VC Board of Supervisors discusses COVID-19 response

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Screenshot of Supervisor Kelly Long at Tuesday, Sept. 22, Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting.


The Ventura County Board of Supervisors discusses the county government response to COVID-19 at its Tuesday, Sept. 22, meeting.

Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas discussed the county’s negotiations with the state about how it can more quickly get out of the state’s “purple” tier, which requires the stricter level of Public Health rules.

The meeting started at 8:30 a.m. and can be viewed live at:

 County CEO MIke Powers said that he and Ventura County Public Health Director Dr. Robert Levin had personally "pleaded their case" to California Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly

about why Ventura County officials feel they should be moved from the purple tier.

Levin told the board that the state is working on new guidance for gatherings. "I have personally been resisting to this from a pure infection control point of view."

However, he said that people strive for human interaction.

He said: "I have heard some of the ideas the state is moving forward with guidance on gatherings. These guidances are expected to be less restrictive. Some of the ideas are good and can be practiced safeily. I feel that there's every possibility that I can feel strong about supporting it."


He reported that there are new changes locally, including that long-term-care ombudsmen will be able to visit long-term facilities as will student nurses, who will have to comply with rigorous safety standards, including pre- and post-visit tests.

He also said that restaurants will now be able to be open for service outdoors until 11 p.m. They have had a 10 p.m. closing time before.

He also said candidates can go from door to door for politicking purposes and Dr. Levin suggested the candidates may also include in their politcal messages educational information about COVID-19.


 He said, "Our COVD numbers have gone down" and hosptalizations at 39 today are also low. "If we try, we can make a huge difference," he said. "We are questioning our assumptions about how we are lowering numbers."

He said the county is trying to figure out how to better communicate with the public to slow down the spread. He said the county has been very effective in sampling the areas that are at highest risk, which may be a reason why Ventura County has a higher number of reported cases.


 Twenty-eight waivers received for kindergaretens to open in person and 24 have been approved. One public waiver has been submitted with five grammar schools.

Another public school sytem is considering submitting a waiver. He also talked about "cohorting" with any combination of 16 students and one adult, which is specifically for students who are special needs, English learners or who need special help.

He said one school is opening a "special-needs cohort."

 Supervisor Kelly Long asked about the difference between public and private schools being given waivers to reopen for in-person classes.


He said: "Hopefully, we'll all be open two weeks after we move into red." 

Ventura County Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas said there are 44 new COVID-19 cases reported in Ventura County.


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Snapshot from Sept. 12 and July 11 of rates of COVID-19 in the Ventura County ZIP codes.


When Ventura County Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas described how the various communities were faring with COVID-19 cases, Supervisor Linda Parks suggested that communities that have a lower number of COVID-19 cases be abe to open sooner and not be tied to the metrics for the entire community.

Supervisor John Zaragoza said he hoped the entire county would stick together in lowering COVID-19 numbers to get out of the purple tier.


Chief Deputy Director of the Health Care Agency Barry Zimmerman stated that COVID-19 results from the county's drive-through and walk-through testing sites are available within 24 to 48 hours of people being tested. He said there had been a lag as testing increased, but that there is now a quick turnaround.












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