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Coronavirus: Manitoban in California says self-isolation taken seriously after stay-at-home order

Beachgoers are seen at Venice Beach, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Beachgoers are seen at Venice Beach, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Los Angeles, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

A Manitoba man currently living in California says people in his community are taking self-isolation seriously, especially since governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s nearly 40 million people to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The pandemic has been declared a major disaster in the state, which will free up federal resources to help stem the tide of COVID-19 cases in a part of the U.S. with a population similar in number to Canada’s.

“People are taking it pretty seriously, at least in our town,” Allen Van Deynze told 680 CJOB.

“People are walking their dogs, but passing each other six feet apart. We’re talking to our neighbours on the street, and everyone’s got distance.”

READ MORE: California monitoring more than 8,400 flight arrivals for COVID-19 symptoms

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Van Deynze and his wife Tracy, originally from Somerset, Man., are now in the city of Davis, Calif., west of Sacramento. He said people are starting to realize just how much contact they’re used to having with others, due to the new self-isolation order.

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“You become good biologists all of a sudden,” he said.

“I’m a biologist, so I guess it comes natural, but where it comes to touching surfaces and washing your hands, you don’t realize how many things you can touch in one minute.

“You don’t realize the contact you have with people every day.”

Former Manitoban Allen Van Deynze, now living in California.
Former Manitoban Allen Van Deynze, now living in California. University of California, Davis

READ MORE: ‘A threat to yourself’: Around the world rebels ignore COVID-19 lockdown measures

Not all Californians, however, are heeding the advice of their political leaders.

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Similar to recent incidents in Florida, people in spring break hotspots have been crowding California beaches despite the warnings.

“I was talking to my daughter in San Diego, and she wanted to go for a walk on the beach … and she was saying there was a pile of people on the beach … you know, it’s spring break,” said Van Deynze.

“Young people think they’re immune, but they’re actually not. Everybody’s got to play their part.

“If you look at what’s going on, it’s where the population is. So it’s important, whether you’re in Winnipeg or in any city, you’ve just got to stay home.”

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Father and son from California become Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans
Father and son from California become Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans