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OP-ED: The case for home isolation

I am writing this during my third day of self-isolation in my home in San Pedro. On Sunday, Governor Newsom ordered all Californians over the age of 65 or who have an underlying health condition to stay in their homes to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus. I know that the next few weeks, maybe months, at home will be difficult– but I am following the Governor’s orders and it is important that you do too. 

 

The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in LA County has climbed dramatically over just the last few days. Because testing is still limited, it is safe to assume there are many more people infected with the virus in our communities. There is also evidence that many people are carrying the virus, have no symptoms, and are still infecting others simply through close contact.  So until a vaccine — or even an effective treatment– can be developed, the best tools we have to fight this virus are social distancing and self-isolation. 

 

This week, LA County’s Public Health Officer took the unprecedented but necessary step of ordering all bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment venues, and dine-in restaurants Countywide to shut down. I know this came as a shock to many residents, and I can’t blame them. Even a few weeks ago, I would have thought these orders were Draconian. But this is an unprecedented crisis and, while I am worried about the economic toll this will take on our families and our community, I know that not taking immediate and dramatic action would take a much greater toll on lives. 

 

If you can stay home and work remotely, you must do that. This will not only keep you safe, it will make being in public safer for the people who we depend on to keep doing their jobs — like food service workers, pharmacists, health workers, and first responders.  

 

So until further notice, I will be at home. Not just for the sake of my own health — but for the health of our entire community.  

 

I know that this is going to be hard. I know I am going to get restless and miss my family and friends.  But for now, it isn’t all bad. I haven’t put on makeup or bothered to do my hair.  Work is keeping me busy, but if I have some time, I have a Netflix queue and a stack of good books waiting for me.

Janice Hahn is a member of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors representing the Fourth District, which includes Whittier.

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