COMMUNITY OPINION: Coronavirus tests our spirit

Wayne Norton writes that a public health emergency requires all county residents to exemplify values of selflessness, generosity, and deep concern for friends and neighbors.
Wayne Norton. Photo provided.
Wayne Norton. Photo provided.

This community opinion was contributed by Wayne Norton, who is a candidate running for District 2 Supervisor. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

The coronavirus is testing San Benito County residents and institutions in ways that we have never been tested before. I love our county’s community spirit. Time and time again, I have watched our community respond to crises with selflessness, generosity and love. Through earthquakes, fires, floods, droughts, and economic downturns, San Benito County residents have embodied the spirit of “We are in this together.”

It has been difficult to isolate myself at home. Yet, I know that is what needs to be done in order to “flatten the curve” and reduce the opportunity for this virus to spread. This virus is a unique and, in many ways, a more dangerous threat than we have experienced before. It requires each of us to do our part to lessen the impact on our community.

I applaud county supervisors for allocating emergency funding and for hiring David Westrick as public information officer to coordinate outreach efforts. These actions will help ensure a coordinated response and build public support for the difficult decisions that must be made. Updates are available on the Public Health Department website: www.hhsa.cosb.us/publichealth/.

We will get through this. It will require each of us to stay informed, do what is asked of us by health officials, and reach out a helping hand when we can.

Be well.


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Wayne Norton

Recognized by the State Assembly in 2019 for protecting the environment, Wayne Norton is a two-term elected Aromas Water District director and candidate for San Benito County Supervisor in District 2. A Vietnam veteran and former political reporter, Wayne was the managing editor of the daily Hollister Free Lance. He is an active advocate for quality public education and was a founding staff member of Anzar High School, a California Distinguished School. As a former Ombudsman, Wayne protected the rights of residents in nursing homes and investigated elder abuse. He currently serves as a director on the Seniors Council of Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties, and has consistently led and volunteered for a variety of public commissions and community organizations since moving to the area in 1985. Wayne can be contacted at (831) 227-3530, [email protected], waynenorton.com or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.