Orange County Supervisors Andrew Do and Michelle Steel are proposing an emergency training and resource program for frontline healthcare workers and first responders to better prepare Orange County to respond to COVID-19 and avoid mistakes and delays, experienced by other jurisdictions in the worldwide response to coronavirus.
“Orange County will take every step to prepare and protect our community from Coronavirus,” said Michelle Steel, Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “We want all frontline health care workers and first responders to know exactly what to do, how to interact with suspected coronavirus cases, when to notify federal health authorities, and the proper ways to protect themselves from exposure to the virus.”
The proposal comes amid new reports that up to 100 healthcare workers in Solano County have been exposed to the Coronavirus.
“It only takes one mistake to go from containment to outbreak,” said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, Vice Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. “We want to learn from other jurisdictions now – while Orange County still has no active cases.”
The county-sponsored training program will be considered at an emergency board meeting on Monday, March 2nd, following Orange County’s state of emergency declaration issued on Wednesday, February 26.
VIDEO: Doctors in Republic of Georgia Drag Patient Back into Hospital
New video from the Republic of Georgia shows medical personnel dragging a suspected Coronavirus patient back into the hospital – without any personal protective equipment covering their hands or face. Reporters at the press conference are also seen improperly wearing face masks.
“The video is a great example of why we need a local training program,” said Supervisor Andrew Do. “Frontline healthcare workers and first responders are the backbone of our emergency response plan, and this training program is about giving them the resources they need to keep us safe.”
In responding to coronavirus patients quarantined to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Japanese health officials were exposed to and later diagnosed with the virus after wearing masks, but not full protective suits.
Chinese health workers responding to the coronavirus have suffered a heavy toll and experienced high rates of exposure to COVID-19. As many as 3,400 health workers in China have reportedly been infected with the Coronavirus. Other outbreaks, such as the Ebola outbreak, have shown that “health workers were up to 32 times more likely to be infected with Ebola than adults in the general population,” according to a 2015 World Health Organization report.
Under the proposal, the training and resource program will be available to all frontline health workers and first responders, including firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, nurses, doctors, and all other relevant personnel, to provide proper training for identifying the first signs and symptoms of Coronavirus, educate personnel on proper response protocols for handling suspected coronavirus cases, and ensure that every first responder and health care work has access to proper protective equipment.
“Orange County needs to develop an immediate training program to implement the best practices for responding to Coronavirus,” said Supervisor Michelle Steel. “We want to learn from other jurisdictions.”
In addition to their proposal for a training program, County Supervisors Andrew Do and Michelle Steel are also proposing immediate action to develop a plan to secure John Wayne Airport from spreading the disease as well as a full assessment of the County’s protective health equipment.
Report Supports County Lawsuit to Block Patients in Costa Mesa
A new whistleblower report also alleges that U.S. health officials were sent to Travis Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base without proper equipment and training of safety protocols. That report adds credibility to the County of Orange’s decision to join a legal case challenging the state and federal plan to house coronavirus patients at a dilapidated facility in Costa Mesa.
Last Friday, the City of Costa Mesa received a temporary restraining order from a federal judge after learning about the State’s plan to send individuals affected with coronavirus from the Travis Airforce Base in Solano County to the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa.