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Muratsuchi Convenes Meeting on Coronavirus in South Bay

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Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) gave the following report on March 14.

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Al Muratsuchi

To address the coronavirus pandemic in the South Bay, yesterday on March 13, I worked with Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn to convene a meeting with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and L.A. County Office of Emergency Services representatives at the Manhattan Beach Library.

I requested Supervisor Hahn for the meeting following the news I received on the previous evening of March 12 of two reported cases of COVID-19 in Manhattan Beach. Supervisor Hahn immediately arranged for county public health and emergency service officials to meet with South Bay officials the next day.

Despite the short notice, mayors, council members, school board members, school district superintendents, and city managers turned out for the meeting. We did our best to practice good social distancing. In addition to Supervisor Hahn and myself, represented in person or by conference call were:

Congressman Ted Lieu, State Senator Ben Allen, City of Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach School District, City of Hermosa Beach, Hermosa Beach School District, City of Redondo Beach, Redondo Beach School District, City of Torrance, Torrance School District, Palos Verdes Peninsula School District, City of El Segundo, El Segundo School District

We started by discussing the importance of better communication between the Department of Public Health and cities and school districts regarding individuals testing positive for COVID-19. We discussed the difficult balance between the duty to notify the public of identified individuals and the duty to protect a patient and their family members from being treated like pariahs and bullied.

We also need to protect patient privacy to encourage self-reporting of coronavirus cases. We discussed our shared frustration with the lack of COVID-19 testing resources and what steps are being taken to conduct more testing. Finally, we discussed the county’s need for quarantine sites.

In closing, let me say this. We are all in this together. As a fellow South Bay resident, school parent, and son to elderly parents, and as your South Bay assemblymember, I am working hard to respond to these extraordinary circumstances.

To my South Bay neighbors, I would like to emphasize that, rather than hunker down in fear and hoard supplies, we need to stay calm, take necessary precautions, and look out for each other, especially the elderly and the medically vulnerable.

Yesterday, my father, who is 88 and living with my 86-year-old mother, told me that a kind neighbor knocked on their door and offered to buy groceries for them. This simple act of kindness is what we need to fight this epidemic of fear. During this anxious time, let’s reach out to those most in need of help (without spreading germs of course) and let’s all help each other get through this crisis together.

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