Earlier today I voted against extending the Stay Home, Work Safe Order. Here is my statement explaining why I voted how I did:
This pandemic may be the biggest health and economic challenge of our lifetimes and there is no doubt that the Stay Home, Work Safe Order is necessary to protect the health of the public. The order is a critical piece of our city’s COVID-19 pandemic response, but it is not the only one.
Thus far, the extension of these orders has been the only part of our COVID-19 response City Council has had the opportunity to vote on. And given that there are other critical issues that the Council has not had the opportunity to take action on, I could not support another extension without further discussion and action on those items.
Let me be clear, I commend City staff for their hard work and commitment; our local response in many ways has gone above and beyond many of the measures recommended by the CDC.
Nonetheless, I believe there are additional actions and strategies outside of the order that the City Council members should discuss and vote on, these include but are not limited to the following:
- Widely publicizing the availability and benefits of alternative isolation accommodations for people who test positive and may not live alone or may have a vulnerable household member, as this measure would reduce the risk of household transmission and potentially save lives of vulnerable individuals;
- Expanding and accelerating testing availability and locations; and tracking the number of and location of individuals who have household contacts with a positive case; these persons are presumed positive but are not usually tested because they are household contacts;
- Prepare to scale up contact tracing to keep pace with expanded testing; and exploring automated, optional contact tracing methods - such as cell phone apps - that protect privacy;
These types of strategies will help us more quickly de-escalate business restrictions and reduce our economic damage.
I stand by my obligation as an elected official to make decisions regarding this unprecedented crisis and look forward to continuing to work closely with my council colleagues and city staff. I trust that moving forward we will consider these additional actions and strategies. Until then, I continue to support the spirit of the order and recommend that residents stay home, practice social distancing, and wash hands frequently.