Coronavirus, the campaign and our community

The impacts of coronavirus go beyond the impacts of the disease itself, and are touching even those who will never be exposed to the virus. There are physical impacts, economic impacts, emotional impacts, and psychological impacts.

For the past week and over the next few weeks, my campaign for Eugene City Council will change. As our community works to limit the spread and impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus, I will be suspending some campaign activities and events, including limiting door knocking and meet-the-candidate gatherings.

I am, in addition to being a candidate, the Human Resources Manager for South Lane Mental Health, which has almost 100 employees and provides mental health and substance use services to about 2000 residents in rural Lane County, ranging from therapy and counseling to residential programs and intensive community-based supports for those with severe mental illness. Part of my role includes ensuring the safety of our staff and clients in crisis situations. I have spent the bulk of the past week helping us prepare and respond to coronavirus-- making sure that our staff can provide critical services to our community safely, and that we are able to lessen the impacts to the community we serve. There is still more that needs to be done.

I still believe that Eugene needs new, decisive, strong leadership on City Council, and that I am the best choice to serve Eugene in that way. There will be more campaign news and outreach. Right now, though, my priority needs to be ensuring that my agency and our employees are resilient, safe, and able to continue providing the critical services and supports for our clients and community that are even more important in this difficult time.

As our community, the nation, and the world confront the threat of coronavirus, many of the most effective actions involve avoiding contact with others-- social distancing and cancelling community events. Ultimately, however, keeping each other safe is a community activity-- even if we can't gather in person. The strength of our community and our care for one another is how we will get through this. We all have a role to play.

Lane County Public Health provides excellent resources on what steps individuals can take to help stay healthy and reduce the impact of the virus on their website www.lanecountyor.gov/coronavirus. It includes washing your hands regularly and leaving space between yourself and others in public spaces. It also includes a reminder of how we need to support each other at this time, and so I will leave you with that:

"We encourage everyone to make use of technology (FaceTime, video calls, and other tools) to stay in touch with senior community members. Isolation can be unhealthy, especially for elderly community members who live alone. Staying in touch can help people remain connected to their loved ones and their communities."

I'll stay in touch.

-Eliza