are certain that the Lancaster community will be able to stand strong and get through this together.

Since the pandemic began, all of us have struggled with a wide range of painful emotions: anxiety, grief, fear, extreme stress, you name it. And for many of us, myself included, they’ve been harder and stronger than we expected.

What has helped me the most over the last month is remembering that we are not powerless. We just have to endure being uncomfortable, and know our families will be safe. I don’t like wearing the mask as much as you do, but we know that if everyone wears a mask and follows simple rules most people will avoid this disease. I also take solace in remembering that all discomfort ends, and this too will end.

We also know that we can’t close down the country forever, so we need to learn new ways of living and working with each other. In accordance with the federal government’s “Opening Up America Again” plan issued by President Trump on April 16, Lancaster is poised to implement phase one of this program as soon as it is safe to do so.

The city meets the criteria outlined in the plan including a flat trajectory of positive tests within a 14 day period. Our hospital’s ability to treat all patients without crisis care and a testing program is in place for at-risk healthcare workers. In addition, throughout the city, testing sites are in place for the general public and we have the ability to support them with PPE and critical medical equipment to handle any surge should the need arise. The city will continue monitoring conditions and take immediate steps to limit and mitigate any infection rebounds should the environment necessitate it.

Considering the current status, Lancaster is working with Los Angeles County to evaluate what industries may resume services to the public in support of our local economy, businesses and community members. Businesses will need to develop, implement, and adhere to Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and remain informed on industry best practices including: social distancing and protective equipment, temperature checks, sanitation, disinfection of common and high-traffic areas and minimize travel.

When information and specific details on what industries will be included in phase one becomes available, it will be shared with the community. We are hopeful to share this week.

During the pandemic, people are taking necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus like washing their hands, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, wearing face coverings, and practicing social distancing. This is all necessary to keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe and healthy.

It is just as important to visit the hospital when you are feeling ill or experiencing a medical problem. Hospitals are safe to visit! Unfortunately, it is a misconception that hospitals should be avoided. Due to this, we are seeing residents who are waiting too long to seek treatment for life-threatening emergencies. Remember Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you are experiencing any life-threatening symptoms, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

AVH has done a great job at taking proper steps to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the hospital by separating COVID-19 patients from others, wearing proper protective equipment, and frequently sanitizing.

If you are in need of medical care, do not be afraid to seek it. Our hospitals are safe, sanitary, and will provide you the best care possible amidst this pandemic.