COVID-19 Diary // No. 3

It has been nearly a month since I last posted about my work during this time. Over these many days I have worked night shifts, 11:00pm to 8:00am, at a homeless shelter and continued to deliver food. The nights were hard on me as I was having to switch between working at night and then during the day.

On 02 April, I was called to work at the County of San Luis Obispo’s Alternate Care Site that was being made in a giant Recreation Center building at Cal Poly State University. This is where COVID-19 patients would be sent if the local hospitals reached capacity. I was made the co-lead for managing the temporary hospital’s supply warehouse, which ended my other assignments. We have worked 60 hour weeks until now to prepare to open. I have not done so much physical labor in many years. Sunday was a much needed day off after working 17 consecutive days. I am still pretty tired, but happy for two reasons; the facility is ready and there is not yet a need for patients to be there.

During the preceding weeks, I have not had the energy for photography. I tried yesterday as we went for a long walk, but saw nothing to make me raise the camera. I think my mind is too preoccupied to relax or focus on anything. Perhaps soon I will be able to make photos again.

COVID-19 Diary // No. 2

Strange days. Now 42 cases in the County. I am a local government employee, and we are all now Disaster Service Workers. DSW jobs have kept me busy. No photos today, just memories from last few days…

Sunday, 22 March

Homeless Warming Center

At night standing in rain while young woman refused to put on the required to enter face mask. The director was soothing and talked her into it, but she left into the wet, muttering about how crazy it was 20 minutes later.

Dark, cold, pouring rain, standing out in it, waiting for more people to arrive to get a meal and a warm bed, watching a hawk sit on a power pole for 15 minutes before flying away. Felt alone when she left.

  • Disinfected cots
  • Checked people in

Monday, 23 March

Homeless Shelter

Clients not interested in social distancing despite being encouraged to do so. Staff feeling COVID-19 cases inevitable. They have isolation rooms ready for when suspected cases show up. The dedicated staff is upbeat, confident in their plan, but realistic about what lies ahead.

  • Striped and disinfected beds
  • Organized storeroom

Tuesday, 24 March

Food delivery

Utter confusion about where food was delivered for us to pickup and take to people. After an hour calling and texting, tracked it down.

Hard to find some residences in the mazes of trailer parks and apartment complexes.

Shirley calling me back to thank me for bringing the food made me feel the confusion and frustration of the day was worth it.

  • Packed boxes of food
  • Delivered boxes

COVID-19 Diary // No. 1

Photo of a San Luis Obispo, California  residential area and hills with 5 turkey vultures flying in the cloudy sky.

Friday was the day for the local government to visibly act on COVID-19 with the public health emergency declaration. Earlier in the week the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Agency seemed to be taking a cautious approach, probably meant to avert panic, that did not reflect the urgency of social distancing other health experts were communicating. Still, even that morning the emphasis on no local cases meant the County did not order schools closed. Closure decisions were left to the individual school districts, which one after another they made to do so during the afternoon. Going to the grocery store on Friday night found many empty shelves, but we were able to mostly do the weekly shopping.

Photo of a San Luis Obispo, California  residential area, the train station, Cerro San Luis, and Bishop Peak.

Saturday brought the first confirmed San Luis Obispo County COVID-19 case, which was followed on Sunday with the second. Both are believed to be community spread and unconnected to one another. This fact makes the seemingly sanguine response projected by the County earlier seem short sighted.

On Sunday, J and I went for a long walk in the on again, off again rain. It was nice to get out of the house.

Today, J went to work to begin planning to teach her students online. After working Saturday, it is my weekend day. I wait at home for word from the County if the Library is to join the City of San Luis Obispo government office closures and/or if I am to go to work tomorrow.

Photo of reflection in a puddle of tree limbs and metal bridge supports.