By Devin Fehely

MILPITAS (KPIX) — Senior citizens, a group that’s proven especially vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak, are expressing concern that aggressive public health measures aimed at slowing the spread of the disease may limit access to vital programs intended for their physical and social well-being.

Eight-two-year-old Cecilia House says she visits the Barbara Lee Senior Center in Milpitas weekly to play cards and socialize with friends. She’s following all of the suggestions of public health officials and hopes the outbreak won’t force the center to close.

“A lot of my friends, they come every day for lunch. And it’s their main meal for the day,” said 82-year-old Cecilia House. “So, that would be a big concern.”

The city of Milpitas announced they have cancelled large classes and activities at the senior center. On Monday, Milpitas says it plans to cancel its in-person lunch daily program and offer delivery options instead.

“We are trying to be proactive. We don’t want to want until there is an outbreak before we should done a program. And we are being mindful of people who need access to these services like the lunch program,” says Ashwini Kantak, the Assistant City Manager.

The center offers fitness programs, art classes and a meal program. Many seniors say the center and the activities it offers are vital to their physical, mental and social well-being.

“I just started the fitness program. And it’s for my health. I need to lose weight. And I need to strengthen my core,” says Kathy Littleton. Littleton says she believes closing the center without a known coronavirus case would be, in her opinion, premature. And she’s not alone.

“I personally think that if you keep your personal hygiene up and wash your hands a lot like the CDC says then you’ll be OK,” Francis Huang who takes art classes at the center.

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