District 5 Updates – October 2020

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District 5 Updates – October 2020

Thank you for those that were able to attend my first Virtual District 5 Town Hall; I appreciate the questions that were asked and the time you took to participate. For those that were unable to join me, the meeting was recorded and is posted online at scottysilveira.com/town-hall. A complete Spanish translation is also available. I will be hosting one again in the near future and hope you will be able to join me.

COVID-19 Red Tier

To support local small businesses, $3.1 million has been set aside for the COVID-19 Business Assistance Program. This program will be administered by the Merced County Workforce Development Board (WDB), and will provide Merced County small businesses with up to $50,000 in grant funding for the reimbursement of eligible COVID-19-related operating expenses as well as cover expenses related to implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures from March 19, 2020 through the date of the grant. The deadline to apply is September 20th.

Merced County has moved into the Red Tier on the Governor’s ever-changing COVID-19 reopening structure.  In order to open our schools and move to the next tier, we need to get tested. If our testing numbers fall, we will be moved back to the Purple Tier and the local testing locations will be closed. In District 5, there is a mobile testing facility available Mondays and Tuesdays at the Los Banos Fairgrounds. To make an appointment, visit www.lhi.care/covidtesting. For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Department’s resource website at www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus.

Healthy Harvest Home

Merced County is offering temporary housing support to the agricultural community directly impacted by COVID-19.  The program provides temporary hotel housing options for farmworkers and food processing employees to self-isolate if they are COVID-19 positive and do not require hospitalization, or have been exposed and cannot properly self-isolate at home. Funding for this program was made available through state and federal COVID-19 response allocations. No County General Fund dollars are included in this effort.

The program is coordinated locally by the Merced County Human Services Agency, the Merced County Department of Public Health, and community partners comprised of faith-based and non-profit organizations. To qualify, individuals must work in agriculture or food processing in California, have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19, and lack sufficient space at home to self-isolate. Under the program, services include transportation to the hotel, meals, and wellness checks for quarantining workers.

Merced County has partnered with the Central Valley Opportunity Center (CVOC) to provide outreach, education, and resources to farmworkers, labor contractors, and migrant camp residents throughout the County in an effort to mitigate their risk of contracting COVID-19. To inquire about the Healthy Harvest Home project or for general information pertaining to COVID-19, please contact the Merced County Public Health Department information line at 209-381-1180 (English, Spanish, Hmong).

Dos Palos Water Situation

On September 30th, the Dos Palos Water Department experienced mechanical issues, which resulted in a Boil Water Advisory being issued AND service interruption between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. As of October 8th, the Boil Water Advisory had been lifted. And although city staff worked around the clock to develop a short-term plan that would restore water service, a long-term, comprehensive plan is needed.

On October 9th, Dos Palos was awarded $11 million in State funding to build a new treatment plant. Congressman Jim Costa, Assemblyman Adam Gray and I have been working with the State Water Control Board, Division of Drinking Water to expedite their application which was filed in November 2019. This funding will help offset some of the costs to construct the new facility.  The system has been deteriorating for decades and a long-term fix is necessary. The balance of the necessary funding will need to come from local sources such as water rates. Staff continues to explore additional funding options as well.

To keep you informed about the status of the system, there is updated information on my website at scottysilveira.com/dos-palos-water.

Poll Workers Needed

District 5, specifically Los Banos and Dos Palos, need Poll Workers for the Voting Assistance Centers. Individuals as well as service groups are encouraged to volunteer.

Information and applications are available by calling (209) 385-7541 or visit the website at https://www.co.merced.ca.us/3133/Poll-Worker-Portal.

If I can be of service, you are having an issue, or need assistance, please call me at (209)385-7366, or send me an email at scott.silveira@countyofmerced.com.