Fresno city leaders working to slow down recent surge in COVID-19 cases

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The pandemic is severely impacting Fresno County, and now county leaders are asking the city of Fresno and health leaders to help identify the most significant areas of concern as they attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Fresno city leaders joined county leaders for a special meeting Tuesday to discuss Fresno County's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workshop was held just one day after Gov. Newsom called the Central Valley a coronavirus hotspot.

RELATED: Central California is a COVID-19 hotspot, state investing $52M to help slow surge

Local public health officials also weighed in on how to handle the recent surge in cases.

"We really need have to work together as a community to mitigate and bring this curve back down," said Dr. Rais Vohra with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Fresno County has received more than $81 million in Federal Aid as part of the CARES Act to be used to offset costs related to the pandemic.

In addition to the county, the City of Fresno was handed more than $90 million from the federal government.

County leaders say they want to be strategic when it comes to using the funds to slow the spread of the virus.

"We're in a marathon with COVID-19, this is not a sprint. There are a lot of groups out there that would love to see us just spend all of our money right now, but what we can't do is deplete all of our resources right now and then later when we need to spend, we find out we're out of funding," said County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.

Critics like Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula say the county is not doing enough to help families in rural communities and is calling for transparency on how the money is being spent.

"I believe they need urgency to appropriate these dollars in real-time in our communities so that we have the resources to fight this virus head-on," Arambula said.

To date, the county has spent more than $25 million to support increased testing, pay for contact tracing, purchase personal protective equipment, and provide recovery funding for a thousand small businesses.

"Assemblyman Arambula came, and of course, used the same lines he's been using for two weeks. I find it odd that he hasn't really come off that script that he's been using. Clearly, the information was provided today, and it showed the tens of millions of dollars that the county has spent and how we plan to use the money moving forward," Magsig said.
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