LANCASTER — The Lancaster City Council unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday night to oppose Los Angeles County’s proposed extension of the safer-at-home order though July.
The Council unanimously added the new business item to the agenda hours after Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer caused a stir when she told the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that some form of public health restrictions would remain in place at least through July due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office sent out a clarification later in the day to say that relaxing the restrictions in the Safer at Home order would be done gradually over the next few months.
“There’s several things that don’t pertain to us and that due to the density in the Antelope Valley that we are different than the rest of the L.A. Basin and should be treated differently,” Vice Mayor Marvin Crist said.
Crist added the county should let some businesses here open up as long as the mask requirements, social distancing and other safety precautions are in place.
Councilman Ken Mann agreed.
“I think that we need to be the front-runner and take charge here,” Mann said.
“It shouldn’t be a one size fits all right now,” Councilman Darrell Dorris said.
Mayor R. Rex Parris said before reaching out to the county they have to have a different program.
That could include tracking positive COVID-19 infections and then using IBM Watson to alert people who were in contact with that person so they can self isolate.
“We have to have a much more aggressive program if we’re going to open up more than everybody else,” Parris said.
Parris added Lancaster’s COVID-19 numbers are lower because people quit shaking hands earlier and they required people to wear masks or facial coverings sooner.
“We took draconian measures to keep people alive and we are reaping the rewards of that,” Parris said.
Coming up with a plan will take a lot of effort and a lot of cooperation.
The mayor suggested using benchmarks based on ICU admissions and fatalities.
“Every time somebody dies from COVID-19 in Lancaster, one of us will attend that funeral if they have funerals,” Parris said.
Parris wanted to group to educate at-risk populations, including those with diabetes or who are overweight, about the risks of COVID-19.
“I want a plan that no other city in the world has put together and I want it put together in seven days,” Parris said.
City Manager Jason Caudle said they have been in contact with the cities of Palmdale and Santa Clarita.
“They have the same concerns, not only being treated differently but also having different numbers as well,” Caudle said.
Caudle added northern California counties have eliminated additional restrictions and gone back to follow state orders.
“The real task is getting those decision makers who are putting these restrictions upon our citizens to change their minds,” Caudle said.
Parris said the city has to have a plan to present to the Board of Supervisors.
“They’re intelligent people.” Parris said. “They will listen. But we have to have a plan to show them. What they’re not going to do is be bullied into it because we don’t like it, or we want to be different.”
Parris said the city needs a viable plan that is supported by medical and technical research.
“You have seven days to create a template for the world,” Parris said.