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Lisa Bartlett - Supervisor, Fifth District
April 3, 2020 Volume 7 Issue 17
Temporary Isolation Facility in Laguna Woods

Many of you have written and called to share your concerns with me regarding the use of Ayres Hotel in Laguna Woods to house homeless individuals who test positive, or are presumed positive, for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please know that I fully understand and share the very same concerns you have, given Laguna Woods' unique community and most vulnerable population. Although I would never have chosen Laguna Woods as the site for this particular facility, I also do not have the authority to prevent its use.

The Ayres Hotel in Laguna Woods.

My main priority has always been and will continue to be to keep all our residents in Orange County safe and healthy. However, there has been a lot of misinformation regarding this issue, which I think is very important to address. Please allow me to share the following facts:

1. In response to the Governor’s Shelter-in-Place Executive Order, the County, through the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), is partnering with cities and motel owners throughout Orange County to secure sheltering in an appropriate recovery setting for homeless individuals who have tested positive, or are presumed positive, for COVID-19. This was not a decision of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, but rather the direction of the EOC.

2. Following an exhaustive search of several city facilities and motels throughout South County, Ayres Hotel was the only facility that met the specific isolation requirements and was willing to enter into an agreement with the County.

3. South County is home to individuals who are homeless and who may be at significant risk of contracting COVID-19. Left unattended and free to roam the community during this pandemic only increases the risk of more widespread community transmission.

4. Isolating and quarantining these individuals will not only enable them to receive the care they need, but also go a long way toward minimizing community transmission.

5. The intent is for only homeless individuals located in South County to have access to this facility.

6. The County’s contract service provider will provide the following at each site:

  • Initial medical assessment and ongoing medical case management
  • Transportation
  • Support Services (including on-site meals)
  • 24/7 on-site staffing and security (4 security guards per shift).
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff and client distribution
  • Coordination of discharge transitions

7. All individuals entering the facility will receive an initial medical assessment and will be required to follow self-quarantine protocols, including staying inside their room. No loitering or leaving the facility will be permitted. 

8. Those who don’t follow such protocols will be required to leave the facility and will be provided transportation to an alternative placement option.

9. No visitors will be allowed onsite to ensure clients are following self-quarantine/isolation protocols.

10. Individuals will only be permitted to leave the premises via van transport if the need for re-location to an alternative shelter site or hospitalization occurs.

Needless to say, this is a very trying time for all of us. I hope this information helps to alleviate some of the fear and anxiety you may be feeling at this time.

Please be assured that I will continue to represent and advocate for the people of Laguna Woods and the 5th District to ensure every precaution is being taken to provide the highest level of protection through the EOC and the site’s contracted services provider.

For more information, please click here.

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COVID-19 Orange County Case Counts by Cities

The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) continues to release the daily COVID-19 case counts by cities in Orange County, in addition to the cumulative cases and deaths to date in Orange County. As of today, HCA is reporting 711 positive cases in Orange County and 13 deaths.

To provide more inclusive reporting and case distribution throughout Orange County, positive COVID-19 cases by city now includes incorporated cities and unincorporated areas of the county. Please note the following changes:

  • Previously, cities with a population <25,000 and fewer than 5 cases, were listed in the table with no case count number. These cities will be removed from the table until the case count reaches 5 or more; this currently includes Laguna Woods, Los Alamitos and Villa Park.
  • Going forward, unincorporated areas will be treated the same as incorporated cities; if population >25,000, the area is now included on the table with case count and if <25,000 and fewer than 5 cases, they are included in the “other” category until its case count reaches 5 or more.
  • In order to make this change, cases which were previously reported to a city, but are actually located in an unincorporated area, will be reassigned to the appropriate area. This means that some cities may see a reduction in case counts.

Please be advised that the city data is reflective of where cases live, not necessarily where transmission occurred. Additionally, city numbers should not be interpreted to reflect where transmission is geographically focused or not, as COVID-19 is present in all communities in Orange County.

Case counts are also not reflective of all disease transmission in any given community because testing is prioritized for those at greatest risk or most sick. Asymptomatic and persons with mild disease may not be reflected due to not being tested.

Because transmission occurs throughout the County, it is important for all residents to practice social-distancing as directed by the Governor and the Orange County Health Officer regardless of the case count in their city. Doing so will help to reduce the spread of infection, ease the burden on our hospital and healthcare system, and protect those most vulnerable in our county.

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COVID-19 County of Orange Resource Directory

I'm pleased to report the County of Orange has consolidated the information and links to various local, state and federal resources that are available to residents and businesses. We thought this was a good idea, since the County currently provides this information across various department webpages. To view our new central resources page, please click here.  

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Recieve Text Message Alerts on COVID-19 in OC

Residents can sign up to receive text message updates related to COVID-19 in Orange County. To opt-in for this service, text OCCOVID19 to 888777.

The County of Orange Emergency Operations Center has collaborated with Everbridge Nixle to launch this one-way alert system as an additional option for community members to receive the latest news and resources related to COVID-19. Text message updates will be provided daily from the County of Orange Emergency Operations Center during its activation.

Residents who have questions about an update can contact the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085 between 9 AM and 6 PM daily. For more information, click here.

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Toll-Free Hotline for COVID-19 County Resources

Residents can now call (833) 426-6411 for inquiries related to COVID–19 in Orange County. This hotline will provide resources specific to the Orange County COVID-19 response.

Through the hotline, callers can be connected to the following County of Orange agencies:

  • Orange County Health Care Agency – Health Referral Line, Behavioral Health Resources
  • Orange County Social Services Agency – Risk Benefits
  • Orange County Office on Aging – Resources for Seniors
  • Orange County District Attorney’s Office – Scams, Price Gouging
  • County of Orange Emergency Operations Center Hotline – Non-Medical Questions

Residents who have questions about COVID-19 can contact the Orange County COVID-19 Hotline at any time, but individual hotline hours will vary. The Orange County COVID-19 Hotline can be reached at (833) 426-6411.

The Orange County Health Care Agency website has information that is regularly updated regarding the status of COVID-19 in Orange County.

For information about COVID-19 in the State of California, please visit their website.

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OC to Follow State Guidelines for Wearing Masks
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Property Tax Penalty Relief Allowed by State Law
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Property Tax Penalty Cancellation Requests
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For more information, please click here.
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OC Senior Nutrition Program Updated Services
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COVID-19 Resources for Families with Children
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Letter to the Community from OC Public Libraries
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Rest Assured, Your Tap Water is Safe & Reliable
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For South County water providers, click here.
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FAA Tower Closure at John Wayne Airport

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has advised John Wayne Airport (JWA) that a JWA Air Traffic Controller is unconfirmed but presumed positive for COVID-19.

Out of precaution, the FAA tower at John Wayne Airport is closed, and the FAA will handle all air traffic through a regional control center. The general aviation runway at JWA is currently closed, and the commercial runway remains open.

For more information on FAA facilities affected by COVID-19, click here and here.

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How OCTA is Responding to COVID-19 Pandemic

While continuing to put safety first, as of March 23, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has taken the following steps in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • OCTA has temporarily reduced bus service to the Sunday service levels until further notice in response to lower ridership and to minimize risk to the drivers and public. OC ACCESS paratransit service continues to operate as usual for those who require the service. OCTA continues cleaning all buses every night with anti-viral disinfectant and with an enhanced focus on cleaning surfaces that are touched most frequently. A video on cleaning procedures was produced and shared with the public.
  • Construction on the I-405 Improvement Project, OC Streetcar and I-5 improvements continue because highway and rail infrastructure projects have been designated a critical service. Efforts are being made to expedite work during this time because of low traffic.
  • To minimize risk for employees and the public, OCTA Store hours have been temporarily reduced to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many services provided by the store are also available online.
  • OCTA employees who are able to work from home have been doing so since mid-March and an internal COVID-19 Action Task Force has been meeting daily to share updates and make decisions. The agency has also been involved in the County’s Emergency Operations Center and is assisting in decisions pertaining to transportation.

In addition, on March 27 the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2 trillion economic aid package that includes $25 billion in emergency funding for public transportation.

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County Warns of Potential COVID-19 Scams
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Early Release of Sentenced Inmates from OC Jail
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OCSD to Identify Kidnapping and Assault Suspect
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County of Orange Mental Resiliency Resources

As the spread and far reaching impacts of COVID-19 dominate the world news, we have all witnessed and experienced the parallel spread of worry, anxiety, and uncertainty. The way to overcome this natural tendency is to build our mental resilience, the ability to refocus, clear our minds, and discard negative thoughts.

Here's what you can do:

1) Remember that knowledge is power. Understanding the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more than, understanding the virus. There is great information available on the OC Health Care Agency website

2) Don’t accept everything you read or hear. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread, severity, risk assessment, etc., on their website

3) Get your emotional support system in place:

  • Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible; take care of your basic needs and employ helpful coping strategies; rest during work or between shifts, eat healthy food and engage in physical activity.
  • Stay connected with friends and family, even virtually connected, and maintain your social networks.
  • Have the emails and phone numbers of close friends and family handy.

4) Take control and incorporate preventative measures

  • See the CDC’s list of preventative measures.
  • The constant stream of news reports can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Instead, seek updates and practical guidelines at intervals during the day.
  • Be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.

If you or a loved one are feeling anxiety, worry or fear related to the social disruption caused by COVID-19, you can also reach out to these resources for support:

For general information about COVID-19, please call the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, HCA website, or follow HCA on Facebook and Twitter.

For non-medical questions, contact the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085. 

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Executive Order Protects Renters & Homeowners

Governor Gavin Newsom last week issued an executive order, banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts.

The Governor's order also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19. For more information, click here.

Agreement to Support Student Instruction

Governor Gavin Newsom this week also announced a major agreement between teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to work together to provide distance learning to California’s students as a result of school closures due to mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 outbreak.

This announcement comes as state officials announced California’s public K-12 school campuses are expected to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. For more information, click here.

Fairview Developmental Center Alternative Care Site

CalOES has announced that the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa will serve as an alternate care site to relieve stress on hospitals in the surrounding region.

This site will be staffed by state medical personnel and integrated into the local health system. Admissions to the Fairview site will be determined by local medical providers with an emphasis on moving patients who require monitoring and low to medium levels of care.

The opening of the site will free up beds at traditional hospitals to serve patients with more severe diagnoses. For more information, click here.

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President Trump Signs $2.2 Trillion CARES Act

Last week, President Trump signed into law $2.2 trillion in federal assistance to respond to the economic and public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation, titled "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act," represents the third phase of coronavirus aid from Congress and is now the single largest economic rescue package in U.S. history.

Click here to read the full summary of the newly enacted law provided by the National Association of Counties (NACo).

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U.S. Census Bureau Extends 2020 Deadlines

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau has extended several of their timelines by 2 to 3 weeks. This includes their final data collection deadline, which was moved from July 31 to August 14. With the new timelines, the earliest the Bureau would have people knocking on doors is May 13 (for college towns) and May 28 (for the rest of the population).

The Census Bureau had also planned to conduct a Point-In-Time (PIT) count of homeless populations from March 30 to April 1; however, this has also been delayed by a month to lower the risk of contagion.

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For questions or comments regarding my E-Newsletter, please contact my office staff at (714) 834-3550 or email my Community Relations Advisor, Sergio Prince, at .
In This Issue
Doug Woodyard
Chief of Staff

James Dinwiddie
Deputy Chief of Staff

Sara May
Senior Policy Advisor

Yasie Goebel
Policy Advisor

Sergio Prince
Community Relations Advisor

Megan Dutra
Communications Advisor

Pauline Colvin
Executive Assistant

Rosemary Conteras
Staff Aide

Stay Updated!
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