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Ojai Valley News EDITORIAL on OPINION page: Ojai Valley needs a vaccination site

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It took about 10 months for California to reach 1 million cases of COVID-19, then 40 days more to reach 2 million cases. We reached 3 million cases just 28 days later. How many days will it take to reach 4 million?
The little city of Ojai is always facing an uphill battle getting resources. City Manager James Vega has been leading the charge to advocate for Ojai residents during this coronavirus crisis, mandating masks months before Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin recommended them. Next came the city’s advocacy for an Ojai testing center, which was not originally planned by county Public Health. Mr. Vega’s pressure now continues for more local testing days weekly, and Ojai vaccination locations. 
City officials are receiving hundreds of calls on this issue, but county government is the service provider for vaccination distribution and most COVID-19 testing. Requests from the Ojai Valley are clearly not yet being heard by Ventura County Public Health, Supervisor Matt LaVere and county CEO Mike Powers. Ojai city officials have been told more than once by county officials that we “need to be patient.” However, the county response was extremely swift when city officials pleaded for Ojai’s Ben Franklin store to be allowed to remain open at the start of the pandemic to serve the needs of locals, rather than forcing them into big-box stores in areas with high rates of infection. 
At issue now are the needs of Ojai residents — many of them older and many who lack access to the vaccination site at the Ventura Fairgrounds, located in a community with high infection rates. Vaccination rates will be lower than they might otherwise be if the county does not provide more local sites to provide vaccinations. Help make sure that county officials remember Ojai, and keep improving local services here. Your voice can help.
Join the city of Ojai and the Ojai Valley News in asking for:
    • Extended testing dates in Ojai, beyond January.
    • Expanded testing days each week in Ojai.
    • An Ojai Valley vaccination location. 
Contact Ventura Public Health at 805-981-5101, Ventura County Supervisor Matt LaVere’s office at 805-654-2703.

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