As your mayor, my top priority is keeping you safe. The city of Lancaster has been anticipating the elevated risks posed by the novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) and took early steps to prepare.

As Mayor, I deputized two new Deputy Mayors: Dr. Jonathan Truong, MD, an infectious disease specialist, and Dr. Lawrence Stock, MD, an emergency medicine specialist. Both are affiliated with Antelope Valley Hospital. Their roles are to provide insight and advice to the city of Lancaster as we work to respond to the needs of our community to keep residents as safe as possible. We will utilize every resource at our disposal to secure the health and safety of our residents.

To that end, here is what we are doing:

—The city has established our plans for a widespread expansion of the coronavirus.

—We have been in contact with all our community partners and medical professionals to outline proper steps and to maintain open lines of communication.

—The city continues to monitor communications and information from the Centers for Disease Control and LA County Department of Public Health.

—The city has been consulting with our two Deputy Mayor health experts to garner their insights, observations on risk and suggestions for City action.

While there are steps we can take as a city, the most impactful acts are done by residents who take proactive steps to protect themselves and their families. Here is a list of suggestions for you to consider:

— Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

—Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

—Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

—Cough or sneeze into a tissue, or into the crook of your arm.

— Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend wearing a mask unless you are sick. If you are sick, remain home and isolate yourself. Call for medical care only if you determine it is needed. At this time, you are more likely to have the common flu rather than coronavirus. The symptoms are very similar. However, you should avoid contact with others and seek medical advice.

Try creating temporary good habits that reduce risk of exposure, such as waving to people rather than shaking their hand or using a disposable glove to pump gas.

Small acts by you can go a long way to stemming the spread of coronavirus. Together we can all pitch in to fight back against this virus and save lives.