Since January, I have been working on a photography project as a member of a Flickr group, 100x: The 2020 Edition. The description from the group’s page:
At the beginning of 2020, choose a major theme (your “x”), and post 100 images that fit that theme throughout the year…
I learned of the 100x: 2019 Edition in November from a photographer I follow, who happens to be the group Admin. I liked the idea of working on a project to jump start my photography this year. It took me awhile to pick my theme, The things I see walking to and from work, but I was ready to go on January 2nd.
Then in March, I was forced to drive to a new work site as a Disaster Service Worker when the Shelter at Home order for COVID-19 went into effect in San Luis Obispo County. I thought this might be the end of my project.
After a few weeks, I decided to slightly alter my theme to The things I would have seen walking to and from work if not for COVID-19. This allowed me to continue on.
I will periodically post groups of images going forward or you can see them as they go up on Flickr in my album. Click on the photographs to see the full-size images at Flickr.
San Luis Obispo County is beginning to open up for business again. I am still working at the Cal Poly Alternate Care Site (CPACS) to help keep everything ready. It will be held in place throughout the Summer or longer in case a second wave of the virus overwhelms the local hospitals.
The library is preparing to offer curbside service for picking up materials beginning on June 2nd. I will be there for the first day, but then back to CPACS to rearrange everything in the warehouse as more supplies are in bound from other County warehouses.
My hope is that things are not moving too fast and we do not see a spike in people getting COVID-19.
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.
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.
Checked people in
Monday, 23 March
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
Tuesday, 24 March
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.
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.
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.