by Chairman Do and Supervisor Wagner
In a recent editorial, the Register faulted the County and its Board of Supervisors for supposedly being “insufficiently forthright in publicizing” Covid information. The charge is manifestly false. Here is some information the Register ignored; we provided it to them and were promised it would publish last weekend, however, it went unpublished. You deserve to know the full story.
As the following list makes clear, with links to county resources available to all citizens and to the Register editorial board, the County and all five members of the Board of Supervisors remain committed to providing accessible and transparent Covid information to help all of Orange County stay informed.
General Information: The county Health Care Agency (HCA) website, ocCovid19.ochealthinfo.com, is accessible to the public and provides links to case counts, including equity initiatives, health officer orders, general FAQs, and the latest daily updates. Links to prevention, which include information for unvaccinated individuals, information for vaccinated individuals, and testing information. This site also provides the public with information on how and where to get tested, the latest vaccine news, where vaccinations are available, vaccine taskforce meeting information, the current number of vaccines administered in OC, vaccine aftercare, and vaccine effectiveness. The site also includes mental health information.
Covid Numbers: HCA updates the county's Covid numbers daily (case data reported each day has approximately a one-day delay from the time HCA receives reports from CalREDIE until reported on the website). Other information available includes Covid cases in schools and Covid cases by city. This information is accessible to the public and can be found at: https://ocCovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc
HCA Press Releases: The HCA also distributes a weekly Press Release with current Covid information, usually on Fridays. These Press Releases are available to the public at: https://ocCovid19.ochealthinfo.com/#LatestNews
CEO/HCA Media Briefings: County CEO Frank Kim and County Health Officer Clayton Chau hold weekly media briefing conference calls on Fridays to provide media outlets with an update on the county's Covid-19 response, and any new orders from the State Public Health Officer. The media briefing is also the place where media outlets can ask questions of CEO Kim and Dr. Chau, which many media outlets, including reporters from the Register, have actively participated in. Our offices are provided with the dial-in information which we will gladly share with the Register editorial board or the public upon request.
Additional Covid Briefings: In order to keep other community leaders fully informed, Dr. Chau and his staff have a weekly conference call with all OC School District Superintendents and a bi-weekly conference call with OC Mayors. HCA also updates us and our colleagues by email on a weekly basis, usually on Thursday evenings or Friday mornings, to keep the Board members and our staff apprised of vaccination information and all other Covid issues. This email, along with the weekly numbers, are then posted on the OC Health Care Agency’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Public Messages: HCA has shared approximately 6,195 Covid-related social media posts, averaging out to over 300 per month since March 2020 to date. In addition, weekly press conferences were held to inform both the public and media outlets of the latest news regarding the pandemic; county officials were present to provide updates and answer questions. Access the Agency’s Facebookand Twitter accounts to receive these updates.
Public Hotline: The OC Covid-19 Hotline is available to answer questions about vaccine-related issues, including booking appointments, location selection, or assistance with transportation. Live operators are available Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (714) 834-2000.
We urge the Register editorial board to keep this list handy for whenever it feels the need to get more information. Also, the Register can – and has many times – call our offices if it feels the need to speak with an elected official to get more information.
The Board’s prior Chairwoman, Michelle Steel, came under criticism in the past for using county Covid press conferences supposedly to bolster her successful run for Congress. That charge has since been leveled at Supervisor Katrina Foley, who faces an election next year and is the only Supervisor currently holding regular press conferences. The Register lauds her while ignoring the underlying political motive.
But the issue of whether there is a political component to daily press conferences aside, county leadership clearly remains committed to providing Orange County residents with the latest information on the effects of Covid in our community and with the resources available to you to keep yourself and your family safe. The editorial board is just wrong in contending that the county is not “forthcoming.” We continue robust outreach to inform the public on the course of the disease.