Locating tests and housing neighbors during virus threat

| April 1, 2020 | 0 Comments


The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has swiftly changed life across the world, including here at home in Los Angeles. As our healthcare workers courageously combat the virus day and night, many residents are now wondering what life looks like from here on out. Many are worried about their health and their loved ones, about how they’ll go to work or pay bills, and when we might see an end to this crisis.

I want to be clear: We will get through this pandemic together. Above all else, I am focused on protecting our community and our city, on procuring more testing so we can get more information, and on ensuring that working families and small businesses get needed support during this time.


That needed support starts with testing. I have introduced legislation to procure more test kits from manufacturers around the world so that Los Angeles can scale up testing and get more information. If we can learn anything from the countries that are successfully addressing this crisis, it’s that testing must be paramount. That means working with any test kit manufacturer around the globe, solving supply chain issues for swabs and other materials, and identifying the labs and locations for drive-thru testing now — so that, when more test kits are available, we can scale up quickly.

As I work to urge the city and county to get more test kits, the number-one concern is the health and safety of our families and neighbors. Older adults and those with underlying health conditions are the most at-risk from COVID-19, so we need to be particularly aware of those community members.

It is important that we maintain public health “best practices,” including frequently washing our hands and keeping our distance from others. Especially for those over 65, staying home is crucial.

Sanitize, disinfect

But we also must ensure that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are held to the highest possible standard for sanitizing and disinfecting. I introduced a motion to identify city funds for the routine disinfecting and cleaning of any and all senior centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and similar buildings in Los Angeles, and I have committed $100,000 in discretionary funding to get that work started here in Council District Four.

Specific assistance

Finally, I am focused on helping the working families and businesses that have been particularly impacted by this crisis. Our Los Angeles Unified School District has opened 60 “grab-and-go” centers throughout Los Angeles, where families whose children depend on school for food can pick up a meal.

Local businesses, big and small, have been hit particularly hard by this crisis. Agencies at all levels of government are mobilizing to make sure that workers are able to pay their bills, and that some businesses can remain open through the duration of this pandemic. I have allocated $1 million in Council District Four discretionary funds to the Jewish Free Loan Association, to be disbursed as emergency financial assistance to Council District Four residents and small businesses.

This money can help pay bills, meet payroll, and assist with the other needs that come up to help people stay at home and stay financially stable. I will continue to focus on the issue of small businesses and workers, and I am working to implement a rental assistance and personal loan program for any Angeleno facing a loss of wages, or for tenants struggling to pay rent during the emergency declaration.

The unhoused

We must also help our unhoused neighbors, who are at greater risk of severe illness if they contract the novel coronavirus. The city is implementing an emergency plan to open 6,000 shelter beds at recreation sites throughout Los Angeles, and I have called for an end to major sweeps that would displace those experiencing homelessness from their tents each day, potentially furthering the spread of the virus.

Let me be clear, it is undoubtedly safer to host our unhoused neighbors in sanitary, indoor conditions, rather than have them living outdoors. I have long called for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-like approach to homelessness, and in the midst of a true emergency, we now are treating homelessness like the crisis it is.

CD4: here to help

Finally, I want you to know that I am here for you. Since this crisis came to our city, I have been volunteering at local food banks, helping make meals for the elderly, and doing all I possibly can to help during this difficult time. If you are in need of help, or want to pitch in yourself, please reach out to my office at 213-473-7004 or CD4.issues@lacity.org.

You can also visit my website, davidryu.lacity.org, for the latest COVID-19 information.

These are uncertain times. But we’ve been through many challenges before, and we will come through this crisis together. If we stay focused on increasing testing, keeping our seniors safe, and supporting small businesses and workers, we can and will reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

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