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April 14: Ventura County officials update supervisors on readiness and response to COVID-19

4 14 POWERS

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors discussed the county's response to COVID-19 at its April 14 meeting. The videotaped meeting can be viewed at https://ventura.granicus.com/player/clip/5410?view_id=67

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said he will be extending his earlier Stay Well at Home orders to May 15 and modifying them. They were set to expire April 19. Dr. Levin's comments may be viewed at the 27-minute time stamp of the video and conclude at the 1:04 time stamp.

 

 

County Executive Officer Mike Powers, pictured left, reports that the county of Ventura is proceeding on a parallel path with Ventura County Public Health extending Stay Well at Home Order and discussing how to reopen the economy, in partnership with the state of California leadership.

— "Reopening will be phased, gradual and Public Health-guided."

— Enhancing investiments in Public Health system, including testing and immunity testing.

— Enhanced communicable disease tracking to see how much spread in our community.

— Physical distancing for vulnerable populations will still be necessary.

 

Rigoberto Vargas, director of Ventura County Public Health Department of the Ventura County Health Care Agency:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today's preliminary numbers of increased people testing positive is more than 10.

There are also additional deaths.

Our numbers overall are good — not as bad as we thought they would be — it continues to be a big challenge. Continue to stay vigilant. Need to shelter as much as we can.

In data today, hope to include race and ethnicity.

 Of those in ICU, highest number has been 12. Average last five days is between eight and 10.

Around April 17 is when, as a state, there is expected to be a surge in confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. 

 

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin — a resident of Ojai:

 The bulk of what I want to speak about this morning is what Mike Powers was suggesting is our exit strategy — how we will ease out of this situation we findi ourselves in. Do have in mind, we are expected to experience a surge next week. I cannot predict what will happen. The optimistic part of me is we willl continue to stay flat. We do have to prepare for worst.

Next modifed Ventura County Public Health Stay Well at Home Order would be extended to May 15.

 

Supervisor Steve Bennett:

Four more weeks of staying at home, but not as we are now, but with gradual opening

 

Dr. Levin:

Will follow governor's lead for major changes. But will make little changes with this new order that will begin April 20.

Supervisor Kelly Long:

May 15 might not be the end (of stay-at-home orders). Depends on the health of the community.

 

Dr. Levin:

In terms of reopening of nonessential business, we will look to governor because that has to be coordinated across the state.

 

Supervisor Linda Parks:

How much will tests costs?

 

Mr. Vargas:

County not charging for testing. Private labs charging about $200 per test

 

Steve Carroll, head of county Emergency Medical Services:

Seeing increase in acuity. 
Instances of unprotected exposures has decreased.
22 positive cases in hopsital
48 cases COVID-19 being evaluated.
150 ventilators in county.
Getting 50 this week.
Expecting another shipment of about 100.
206 beds
18 ventilators in skilled nursing facilities.
Several isolation beds.
Social services virtual site visits of skilled nursing facilities.
Guidance for long-term care facilties being developed.
Over 500,000 N95 masks have been distributed, along with tens of thousands of other supplies of personal protective equipment to area hospitals.
 

Dr. John Fankhouser, head of Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital:

A lot of activity every day.
Experience signifcant dip of volume.
25 percent dip in in-patient population since all elective surgeries canceled to preserve personal protective equipment, protecting staff. Look at threshold for restarting elective surgeries.
50 percent dip in Emergency Department visits
Using electronic resources, including QR sign-in and out of patient rooms.
Started to decontaminate N95 masks, with hopes we won't have to use them, but implemented using Duke University protocol of decontamination in our sterile processing unit.
Tent goes over patients as moved from place to place.
Plastic being used to create protective gowns.
Continue to look for PAPERS, which are hoods. Look for either source of PAPERS or reproduce in another manner.
Significant amount of testing using test that allows for results in 2 to 3 hours.
Test everyone with surgery.
Got Abbott testing that gives results within 15 minutes that we will be able to use soon.
Hope to broaden our testing, including obstetrics patients.
CMO Flossi exploring antibody testing for Ventura County.
All encouraged by the flattening of the curve, recognizing this is going to be a long-term process. 

 

CEO Powers:

Elective surgeries canceled throughout county hospitals.
CARES Act provides revenue for lost income.

 

Supervisor Bennett:

Asks about getting plasma from people who have recovered.
Is there an active effort to find people who have recovered and donate plasma?

 

Dr. Fankhauser:

Patient in Ventura County did receive plasma.
Develop registry of those patients who would be willing to give.
Site on VCemergency.com so people can register to give plasma if needed to be called upon. People can sign up to donate at vcemergency.com at: https://www.vcemergency.com/donate/plasma
Staff following up with patients who have been discharged to see if they are interested in giving plasma.
Antibody level not always correlated with severity of disease.

 

Dr. Theresa Cho, Ventura County Ambulatory Care Medical Center director:

Preparing for possible surge at hospitals. Important to have enough staff.
We continue to look at ways to test more patients. There is a lack of swabs and test tubes to put the swabs in.
Looking at building our own devices. Could have a plastic booth that staff could step into to do testing that would use less PPE.

 

Kim Prillhart, director of county Resource Managment Agency, regarding enforcement of Stay Well at Home Order:

As relates to code enforcement, work daily with cities to make sure Public Health orders followed.
More than 1,600 calls come in to code compliance number. More than 100 calls in as of April 14 that are being responded to.
Referring a lot of calls to the cities. More than 200 referral calls to cities, to date.
Only six COVID-19 compliance orders, signed by Dr. Levin.
Taking in all the comments. Meet with CEO's staff or work to change orders. 

 

County Environmental Health Department Director Charles Genkel:

COVID-19 Compliance hot line for business enforcement is: 805-202-1805 

County Environmental Health number for compliance regarding specifically restaurants and poos is: 805-654-2813

 

4 14 JABVentura County Sheriff Bill Ayub:

Have not had to resort to enforcement to comply with orders.
Largley educational effort.
We had a fairly seminal event for our jail system.
California Judicial Council eneacted emergency order.
Not only to fresh arrests, most misdemanors and low-level felonies.
Zero bail, so everyone is basically arrested and released on zero bail.
Applied retroactively to pretrial.
Identified 77 that were pretrial, eligible for zero bail. They are mostly lower-level offenders.
They still have pending court date. Would normally be jailed until court date. Now released till court date.
Five had some fairly significant pychiatric issues and were placed in appropriate Behavioral Health setting.
Reduced jail population to 1,000.
One-third of jail population out in community.
Number of people in jail will continue to decline.
Currently, 10 inmates tested. Nine are negative, one test result is pending. No positive cases.
Trend in increase in property crimes, vehicle thefts, commercial burglaries. Urge public to be vigilant.
Zero bail is a statewide order.
One-size-fits-all solution to reduce jail populations to reduce spread of coronavirus.
Worry of the revolving door of continued offense. Ability of law enforcement to apply to court for increased bail. Default bail is zero, but can petition for increased bail to hold a person in custody.
Bail order does have sunset clause 90 days after lifting of emergency COVID-19 orders.
For arrestees released under judicial council order, they do not qualify for electronic monitoring.
Currently, 47 on electronic monitoring.
Ventura County opposes one-size-fits-all solution for zero bail order.

 

Patrick Maynard, director of Office of Emergency Services:

Personal protective equipment still scarce.
Working hard to prioritize distribution of equipment.
Receive a number of requests from people outside of essential providers.
Working with California Office of Emergency Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide help to FOOD Share, via FEMA funds. FOOD Share iproviding six times roughly what they normally provide.
Map will go live today on where people can get supplies such as toilet paper and certain grocery items. Always helps for shoppers to get out early to get hard-to-find supplies.

 

Tara Carruth, program manager for the Ventura County Continuum of Care: 

145 homeless people placed in motels.
Working HMIS, collecting data for FEMA and state reimbursement.
Support nonprofit partners providing services to homeless.
Holding special continuum of care meeting Wednesday to use COVID-19 emergency funds from state.
Victoria Jump, director of Ventura County Area Agency on Aging:
As of Sunday, close to 9,000 people on Senior Nutrition Program. Since mid-March more than 100,000 meals provided.
Now providing personal care supplies, such as adult diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.
Transitioning people to the cities of  Ojai, Port Hueneme, Moorpark ...
Response is a couple days from when someone calls to when we can bring them supplies.
Long-term care facility Ombudsmen are staying in touch with facilities and residents, calling facilities weekly, sometimes daily, to see if people are safe in facilities. Will continue till stay-at-home orders lifted.
Supervisor Bennett asked if there could be some face time with patients as a facilities safeguard. Is that possible?
Ms. Jump said she will ask about it and check on number of complaints compared with the previous month.

 

Melissa Livingston, Disabilities and Functional Needs Task Force.

Up to 11,000 well-being calls at call center in last three weeks doing safety, well-being assessments and helping feed people at home.
A COVID-19 patient form is available to assess profile of individuals with disabilities so their needs can be met if they are in the hospital.
Recognizing day-care centers are closed down, so sharing resources through technology.
Senior Concerns is playing bingo through Skype and seniors are enjoying it. Trying to do some of the things that were done before everyone was at home.
Families First Act increased assistance to nutrition programs SNAP and CalFresh, increasing allotments. Saw first payment April 12 to 21,000 cases, which is $3.5 million into our local household and economy. Receiving $167 more than were getting, on average.
California clients will soon be able to order supplies online.
Governor approved release of PPE to in-home support providers for those are disabled or seniors living independently at home. Will receive PPE soon.

 

Rosa Gonzales, director of Farmworker Resource Program:

Increase in calls. Several county nurseries closing.
Problems with price-gouging.
Voluntary Agriculture Essential Farmworkers cards are popular. So far, 12,000 cards have been distributed as of April 14. They are said to be essential workers during COVID-19 in Spanish and English. A successful program.
Program to assist farmworkers with stress and accessing mental-health issues. Will be shared with agriculture workers on Friday.
Ag advisory went out from county Agricultural Commissioner Ed Williams' office this week on sanitation, transportation, etc., for farmworkers.
Collaborative effort of several agencies.
Backpack medicine group will go to fields and provide resource information, including location of county clinics.
Also seen increase in growers reaching out to Farmworker Resouce Program.

 

CEO Powers: Education Task Force:

Meal service continues at school sites. Info available at VCOE.org
Information on how to talk with children about events.

 

CEO Powers: on business

EDCcollaborative.com
Support for independent contractors.
Pacific Western has donated money.

 

Ashley Bautista, county public information officer:

Used social media to reach out to English and Span
1.4 million clicks to Facebook site alone.
215,000 community posts, comments and messages.
Curated a frequently asked questions (FAQ) from those.
32,651 total clicks on Twitter up to April 13.
Vcemergency.com information in English and Spanish, including resources for food.
Radio interviews in morning and afternoon in English and Spanish.
1 p.m. daily videotaped briefing with county officials on county government response to COVID-19.
Will transition from daily to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Great opportunity to get informed on what is going on. All videos are on VCemergency.com.
Team that distributes fliers with school lunches.
Team that helps distribute information in Spanish and English throughout the community.
Really tried to hit all bases, but welcome input from the community.
Opportunity to register for messages at www.VCemergency.com. More than 8,000 registered for daily notifications.

 

Human Resources Director Shawn Atin:

Screening employees at 20 different buidlings.
Worked with OES to get 9,000 masks for front-line employees can protect themselves.
Story of collaboration goes on with all stakeholders. Working with Bautista and Gonzales to determine needs of charitable organizations to assign disaster workers to help with those needs.

 

 

CEO Powers:

Budget impacts are early. County in a good position with strong reserves.
Pension system is being watched.
Property taxes have so far been relatively stable. www.Ventura.org/ttc is site for public to request extension without penalties on property taxes  with extended deadline till July.
Looking for FEMA reimbursements.

 

Supervisor Zaragoza

Thanks to workers.

 

Supervisor Bennett:

Smoothing out pension costs. County wanted to pay more into pension system and succeeded, despite some initial resistance.
Skilled facility complains it cannot buy a refrigerator unless gets permission from Board. Don't think that is consistent with the Public Health Order and would like advice from county counsel Leroy Smith.
Does not make sense to have restriction on appliance sales, for example, someone having to go to laundromat if washer and dryer not working.

 

Supervisor Bob Huber:

Heart goes out to all those laid off. Hope we can assist them.

 

Supervisor Parks:

Appreciate governor has loaned ventilators.
Really interesting discussion about those who are asymptomatic.
Animal shelters are seeing more animals adopted across the country. See if people can adopt more animals online in Ventura County.

 

Supervisor Long:

Honoring public dispatchers.
In 2019, Ventura County Sheriff's Office dispatchers answered more than 369,000 total calls and 126,000 of those, 9-1-1 calls.
Ventura County Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services received 213, 534 calls and 66,794 of those, 9-1-1 calls.
Go to www.FOODshare.com/covid19  to learn about FOOD Share pop-up locations and times.

 

CEO Powers:

Request is in to Congress to extend Census response to Oct. 31, 2020. Ventura County at 54 percent response.

 

2019 General Plan Annual report by Ventura County Planning Department David Ward

Filing date was April 1. It was filed with housing data. Could be some updates from Board of Supervisors April 14. Opportunity to revise report and file it again, due to COVID-19.
2040 General Plan is top priority. Working on setting dates for summer to Planning Commission and then to Board of Supervisors.
Anticipated Noncoastal Zoning Ordinance update to be completed in the fall.
Public response to EIR comments about General Plan to Planning Commission. No schedule yet. Check website and have substantial "interested party" list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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