Questions remain as Fresno County supervisors discuss COVID-19 response

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As California enters the third week of the shelter in place order, Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco says the initial panic and concern has subsided and people are adjusting to a new way of life.

But questions remain about the coronavirus outbreak.

"I think it's better if we have the information, people are reasonably intelligent, and they can make good decisions based on that, but they need the information in order to make those decisions," Pacheco said.

Board Chairman Buddy Mendes disagrees and says it's not necessary to provide detailed public information about COVID-19 cases unless there's a specific outbreak, such as at a nursing home.

"The public that really needs information are our first responders. They have it. And to me, that's the only people that have to have that information," Mendes said.

Pacheco would like more detailed stats since he says he's getting constant questions from Firebaugh residents who fear there's a hotspot in that community after a relative of a school district employees contracted the coronavirus.

"People want to know, and maybe it will even keep people more compliant with following the rules. I had a meeting yesterday through teleconference with the Firebaugh school district, and they very much are concerned about this along with members of their community, doctors of their community," he said.

Both Mendes and Pacheco say that overall, Fresno County residents are doing a good job of sheltering in place. They say closing off the county is not something they would be willing to look at, for a variety of reasons, including ag workers crossing county lines to do essential farm work.

"Those people that need to travel outside the county and travel outside the state, they should have the freedom to do that, you know this is the United States, so we're founded on our individual freedoms, and even during these times," Pacheco said.

"I don't think any county constitutionally can tell their citizens they can't move in and out of their county, okay? Only the governor has that power," Mendes said.

Fresno County leaders also discussed the pop-up hospital at the Exhibit Hall, which recently received beds and is currently being set up. Local hospitals will also be receiving as many as they need.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.