Ventura County supervisors discuss response to COVID-19

7 28 20 BOS

Vanessa Bechtel of the Ventura County Community Foundation gave a presentation, including this photo, of how the community is working to help everyone get counted for the 2020 Census, during the supervisors' "Moment of Inspiration."



The Ventura County Board of Supervisors is meeting on Tuesday, July 28, starting at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the local response to COVID-19. The meeting is live-streamed at:

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors started hearing the COVID-19 update from Public Health officials at approximately 3:50 p.m., as time-certain agenda items are running longer than anticipated.

The meeting can also be viewed at .

 The Ojai Valley News is reporting on the meeting as it is occurring.
The meeting will be recorded and available for viewing later in the day.

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin

He said the COVID-19 numbers that should concern us are the numbers of deaths and the numbers of available ICU beds and ventilators.
He said there are three weapons to address a surge:
— Contact tracing of those infected and their close contacts.
— The public, maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, staying home when sick, not going out unnecessarily. Although Ventura County is doing better than neighboring counties, we have to do even better.
— State's orders to close businesses that encourage gatherings where COVID might be transmitted.
"As far as school waivers go, I have received a number of requests for schools to have an exception made for them." He said the requests are driven by the state of urgency many feel. However, he said he is telling those requesting waivers to be allowed to open school for in-person classes that, "due to the surge, I am not considering waiver requests at this time because the rules with waivers are set by the state."
Finally, I see all of this COVID-19 nightmare ending is with a vaccine. First trial of a vaccine started yesterday.
Supervisor Kelly Long said her office has been getting a lot of questions about school waivers.
She said she appreciates the clarity from Dr. Levin for public and private schools.
Ventura County Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas:
— 66 additional cases
— 1 additional death for a total of 71 who have died with COVID-19.
— 1,200 more residents tested, approaching 13% of county residents who have been tested.
 — 86 people hospitalized.
He reported that 221 of some 300 people surveyed with COVID-19 attended large family gatherings, where they might have gotten infected.


There are 65 public comments. Many are from nonprofit Coastal Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) and  Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), asking for the Ventura County Public Health to ask to make Cal-OSHA guidance enforceable and have regular inspections in agricultural operations for COVID-19 safety precautions for farmworkers.

The agenda can be viewed at:


The board voted to approve a contract effective Aug. 1 through June 30, with Mixteco/lndigena Community Organizing Project (M1COP), a nonprofit corporation, to provide Medi-Cal Health Navigator Outreach and Enrollment Services in an amount not to exceed $880,489.

The contract may be viewed at:



Robert Atkinson

Proactively support Assembly Bill ACR-196 to end the state of emergency and terminate Gov. Gavin Newsom's emergency powers.


Victor C. Espinosa

Protect the health and safety of farmworkers in Ventura. The county should do more — much more.

The county should hold growers accountable ... for unhealth work environments.  


Speakers about needs for mental-health improvements in Ventura County. 

 After several people spoke about their concerns about the care their severely mentally ill loved ones were receiving in Ventura County, County CEO Michael Powers introduced Dr. John Fankhauser, CEO of Ventura County Medical Center, to address the issue.


Dr. John Fankhauser, CEO of Ventura County Medical Center

We recognize our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable in our community.

He said he is a sibling of a person with mental-health issues during her life.

Coordination between in-patient and outpatient services are better than they have ever been during his tenure at the hospital.

Ventura County is committed to continue to improve the care we do provide.

Ventura County Behavioral Health does respond not only to the case referenced in public comments, but to each case.

Behavioral Health is providing the care that is needed, recognizing it is frustrating to care for these chronic illneses.

Thank you as a board for improving the expansion of our inpatient beds by 20 percent and doubling our beds in our crisis stabilization unit.


Twenty public comments on creating county workforce agreement.

 The agenda item reads:

Direct staff to study the advantages and disadvantages of the use of a Community Workforce Agreement for certain county and dependent special district Public Works projects and report back with recommendations for implementation of a Community Workforce Agreement to the Board of Supervisors by Sept. 15.

Many comments were submitted to the Board of Supervisors at:

John Zaragoza said the plan is to improve the standard of living of thousands of constituents in Ventura County by allowing them to get training in construction.

 Lori Bennett

Construction industry is growing and busy. A community workforce agreement will not make more current work available. It will increase the cost of projects. Keep more construction projects for local workforce.

 Keep funds focused on middle and high schools.


Elias Garcia, Southern California region Associated Regional Contractors

Allow contractors to be at the table to negotiate.

Tony Skinner, executive secretary, 

Agreements like this work.

Pre-apprenticeship program being planned. 


 Amy Fonzo, on behalf of CRC

Support CWA.



Scott Zimmerman

Support Community Workforce Agreement. 


Anthony Ventura

Supports CWA


Anthony Morales,

Trying to find programs to put Ventura County residents to work. Supports CWA.


Jesus Torres

County has opportunity to address systemic inequality by using a CWA to create job opportunities on Public Works projects.


Jose Garcia, Laborers 585

Move forward and pass CWA.


The supervisors voted 3 to 2 to bring back a staff report on a Community Workforce Agreement, with Supervisors Huber and Parks opposing.


7 28 20 RIgoberto

Ventura County Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas discussed COVID-19.numbers in Ventura County.











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