The number of coronavirus cases in Merced County may be low compared to other parts of the state, but that is no reason for us ignore the crisis in our community. With a high volume of farm workers and people of color in Merced County, we must ensure that resources are being deployed equitably. If you are worried about how to take care of food or your family during the COVID-19 pandemic, use this list of resources to help you get through these challenging times.
Who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Anyone working or living in San Joaquin County who is 12 or older can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Children aged 12 to 17 are only approved for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is for people 18 and older. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is for people 18 and older. Vaccinations for people younger than 12 will start as soon as the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for them.
How do I know if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?
The Federal Drug and Administration (FDA) works to make sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible through careful testing. So far, the FDA has provided emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines and full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Although the vaccines are new, the process for ensuring vaccine safety is not new. All vaccines must meet strict safety standards before being released to the public. Many thousands of adults of different ages and races volunteered for clinical trials to test the COVID-19 vaccines, and more than 170 million Americans are fully vaccinated. The FDA and others continue to track side effects and watch for any safety concerns.
Do I need to be a California resident to get COVID-19 vaccine?
No. Vaccine distribution is based on eligibility, not residency or immigration status.
I'm ready to get vaccinated. When and where can I make an appointment?
You can book an appointment for yourself or your child (must be 12 or older) through My Turn or by calling California’s COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255. You can also call your family doctor, local community health clinic or public health office for more information.
I need a COVID-19 test. Where can I get one?
The county maintains an updated list of testing sites on its website. Virtual urgent care visits are also being offered for free by Dignity Health for patients experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
Meals and food support
How can I get help with food?
How are local stores assisting the vulnerable members of our community?
These stores have established special hours and/or services to help vulnerable groups such as seniors and pregnant or expectant mothers:
- Costco (Merced): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-9am (dedicated for people over 60 years old or who have physical disabilities)
- Dollar General:
- Merced: Daily 7-8am (Will be set aside for vulnerable groups. Note: The general population will be allowed to shop also; store is looking to set up specific checkout lines)
- Planada: Daily 8-9am (will be set aside for vulnerable groups)
- Winton: Daily 8-9am (Will be set aside for vulnerable groups. Note: At Planada and Winton locations, the general population will be allowed to shop also. However, vulnerable groups will be allowed to move to front of the lines.)
- Food 4 Less (Atwater, Los Banos and Merced): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-7am (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Food Maxx: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9am (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Liberty Market (Delhi): No specific hours for vulnerable groups. Will deliver groceries until 6pm to seniors who are 65 years of age and older. No limit on amount of groceries. Must show proof of residency.
- Raley’s (Merced): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8-9am (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Rancho Market (Le Grand): Daily 6-7pm (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Rancho San Miguel (Merced and Livingston): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-7am (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Save Mart (Atwater, Los Banos and Merced): Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9am (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- State Food Super Market (Dos Palos): Daily 7-8pm (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Target (Atwater, Los Banos and Merced): Wednesdays 8-9am (dedicated for seniors and those with compromised health)
- Wal Mart: Tuesdays (April 24-March 28) 6-7am (dedicated for people 60 years of age and older)
I’m worried about how to take care of my kids' education on my own?
Most schools are closed until further notice during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some resources to help students stay active in learning or find scholarships to further their education:
- Caring Kids’ Playgroup: Join this live online playgroup for children and parents every weekday at noon. Connect on Zoom. To get free Internet during the playgroup, visit the Merced County Office of Education website.
- Golden Valley Health Centers: Offering scholarships for nursing students. Visit the organization’s website for more information.
What services are available for immigrants?
Here are the highlights of California’s undocumented stimulus package:
- Funds managed by CDSS and nonprofits that already have a contract with the state
- Nonprofits will be chosen and announced May 1
- Eligible applicants can receive $500 per person and a maximum of $1,000 per household
- Eligible applicants must be:
- Ineligible for any federal assistance (including CARES)
- Must have a documented COVID-19-related hardship
- Application process and additional information will be given in May
Support for congregations
I'm worried about my congregation. What should I do?
With event cancellations, reduced foot traffic, self-quarantining and work-from-home policies, we know that the coronavirus crisis is affecting congregations all over the place. Use this spreadsheet to find guidance on what your congregation can do to best respond during the COVID-19 pandemic.