A Message from Senator Toni Atkins on COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Dear Friends:

Since the Governor issued the statewide stay-at-home order last night, I have heard from people in the community who have important questions about what it all means and who have other questions about how California’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 transmission curve are affecting our everyday lives.

I understand the concerns and anxiety that have come up surrounding this virus and the work to contain it. I share many of those same feelings, and I know my family here in San Diego and across the country do as well. While I don’t have all the answers, I do want to share some resources that can help you stay up to date as this very serious and very fluid situation moves forward.

First, please know that even while we are following the stay-at-home order, our team is still working—remotely where possible and in-person where essential—and available to help you.

Please stay home and reach out to us via phone, message, or on social media. To send us a message, visit our website. Our phone is (619) 645-3133 here at home and (916) 651-4039 in the State Capitol. Right now, messaging and e-mail are the easiest. We will be answering phones, but please remember you might get voicemail while others are on the line. No matter how you contact us, we will work quickly and efficiently to respond to you.

When communicating with my Senate colleagues about this crisis, there are three valuable websites I have shared with them, and I want to make sure you have that information as well:

Information on the Governor’s Executive Order can be found here.

Messages for the Public can be found here.

Federal Regulations California is following on “critical infrastructure” can be found here.

One of the most frequent questions I’ve gotten is about the requests for people to donate blood or volunteer for certain activities. I know this sounds especially confusing when we are telling people to stay home, but the Governor’s order does include exemptions for essentials like health care and food availability. That’s why volunteers can still donate blood, deliver meals, or work in food banks. It’s important though to go through California Volunteers first. This helps ensure that organizations who need volunteers aren’t overwhelmed and that they can do their part to ensure safe conditions and social distancing in their facilities. When I wanted to make an appointment to donate blood, I know the San Diego Blood Bank’s website was very helpful in giving me all the information I needed.

When Governor Newsom announced the stay-at-home-order, he said that it is up to all of us to meet this moment in history. That is absolutely true. If we don’t, we risk a shortage of hospital beds—not just for COVID-19 but for any health condition or emergency—and we risk overwhelming our health care system entirely. I know none of us want to face the situation some of our European allies have faced, having to ration lifesaving care.

I want to thank everyone who has reached out with questions and comments. And I definitely want to thank everyone who is complying with the stay-at-home order—as frustrating and confusing as the whole situation is.

One last reminder—the Governor noted in his announcement that as long as we practice safe social distancing it is okay to jog or exercise and even walk our dogs. These are good ways for all of us to relieve some of the stress from this unprecedented situation.

Please continue to contact my office about COVID-19 or any other issue that you need our help with. We will get through this together.

District Team Available