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Lisa Bartlett - Supervisor, Fifth District
May 15, 2020 Volume 7 Issue 23
HEART Plan Delivers Lifeline to Orange County
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Parking at Regional & Wilderness Parks to Reopen

I'm pleased to report the County of Orange is joining neighboring Counties in modifying restrictions for responsible use of our parks, and reopening the parking lots at all Orange County regional and wilderness parks is the first step.

Pursuant to the Board of Supervisors direction and in consultation with Dr. Nichole Quick, County Health Officer, the parking lots and restrooms will reopen to the public tomorrow morning, Saturday, May 16. Parking was originally closed March 25, following the State of California’s stay-at-home order, but parks and trails have remained open for walk-in visitors.

Caspers Wilderness Park

Individual campsites at the County’s two camping parks, Caspers Wilderness Park and O’Neill Regional Park, will also be open with reduced capacity. These will only initially be available on a first-come, first-served basis with no advance reservations accepted.

Laguna Niguel Regional Park

The parking lots reopening are at the following regional parks: Carbon Canyon, Clark, Craig, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Mason, Mile Square, O’Neill, Peters Canyon, Santiago Oaks, Tri-City, Wieder and Yorba regional parks. Parking is also opening at Aliso and Wood Canyons, Caspers, Laguna Coast, Riley, Whiting Ranch wilderness parks and Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Irvine Lake is also reopening for fishing.

We ask that all visitors follow physical distancing, handwashing and public health guidelines and to avoid areas and trails that may be crowded with other users.

 Heritage Hill Historical Park

Some amenities will remain closed, including playgrounds, picnic shelters and nature centers. Interior facilities, including the OC Zoo and historical parks also remain closed. The grounds of Heritage Hill Historical Park will reopen, the buildings themselves will remain closed. Parking at County beaches remains closed, but County beaches other than Thousand Steps remain open for active recreation.

Modified operations are subject to change and will be adjusted as Federal, State and Local orders change. Please visit for the latest information regarding park closures and operations.

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Observing National Peace Officers Memorial Day

Today, on National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and everyday, we honor those brave men and women of law enforcement who put their lives on the line to protect others and tragically lost their lives in the process. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our peace officers are putting themselves at an unprecedented risk. Many peace officers across our state and country have devastatingly succumbed to the virus. They took an oath to protect and serve, no matter how dangerous the circumstances, and they did so willingly and proudly.

Please take a moment today to remember those peace officers we have lost, as well as those who continue to put their lives on the line every single day and night to keep the rest of us safe. 

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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 4,125 positive cumulative cases and 84 deaths in Orange County, including 212 currently hospitalized with 78 in ICU.

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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County of Orange COVID-19 Testing Network

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) recently launched the OC COVID-19 Testing Network, which offers COVID-19 testing to Orange County residents who meet the criteria detailed below.

The Network coordinates and expands testing across Orange County to create a safety net for any community member who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms but is unable to receive testing through a health care provider.

“We have partnered with an initial set of community health centers who are performing FDA-approved PCR testing, the most reliable testing available to detect current infection,” said Dr. Nichole Quick, County Health Officer. “The OC Health Care Agency will continue to work diligently to expand this network by bringing more locations online in the days and weeks to come.”

The PCR test identifies if someone is currently infected from a sample taken with a swab. It is not a blood test, nor does it test for antibodies. Residents with symptoms of COVID-19, which generally include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, should first contact their medical provider to get guidance on testing and care. Individuals who are unable to be tested by their provider may schedule an appointment at any Network test site to receive a medical screening and test. Initial locations include:

  • AltaMed Medical Group, Anaheim
  • AltaMed Medical Group, Santa Ana/Bristol
  • Nhan Hoa Comprehensive Health Care Clinic, Garden Grove
  • UCI Health, multiple locations

A continually-updated list of test sites, with information on scheduling and the appointment process, can be found here or by calling the HCA’s Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448. 

“Because of continued challenges of obtaining testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care providers, testing may be restricted at times to high priority groups as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Dr. Quick. “Residents must make an appointment for testing to assure eligibility and availability of testing.”

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Four New OC Sites Increase COVID-19 Testing

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community-testing sites focused on under-served communities across the state, the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has partnered with the California Department of Public Health to launch four new testing sites in the cities of Buena Park, Orange, Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano

The State sites are powered through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company. “These new test sites build upon our ongoing efforts to expand appropriate testing availability for Orange County residents while helping the State to meet its testing goals,” said Dr. Nichole Quick, County Health Officer.

The new test locations were identified by looking at areas where Californians had to travel between 30 and 60 minutes to reach existing test sites. This information was cross-referenced with under-served populations to address known disparities and median income, so residents have access to testing, regardless of socioeconomic status.

The four new State sites increase the County’s testing capacity by 2,640 per week. When combined with testing presently available through the County’s existing OC COVID-19 Testing Network, a total of nearly 7,000 tests per week are now available for free for community members without insurance or who have been unable to receive testing through their health care providers.

At this time, testing priority is given to people with symptoms as well as asymptomatic health care workers, first responders, and social service employees and essential workers who do not have access to testing through their employer or health care provider.

There is no out-of-pocket cost, though insurance will be billed if available. Additionally, there is no medical assessment offered at these new testing sites, so residents who access the testing feature are also strongly encouraged to call their health care provider for guidance on management of symptoms.

I believe that knowledge is power. Now that we have the ability to test more residents, we can gather additional data that may help us refine our knowledge of COVID-19 in Orange County and inform our policy decisions moving forward.

For more information on testing criteria and to schedule an appointment, please click here and scroll down to OPTUMSERVE TESTING SITES. Residents without internet access interested in making an appointment at a State site may call 1-888-634-1123. 

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UCI and County to Conduct COVID-19 Survey

It’s almost certain that COVID-19 cases across the nation have been vastly under-counted, since people with few to no symptoms, who may be infected but have immunity, are rarely tested.

As such, I'm pleased to report the University of California, Irvine is partnering with the Orange County Health Care Agency to participate in a rigorous, large-scale, population-based study that will generate a more accurate estimate of the true prevalence of the pandemic in Orange County, which with 3.2 million people is the sixth largest county in the U.S.

The survey will involve serological testing of a representative sample of 5,000 Orange County residents to determine if they have COVID-19 antibodies. It will help guide local health officials as they ease social distancing requirements and gradually reopen the economy, while also allowing them to better identify at-risk populations and understand how long immunity to the virus lasts.

The 5,000 Orange County residents selected for the study will be asked to visit one of 8 to 10 drive-thru testing sites, where medical personnel will use a simple pinprick to collect blood samples that will be taken to UCI and analyzed for COVID-19 antibodies.

The results will be compared to those of a subset of 200 people who report a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or who test positive. This smaller cohort will be tested every two weeks for four months so that researchers can see how immune response changes over time and what groups are most at risk.

The true rate of COVID-19 is unknown because it’s impossible to determine the actual number of infections without widespread testing of a representative sample. Recent surveys in other metropolitan regions of the U.S. suggest that infection rates are much higher and death rates lower than previously thought, and that rates vary significantly from place to place.

Testing has found antibody levels ranging from 2.8 percent in Santa Clara County to 21.6 percent in New York City to 4.1 percent in Los Angeles County. This suggests that the fatality rate could be 28 to 80 times less than currently estimated.

It’s important to note that it’s not yet clear what level of antibodies is enough to confer near- or long-term immunity on those who have had COVID-19. Additional research will be necessary for that determination.

Study participants will be recruited soon, and testing is expected to take place in June. An initial report will be issued this summer, with another report released in early fall.

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County of Orange Mental Resiliency Resources

May is National Mental Health Month, and 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 Orange County Health Care Agency's 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 the CDC's 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, 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, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at (833) 426-6411, visit the HCA website, or follow HCA on Facebook and Twitter.

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County of Orange COVID-19 Resource Directory

The County of Orange has consolidated the information and links to various local, state and federal resources that are available to our residents and businesses. Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Directory.  

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Essential Businesses Must Wear Face Coverings

Please be advised that all employees of any grocery store, pharmacy/drug store, convenience store, gas station, restaurant, food preparation establishment, or retail store in Orange County who may have contact with the public must wear a cloth face covering while at work. The regulation is consistent with State Guidelines.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved the directive pursuant to Government Code section 8634 that will apply countywide.

Furthermore, employees must comply with this regulation for the health and safety of all in the community as it is enforceable by law enforcement per Government Code section 8665.

Though the regulation issued by the Board of Supervisors does not apply to customers, County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick continues to strongly encourage residents to wear face coverings while engaged in essential activities outside the home. 

If a city has a more restrictive rule regarding face coverings, the more restrictive rule will apply to their jurisdiction.

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OC Receives $900,000 for Dislocated Workers

The County of Orange has received a $900,000 grant from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) to provide economic support for dislocated workers.

Orange County residents whose employment recently ended as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for the Orange County Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. The program is designed to meet employer needs by helping job seekers upgrade skills, obtain employment, gain credential and improve job retention and increase earnings.

The grant will support approximately 1,500 Orange County residents who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and need assistance.

Orange County WIOA Adult & Dislocated Worker program participants are eligible to receive up to $800.00 reimbursement for essentials such as housing, utilities, childcare and transportation costs.

Dislocated workers can enroll in WIOA through OC One-Stop Centers located in the cities of Irvine and Garden Grove. For more information, call the Economic and Business Recovery Call Center at 714-480-6500. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, OC One-Stop Centers are providing services by appointment only.

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County Partners with Google to Help Job Seekers

I'm pleased to report our OC Community Services Community Investment Division has partnered with Google Fiber and Orange County United Way to provide loaner laptops and hotspots in an effort to increase access to workforce development programs and services offered through our Irvine One-Stop Center during this critical period.

The laptops and hotspots will be made available beginning today, May 1, enabling dislocated workers free access to apply for jobs and unemployment benefits. Job seekers will be able to check out a laptop and hotspot at the Irvine One-Stop Center by contacting the Orange County Economic and Business Recovery line at (714) 480-6500 and completing a telephone application.

The laptops and hotspots will be available for checkout as a pair at no cost. With free access to laptops and hotspots for job seekers, businesses will be connected to a larger pool of candidates who are qualified for jobs, without barriers to resources.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Orange County One-Stop Centers had to modify service delivery available to match the need of those impacted. The partnership between these organizations not only allowed the County to expand resources at the Irvine One-Stop Center but also created an opportunity to offer these services at no cost.

In addition to the laptop and hotspot loans, the Irvine One-Stop Center offers free comprehensive services such as hiring assistance, career transition services, and employment services to businesses and job seekers.

For more information about the Orange County One-Stop Centers, click here. For more information about Google Fiber, click here. For more information about Orange County United Way, click here.

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COVID-19 Resources for Families with Children
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Reducing Fear and Anxiety in Young Families
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Launch of the "Great Plates Delivered" Program

I am pleased to report the launch of the Great Plates Delivered program to support seniors and local businesses needing assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. To that end, the County will partner with multiple local food providers to deliver three nutritious meals per day to adults 65 and older, and adults 60-64 who are at high-risk for COVID-19, to support them staying home and healthy.

The program will also serve as a form of economic relief to local businesses and workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. Food providers will be determined based on several factors, including their ability to meet volume and nutritional standards, source local produce/meats if able, prioritization of local jobs and worker retention, and more. Restaurants already participating in a state or federal meal service program, including the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program, will not be eligible to participate.

Per the State’s direction, individuals who wish to enroll in the Great Plates Delivered program must fall under the following criteria to qualify:

A) Individuals who are 65 or older, or 60-64 and at high-risk as defined by the CDC, including:

  • Individuals who are COVID-19 positive (as documented by a state/local public health official or medical health professional)
  • Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 (as documented by a state/local public health official or medical health professional); or
  • Individuals with an underlying condition.

B) Individuals must live alone or with one other program-eligible adult.

C) Individuals must not be currently receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs, such as CalFresh or Meals on Wheels.

D) Individuals must affirm an inability to prepare or obtain meals. 

Individuals interested in receiving meals and businesses wanting to participate can call the Information & Assistance Call Center at (714) 480-6450 for further guidance.

For more information on meal assistance programs for seniors in South County, please visit Age Well Senior Services. For more information on business and economic recovery in Orange County, visit OC Community Services or call (714) 480-6500.

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New Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program
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Important Information for Seniors & Caregivers
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Please Check On Your Elderly Neighbors
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REMINDER: Call 9-1-1 in a Medical Emergency
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While You Are Home, Spot the Scams

Many of you are at home working or self-isolating and spending more time on the internet. Unfortunately, thieves are taking advantage of this situation and coming up with new and innovative ways to separate you from your money.

Now would be a good time to educate yourself on the various ploys that are used by scammers regarding COVID-19. Read more here.

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Letter to the Community from OC Public Libraries
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Charleston Needs a Foster Home!
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COVID-19 Animal Testing Guidance
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Important Pet Information: COVID-19 FAQs

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Don't Miss The Rat Pack at The Coach House!
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Dana Point Memorial Day Virtual Ceremony
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Click the image above for information on their
Meals on Wheels and Congregate Lunches for Seniors.


Click the image above for information on their
Drive-Thru Food Distribution, weekdays in San Clemente.



Click the image above for information on their
 Drive Through Food Bank, Monday - Friday in Irvine.


Click the image above for information on their
 Food Pantry, Monday - Friday in Laguna Beach.



Click the image above for information on their
PEACE Community Resource Center Food Pantries.



Click the image above for information on their
Food Pantry Services weekdays by appointment in Irvine.


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CREER Food Pantry in San Juan Capistrano
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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

Yasie Goebel
Policy Advisor

Sergio Prince
Community Relations Advisor

Megan Dutra
Policy Advisor

Pauline Colvin
Communications Advisor

Rosemary Conteras
Staff Aide

Stay Updated!
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