First emergency COVID-19 letter to Board of Supervisors




This is being sent to the OC Board of Supervisors today, with a variety of signatories, originating from OC Community Response Team, CHISPA, and Viet Rise:

Monday, March 16, 2020

OC Board of Supervisors
333 W Santa Ana Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92701


Dear OC Board of Supervisors Chair Michelle Steel, Vice Chair Andrew Do, Donald P. Wagner, Doug Chaffee, and Lisa Bartlett:

We are writing as concerned Orange County residents, teachers, students, medical professionals, non-profit leaders, community organizations, and more to call on you, the OC Board of Supervisors, to take action regarding the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak immediately.

We are disappointed that the County Health Department, on their March 12 call, did not announce any actionable plan or a clear timeline of next steps to prevent the spread of transmission across the county, provide immediate and accessible free testing for all residents regardless of insurance or immigration status, nor were there any immediate plans to protect renters and small businesses from evictions, utility shut offs, and rent increases.

This is a time for the OC Board of Supervisors to take immediate action. We are calling on you to protect and provide resources for communities that are deeply impacted by this pandemic, including immigrants and Asian residents that have been impacted by increasing acts of racism and xenophobia in this county.

We are calling on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to:

1) PROVIDE TRANSPARENT PLANNING AND GOVERNANCE: Be transparent and provide frequent updates to all Orange County residents about all planning related to containing the virus. Communicate this information directly with all healthcare clinics and organizations that serve a large population of the community to ensure all residents are receiving the facts and updates on all county government plans related to COVID-19. Provide a direct line for questions that residents can utilize easily. Provide all information in multiple languages.

2) MAKE VIRUS TEST-KITS ACCESSIBLE AND TEST RESIDENTS IMMEDIATELY: Provide a plan and process for all residents to be tested immediately and receive immediate care afterward to prevent further spread of transmissions. Provide adequate free test kits to clinics and drive-up test centers within cities for all residents, regardless of insurance and immigration status, so all residents can be tested and treated immediately.

3) IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM ON RENT INCREASES, UTILITY SHUT OFFS, EVICTIONS, AND FORECLOSURES: Protect renters and working class residents by enacting an immediate moratorium on rent increases, late fees, and evictions for renters and small businesses. Prevent all utility shut offs. Provide emergency rental or mortgage assistance.

4) PROVIDE DIRECT CARE AND TESTING FOR HOMELESS, SENIOR, AND DISABLED RESIDENTS: Cities with high-density public housing buildings should dispatch teams, or create “clinic hours” on site to ensure that houseless, elderly and disabled residents who may have difficulty seeking medical care have access to it. If this is not possible, at a minimum, make sure public housing authorities are coordinating with local health providers to get important information to all residents.

5) PREVENT VIRUS SPREADING AND PROTECT THOSE IN COUNTY PRISON AND CITY JAILS: Medical teams must be dispatched to jails, prisons, halfway houses, and other locked facilities to assess and treat patients. Physicians on-site must have the authority to dictate necessary changes in facility conditions in order to treat the sick and stem the spread of the illness. Iran has temporarily released 54,000 imprisoned people to prevent COVID-19 from spreading like wildfire through the country’s prison system, creating new outbreaks and new geographic concentrations of the disease.

We urge you to issue a public plan and take efficient and aggressive measures to ensure all residents receive this information immediately.


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