Coronavirus map

Map of COVID-19 infections as of March 17, 2020.

Rollie column

Rollie Atkinson

As a community that has endured devastating wildfires and a historic flood, we have learned the value of accurate and timely information. The current public health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes active cases in Sonoma County, is proving to be another supreme test for all of us inside and outside of our local news organizations.

We urge all of our readers and the local public to follow the many official notices, orders and breaking news so as to maintain public safety, disease prevention and civil practices.

We recommend everyone to "bookmark" the local official information sources of local governments, the county public health office and the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) All of these information sources are available at no charge at our newspaper's websites (sonomawest.com.)

News reporters have been declared "essential" personnel as Sonoma County and the state of California are now placed under strict "shelter in place" orders. We will continue to report on this health crisis and its many social and economic impacts. We will work alongside our local public health officials, government leaders and law enforcement to provide the same accurate and timely news we provided in past local disasters. Most of our reporting will be provided at our websites and other social media channels. For now, we plan to maintain our weekly newspaper production and distribution schedule. Please watch our website for any updated plans.

None of us yet know the eventual duration or full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that Sonoma County faces. There is no way for journalists or anyone else to fully predict the outcome of this story. All we can do, as both readers and reporters, is to practice and support factual and open communication. To that end, we urge our readers to submit news alerts, questions or items of general interest via email to Sonoma West editor Laura Hagar at laura@sonomawest.com.

— Rollie Atkinson, Publisher

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