Pico Rivera is reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world continues to fight the rapid spread of the coronavirus, confining many people to their homes and radically altering their way of life, some elected officials are braving the virus and assisting their city, businesses and residents.
Pico Rivera Mayor Gustavo Camacho is one of those elected officials. Together with his colleagues on the city council – and city staff – he was able to mobilize after the virus hit and set priorities for the city’s quick response.
One of the biggest challenges was the stay at home order which called for the temporary elimination of the everyday freedoms we have come to expect and frequently take for granted.
Declarations were made to close down Pico Rivera to a degree that many felt was unimaginable.
The city was coordinating its actions with government at all levels, federal, state, regional, as the city’s actions called for closing down restaurants and other non-essential businesses.
Camacho and the city subsequently organized food drives and distributions including one that took place on April 28 that provided food for 3,000 families in partnership with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the LA Food Bank.
He prioritized the health and safety of families and employees and was proactive in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus through a Response, Recover, and Thrive approach.
Knowing that testing is the best way to prevent spread, Camacho began to look for testing resources for his community but encountered a logjam with area cities aggressively asking the County of Los Angeles Health officials to establish a COVID-19 test site in their city.
Pico Rivera, through its established relationships with Alta Med Health Services, contacted the health provider and opened up one of the first Evaluation and Testing centers for COVID-19.
Testing for COVID-19 began on May 12 at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena for all residents whether they had flu like symptoms or not.
Camacho mentioned that more testing was needed for the city to open up its local economy so he leveraged his network and partnered with U.S. Health Fairs which led to Pico Rivera being the second city in Los Angeles County to offer free testing for every local resident at no cost to the city.
In addition to this partnership, city officials are working on providing antibody testing as soon as the service is rolled out.