Mendota mayor asking Gov. Newsom for additional COVID-19 resources

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A few dozen cars showed up for Wednesday's free COVID-19 testing in the City of Mendota, as the state tries to expand its reach into some of the more rural parts of California.

Local health workers were on hand to screen residents right from their car as the city hosted its third drive-through event.

"Anybody from the Central Valley can come in and get screened. We're not asking you to belong to Fresno County or the City of Mendota for that matter," said Fresno County Dept. of Public Health official Rene Duarte Cisuentes.

Mendota Mayor Rolando Castro is pleased with the State's effort to bring free testing to his community but says more should be done to protect those essential workers who labor in the fields.

This is the time of year the town sees an influx of people willing to brave the Valley's summer heat to pick crops that supply the world.

"We need to do tests on-site, in the farms and in the fields with the farmers. Test them on-site with rapid testing so we can get accurate results, people to get tested and get them educated as well," said Castro.

According to Fresno County health records -- Mendota has suffered six COVID-19 related deaths with more than 430 cases currently under investigation.

For a town with an official population of around 11,000 -- Mayor Castro is urging Gov. Newsom to send additional resources before it's too late.

"The Governor put us in the "red" in the Central Valley. He's worried about the farmers, well why isn't he doing anything it? He's shutting down our small mom and pop shops, but if he continues to do that it's going to be a ghost town," Castro said.

Castro is using resources provided by the County to set up washing stations around town as well as help distribute personal protective equipment to residents.

The city also recently declared face coverings mandatory for all residents. Those found without a mask face a $100 fine.

"If we don't start getting things done now, it's not only out of crops to pick, we're going to have so many sick people we're going to have nobody to pick the crops. So it's a lose-lose," Castro said.
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