Voice of OC
Orange County Supervisors continue to press their own county Health Care Agency officials’ over the handling of a mandated cloth mask order during the coronavirus pandemic, especially around the lack of public communication on health orders.
“We’re hearing from our citizens that this is a government overreach,” Supervisor Don Wagner told health care staff at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Wagner cited various surrounding counties, like San Bernardino and Riverside, that don’t require residents wear masks in public.
“Doesn’t that undermine the evidence that is supposedly behind your order? Help us here,” he said to Orange County Public Health Officer Nicole Quick, who now participates in county supervisors’ meetings via phone after receiving a series of public threats over her mask order.
Health Care Agency Director, Dr. Clayton Chau, said the masks help prevent the virus from spreading.
“We don’t live in a bubble. People go from county to county — as we open up, people will travel,” Chau said. “Wearing a mask is to not protect yourself, it’s to protect other people, especially the vulnerable population.
. . .
|Dr. Nichole Quick|
Wagner also pressed Quick, who issued the mask order, about what other county health officers have said about the masks.
“I don’t feel that I should be speaking on the dynamics of other counties,” Quick said over the phone on Tuesday.
Quick hasn’t been at a Supervisors meeting since she issued the mask order May 22, and she’s received some threats from residents because of the order.
“Can you tell us what you’re talking about amongst yourselves,” Wagner said to Quick. “The public does not trust what is coming out of this government and there’s a good reason for that. Not that you’re wrong, but that you have been utterly erratic and failed completely to explain any kind of logic behind that erratic behavior. We just got a glimmer of explanation from Dr. Chau.”
While Quick didn’t say what the health officers were discussing with each other on recent conference calls, she noted that Orange County is seeing a steady increase in virus cases and hospitalizations.
“I think what our numbers are telling us, however, is that we are seeing an increase in community transmission,” Quick said. “Our hospitalization overall is trending up … It is medically necessary for people to cover their face.”
Supervisor Andrew Do also said there needs to be more clear communication from the Health Care Agency.
“I think the public and the board deserves a more detailed explanation,” Do said.
But he disagreed with Wagner’s assessment of Orange County government.
“That is a dead end position to take. What is the reason for us to be here … if we are encouraging people to say they have no trust in what we do,” Do said.
Do then told Chau, “I don’t believe that it’s erratic. We can disagree and we can question, but eventually I hope you will bring clarity to us.”…. (continued)