We are all in this together: PPOA, our employers, our families, our country, our world. As I write this, the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to represent never-before-seen complications for the masses. “Stay at Home” has become the norm. Retail, entertainment and “nonessential” services have been shut down. Wearing gloves and protective masks at work has become old hat.
From day one, PPOA Board and staff have worked numerous hours to address members’ needs. Our staff and I have provided a limited presence in our office and have been using technology to create a virtual command post, fielding concern calls and emails, conferencing with each other as well as other unions and departments, and consulting with our attorneys and lobbying firm in Sacramento to ensure our members’ rights are being preserved.
Keys to effectively surviving this crisis are manyfold, including personal hygiene, financial awareness and keeping anxiety in check. PPOA has joined all of the other health officials in publishing numerous suggestions to maintain personal safety. Wash your hands! Many people do, but effective handwashing practices are critical. For an eye-opening moment and learning experience, check out this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYFWbwgf-2Q.
Additionally, at work, personal protective equipment (PPE) use is of the utmost importance. While the County is supplying PPE currently, resupply is of concern. Use PPE appropriately, but conservatively. Like all resources, we do not know when more is coming. Utilize social distancing whenever available and do not be wasteful.
There is no doubt that uncertainty plays heavily into this crisis. Investments in the stock market have lost about a third of their value. Projections show this event could affect world financial markets, with recovery taking years. Don’t panic! A loss in the market is only a loss when cashed out. Prudent financial decisions have never been more important. As part of our decision to help our communities as County employees, we have all chosen financial security over the desire to pursue riches. Our jobs may be difficult as disaster service workers, but as it stands, our families should be solvent. Within the first few weeks of this event, millions of people were laid off. This only adds to the overall anxiety levels of the citizenry looking for resolution and security. Be thankful and respectful of what we have in life, in both purpose and security.
Times are tough. While many other tragic events have occurred during my lifetime and been seared into my memory, none have been worldwide. Between limitations on freedoms, loss of work and the specter of severe illness looming, many people have difficulty functioning. Depression and anxiety are easy to slip into. Relax! Talk it out. Share your feelings and concerns. The County departments all have many resources dedicated to our members.
Additionally, you are never alone. PPOA is here to assist in many ways and is always available to help our family members during these uncertain, historic and difficult times. For starters, please see the PPOA COVID-19 FAQ starting on page 10. We emailed the first set to members on March 19, the second set on March 21 and the third set on March 28. We’ll continue to update you on issues affecting your career and personal safety as they arise, so please stay connected. Monitor our communications, reach out with concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office. It is our responsibility and goal to assist you with anything within our power. We wish you all good health as we navigate personally and professionally through these uncharted waters.