BREAKING NEWS March 31: Ventura County Public Heath Officer Dr. Robert Levin warns that as many as 1,000 county residents could die from COVID-19

3 31 LEVINVentura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin made a report at the Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 31, warning that as many as 1,000 Ventura County residents could die from COVID-19.

Dr. Levin said it will take three to seven weeks before COVID-19 peaks in Ventura County.

He made the comment at the 40-minute time stamp of the Board of Supervisors' March 31 meeting.


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Dr. Levin said Public Health orders restricting activities have had a positive effect on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Ventura County.

He said that although Ventura County, overall, is doing well in social distancing, especially in comparison with other California counties, a number of places are not doing what needs to be done, and some individuals not doing what they need to do, to socially distance.

He continued: "This thing is important. We are facing a tsunami of cases. We saw 20-some odd new cases yesterday. That might seem small in a couple three weeks when we are seeing 200 or 400 in a day. That's going to have a huge impact on our hospitals; it's going to have a huge impact on our death rate. We have approximately 12 people who have died this year from influenza in our county. Our biggest year that I know of in the last 21 years was two years ago when we had 49 people that died from influenza.


"We could potentially have a thousand people die in our county from COVID.

"Now the actions we're taking we hope will curtail that and diminish that significantly. But this is not influenza. This is much more serious. And we have to take it seriously. And it starts with us and keeping ourselves from getting this infection. Because if we don't get it and everybody else has the same attitude, we're going to really snuff this out. And we need to do that.

"Yesterday, the Health Department, we spoke with hospitals and told them that we really want them to have holding areas for COVID-19- positive patients." He explained that those holding units would be for patients who are well enough not to be in a hospital bed, but who can't be released for one reason or another, such as possibly still being contagious.

"We need a capacity to have a 50 to a 100 percent surge in our county. So If we've got 1,200 or 1,300 beds in our county, we need to have the ability to take care of 2,500, perhaps, sick people, and it may be more than that. We don't know yet. We just need to be ready. I think it's better for us to overdo it, to have too much capacity than too little."

He said it is possible that separate wings of long-term care facilities — separate from the facilities' residents — could be used to house some hospital patients who are recovering, but still COVID-19 positive, in order to open up extra hospital beds.

Dr. Levin emphasized the importance of caring for older residents, who are most likely to die from COVID-19. He then spoke of three semis filled with personal protective equipment for healthcare workers arriving in Ventura County recently, although he noted there is still a shortage. "You have to ask ourselves," he said, "what an amazing country we have. Where do we come up with this? How do we do this? Then we have to ask ourselves: Who gave us this remarkable country? And I think we have to say— our elders did — so I think we owe it to them."


 The recorded video of the meeting is at the link below:


Rigoberto Vargas, Public Health director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, said there have been more than 1,500 calls to the 2-1-1 information line.

Steve Carroll, administrator of Ventura County Emergency Medical Services, said that emergency medical technicians are now wearing personal protective equipment for all patient contacts.

He also reported that about 50 ventilators are being taken out of storage for Ventura County hospitals, and he is seeking more, although they are few and far between.

He said hospitals are working on increasing their number of beds and that cots are being collected to add more capacity.



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