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amy bublak
Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak

Turlock has become the Stanislaus County hot spot for the coronavirus with the detection of over 100 confirmed cases and eight deaths at the Turlock Nursing and Rehabilitation facility.

We have seen in recent weeks the risk the virus presents to the elderly and the vulnerable.  We have learned several things in this pandemic:

—the virus kills

—the virus is spread by surface contact and air

—infected individuals are contagious before they display any symptoms. That is why it is so dangerous.

We also know we need to be mindful of restoring our economy.

I do not believe these are mutually exclusive goals.

Maintaining social distance, testing and a forthright consistent commitment to best practices in the work place, at commercial facilities and as individuals will get us through this period until better treatment of the illness itself, and a vaccine to make us immune, is available.

This is easier said than done. But we have little choice but achieve it.

When told about the Turlock facility, I called the Mayor of Kirkland, Washington where the first breakout of an infection at an elderly care home occurred.  Her advice was simple.  Test and then test again. Contain and maintain.

If it seems that we are behind the curve in this fight you would be correct.  No one expected anything like this just two months ago. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on.  It is easy to criticize after the fact, but there is also much that makes us proud.

Our first responders have saved thousands of lives at great risk to themselves.  We can’t ever forget that. All but a few of our residents have followed the social distancing guidelines and complied with the stay at home recommendations.  That has cost us jobs and created much hardship.  But it has saved thousands of lives.

We now face some crucial choices.  We need to reopen our economic life in a way that minimizes risk both locally and beyond.

There is no truce ending the war against the virus.  There is no peace treaty; and we will not make decisions that result in sacrificing lives.

We need to maintain our vigilance at home, at schools when they reopen and at work and play.

I want to convey to you my appreciation for our partners, the surrounding communities, and the county as we have struggled to make the best decisions for our area.  We have had some differences in approach, but no disagreement in our purpose.

We have a long way to go.

We need to support each other.

We need to carefully maintain safe and prudent behavior.

Yes, we need to wear masks when in the close company of others. And we need to follow the advice our parents have given us for years — “wash your hands!’

Turlock, Stanislaus County and our country will get through this.  

Stay healthy and positive.