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Letter: SLO County leaders need to take more action to fight COVID-19 

letter to the editor

To the editor,

An open letter to San Luis Obispo County and city leaders,

To start, thank you all for all that you do for our community on a regular basis. And especially thank you for all that you’re doing during this unprecedented time as we all face COVID19 and its effects.

I’m reaching out to you today deeply concerned about this pivotal moment we are facing in COVID-19 and the action we know is necessary to take this on swiftly and aggressively for the benefit of our community. We have three diagnosed cases (that have been reported – there are most certainly others that we don’t know about due to ineffective testing protocols), which is lower than other counties in California. We have the ability to see less devastation, illness, and deaths than other regions IF WE ACT NOW.

What does this action look like?

We need a shelter in place order like other counties are doing. Let’s be proactive and learn from the carnage that is happening in other locals that didn’t set strict parameters early on. It may already be too late, but action now is still better than delaying further. Bars, theatres, gyms, gathering places – All non-essential businesses – should be mandated to close, and restaurants should move to pick up or delivery only, just as other cities and counties have done. We are not alone in this, let’s learn from those who are a couple days ahead of us and do the right thing right now.

We need to demand access to more widespread testing for SLO County citizens. As is being reported, this virus is being spread by community members who are showing no symptoms of illness. Unless infected people know they are infected, they will continue interacting with others, even if in a limited “sheltered in place” capacity.

And we also need more honest communication from our area leaders. I know we don’t want to create a situation with contradicting information, but leaders at all levels should be relaying official statements from their respective channels (email, newsletters, social media, etc) so that accurate information is more broadly communicated. This will help calm citizens’ fears. Not everyone is watching the press conferences that Ms. Borenstein is holding, and hearing info from more recognizable and familiar regional elected officials – info that is specific to each unique community – would benefit the entire County.

It is essential that we take these steps now and do not wait for things to worsen. These bold preventative measures are needed to slow the spread, flatten the curve, and prevent our hospitals from being overcrowded. Early action will prevent long term costs to businesses, the economy, and our community’s collective health.

It is disappointing that SLO County seems to be so delayed (with regards to school closures, testing capabilities, business closures, shelter in place orders, etc) in how it is responding to this pandemic. Each hour/day/week of inaction will result in additional resources strained and lives lost. Local businesses have already made sacrifices that will surely effect their families and their income, it is time for cities and the County to follow their example. We urge you to act boldly and act rapidly. SLO County can be a leader in how we confront this virus. Your citizens are looking to you to keep us safe.

Please address emails to public officials:

  • Dr. Penny Borenstein (County Health Director):
  • Wade Horton (County Manager):
  • John Peschong, District 1 Supervisor:
  • Bruce Gibson, District 2 Supervisor:
  • Adam Hill, District 3 Supervisor:
  • Lynn Compton, District 4 Supervisor:
  • Debbie Arnold, District 5 Supervisor:
  • Derek Johnson (SLO City Manager):
  • SLO City Council:
  • Mayor Heidi Harmon:
  • Aaron Gomez, SLO City Council:
  • Carlyn Christenson, SLO City Council:
  • Andy Pease, SLO City Council:
  • Erika Stewart, SLO City Council:


Socially Distant,

Tarrah Graves & Quinn Brady
SLO County Residents

Editor’s note: Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paso Robles Daily News or its staff. We welcome letters from local residents regarding relevant local topics. To submit, click here. 

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