County of Ventura

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 6:15pm

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Current Status of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in V​entura County: https://www.vcemergency.com/
STAY WELL AT HOME ORDER / FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Public Health Orders | Frequently Asked Questions
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PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER ORDERS


March 24, 2020 6:15 a.m.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Personal Protective Equipment Donations Needed for Local Hospitals, First Responders and Medical Facilities in Ventura County

VENTURA, CA - The County of Ventura is encouraging the public, businesses and organizations to donate new, unused personal protective equipment to assist health care providers, health care facilities and first responders responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We are facing an unprecedented public health emergency, and the increasing demands of our health care system is contributing to shortages in personal protective supplies,” said County CEO Mike Powers. “This generous community is already responding and making a difference we just want to keep that momentum going. We are already getting so many donations from individuals, schools and businesses. Protecting and supporting the needs of our health care workers and first responders is critical to safeguarding the health of our community during this crisis. We are urging the community to make donations of personal protective gear so that we can protect the health and vitality of our frontline first responders.”

The following items are requested: surgical masks, N95 masks, procedure masks, isolation gowns, medical goggles, dacron culture swabs and Tyvek suits.

The addresses for donation drop-off locations are as follows:

VCCF address: 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93012

Two addresses for Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin:

2301 E. Daily Drive, Suite 200, Camarillo, CA 93010

230 West 7th Street, Suite B, Oxnard, CA 93030

Drop off time is from 9 am to 4:30 pm

“Our time to have an impact on this disease is now,” said Doctor John Fankhauser, CEO at Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital. “This crisis is real and is going to hit us like no other infectious disease crisis has hit this community.” Having seen the Ebola crisis in Africa firsthand, Dr. Fankhauser emphasized the critical need to stay home now in order to stop the spread and to protect yourself, your loved ones, first responders, medical providers, neighbors and community members throughout the County and State. Community members can make a big impact on the need for more equipment by following the orders to social distance.

All supplies collected from donations will be distributed to local hospitals, first responders and essential medical facilities. Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin’s office and the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) will be drop-off locations for the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services. “During these difficult times we need to come together as a community to meet our most urgent needs,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. “My office is completely focused and determined to do all we can to support our medical professionals as they fight this dangerous virus.” 

Vanessa Bechtel, President and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation also commented on the response effort stating, “We are profoundly grateful for the rapid and courageous leadership by our county and local hospitals.  As members of the community, each of us can make a difference. We strongly encourage all who have access to these vital and lifesaving supplies to donate them now.” 

For questions about donations and needed supplies, please email Ashley.bautista@ventura.org.

ABOUT VENTURA COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 

Established in 1987, the Ventura County Community Foundation builds philanthropy in the region by stewarding legacies through careful management of charitable capital. The foundation honors donor intent by protecting endowments. The nonprofit specializes in connecting philanthropic resources with community needs for the benefit of all. The organization also serves the community through scholarships, grantmaking, and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit www.vccf.org.

Ashley Bautista, Public Information Officer
County of Ventura, CEO

Ashley.Bautista@ventura.org
www.ventura.org

Website: http://www.vcemergency.com
 


March 18, 2020 4:00 p.m.

Ventura County Public Health COVID-19 Update -5 Community Transmission Cases Announced

Ventura, CA –Ventura County Public Health has confirmed five new presumptive positive cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). These cases have an unidentified source of exposure. They are considered community transmission cases. Public health is completing contact investigations. To date, Public Health has identified 1 positive case and 10 presumptive positive cases; of these, 5 cases are likely due to community transmission because they have an unidentified source of exposure. Cases are occurring across Ventura County, so all community members should be aware and practice social distancing. The following is the case information to date:

  • One confirmed positive case travel related.
  • Two presumptive positive travel related.
  • One presumptive positive person to person transmission (from a known presumptive positive spouse).
  • Two presumptive positive cases under investigation.
  • Five cases with an unidentified source of exposure. Considered community transmission.

Public Health is investigating these cases and has notified close contacts to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness. Those exposed and symptomatic have been advised to be tested. All confirmed cases are being isolated and close contacts are quarantined. Community members with suspected COVID-19 symptoms should call their health care provider prior to arrival for a phone screening.

“We are seeing an increase in cases and evidence of community spread as more testing occurs,” said Ventura County Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin. “Community members are encouraged to follow the orders that were enacted today. We must work together to prevent the spread of this disease. Each and every one of us, both businesses and residents, must do our part by practicing social distancing and taking common sense infection control precautions.” The Ventura County Public Health Officer’s Order for the closure of certain businesses and social distancing can be found here and at www.vcemergency.com in English and Spanish. The order is to strengthen the steps the Rigoberto Vargas, MPH, Director and Robert Levin, MD, Health Officer/Medical Director County of Ventura has already taken to protect our residents and particularly the most vulnerable in our population from COVID-19.

The Ventura County Public Health Department is working closely with Federal, State and local partners as this situation continues to evolve. Public Health is committed to keeping the community informed of all current information. Community members should visit www.vcemergency.com for up to date information. The 2-1-1 hotline is also available for questions. It is staffed 24/7 for questions about COVID-19.

The many needs of the community cannot be met by our system alone, therefore partnerships and collaboration with community organizations, leaders and partners, is a major focus especially during this time of emergency. The mission of the Ventura County Health Care Agency is to provide comprehensive, compassionate health care for our diverse community, especially those facing barriers.

Contact: Ashley Bautista, Public Information Officer, 805-654-2640


March 16, 2020 4:00 p.m.

Ventura County Public Health Provides Guidance on COVID-19 Testing
Please save tests for those in critical need                                  

Ventura, CA – The Ventura County Public Health Department today announced increased efforts in the County’s response to COVID-19. “We anticipate more cases and increased community spread as more cases are reported in neighboring counties and throughout the state,” said Ventura County Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin. “Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to our emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care. If you have respiratory illness and want to know if you should be tested for COVID-19, it is best to call your health care provider or, if you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 for help finding a clinician near you. Our healthcare providers are prepared to see more cases, but we must all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to minimize strain on our healthcare system and other service providers,” he added.

The Ventura County Public Health Department is urging community members to save critical care and testing to those that are most in need of medical attention. Testing is not helpful if you do not have symptoms. However, most people will get better with rest so there is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. There is currently 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 and 3 presumptive positive cases in Ventura County. All patients are under home quarantine.

If you develop difficulty breathing or cannot keep fluids down, see a doctor or call 911. Certain patients such as the elderly, those that are immune compromised or have underlying medical conditions should call their doctor earlier. If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to go to a medical facility to see a doctor. If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If your primary care provider cannot provide testing when recommended they can refer you to an urgent care that will be equipped for testing. Some facilities are offering drive-by testing when it is recommended to help prevent possible exposure.

“Our public health lab is serving as a critical resource for our local hospital and emergency rooms. Our lab was one of the first of 11 county labs in the state to be certified to perform testing locally. Prior to that, testing had to be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the turnaround time was 5 to 7 days. Now, we are able to get same-day test results on hospital patients. These patients are already high risk and vulnerable. This is incredibly valuable, as these patients are within the walls of the hospital, requiring large amounts of resources in terms of both staff and personal protective equipment.  Knowing the results of a test in rapid time provides the ability to either clear them from isolation, when negative, or double down on our efforts to protect our staff from exposure, when positive,” said Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula Hospital Medical Director, Doctor Todd Flosi. “This rapid turnaround time is helping us protect our staff from potential quarantine and preserving our ability to respond to a possible significant surge in very sick patients that will require our hospitals to be fully staffed and functional.”

This turnaround time is critical for those who are most in need. If private and public labs are inundated with processing test results in cases where it is not recommended that alone could delay results for those that are critical. It is important that our community members understand that testing capacity should be focused on those that are high risk and have symptoms. The main symptom of this disease is a fever. Community members are urged to take their temperature if they feel symptomatic and contact their health care provider with the information about their fever in advance of visiting a facility.

“The people in our lives who are most at risk, seniors and those with underlying health conditions, are depending on our community members to make the right choice to social distance and prevent the spread of disease. By working together, we can help limit the spread of this disease,” said Doctor Robert Levin. “Our community is urged to follow the guidelines issued by Governor Newsom. People 65 or older are encouraged to stay home and all community members are encouraged to implement social distancing plans by limiting outings and staying home as much as possible,” he added.

HOTLINE/COMMUNICATION

The County of Ventura is finalizing a 2-1-1 COVID-19 hotline for community members to have questions answered. 2-1-1 is already available for questions about community resources but this new feature will provide 24/7 staff answering questions about COVID-19. It will be launched on Wednesday, March 18. A physician’s hotline is also being created. County of Ventura Doctors will be available 24/7 to speak to physicians who have questions. This hotline will also launch on March 18.

“During this time of increased uncertainty, we respect and understand the concerns of the community. We are listening to those concerns and we will continue to engage with the communities we serve. We will continue to mobilize county resources, coordinate with agencies and partners and raise awareness about how we can all work together to take action, support one another and be prepared,” said County of Ventura CEO, Mike Powers. “We appreciate the response of our medical professionals and all frontline staff, like social workers and nurses, in responding to the needs of our community members, especially the most vulnerable and high risk, during this time of emergency.”

The County has launched a Facebook Group called “Ventura County Coronavirus News Group Official” where residents can have questions answered. The page was launched on March 14 and has more than 17,000 members. Ventura County Doctors and other subject matter experts are answering questions and providing up to date information on the site. In addition to this, the County of Ventura has launched a Spanish only Facebook page and Spanish only Coronavirus Group to provide critical information to the Spanish speaking population in our County. Community members can join the County on the Spanish platforms at “Grupo Informativo de Coronavirus del Condado de Ventura – OFICIAL” and “Condado de Ventura Espanol”. Information regarding resources, closures, preparedness and overall guidance continues to be provided on www.vcemergency.com in Spanish and English and information is being distributed to groups throughout the County including printed materials at school site meal distribution sites.

Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread throughout the Country:

  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work.
  • Avoid non-essential travel and public gatherings.
  • If someone in your household is sick, keep them home. Do not send them to a friend, relatives or childcare provider. Keep the entire household home. Do not go to work.
  • If you are 65 or older, stay home and away from other people.
  • If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lunch or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
  • Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is crucial that you do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please stay home as much as possible. Avoid social gatherings. Avoid discretionary travel and social visits. Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
  • If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home and call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.
  • Exclude employees and visitors with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms and visitors with recent travel to any country or region with significant community transmission (including communities in the US) from all businesses and gatherings of any size.

Practice good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

The California Department of Public Health has state guidance on how to prepare and protect community members from COVID-19 at the following link. Also, found at www.cdph.ca.gov.   

###

Ashley Bautista

Public Information Officer


March 12, 2020
County of Ventura Declares Local Health Emergency in Response to Novel Coronavirus Activity

Ventura, CA - Today, the Ventura County Public Health Department declared a local health emergency in response to 1) increased spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country 2) in alignment with the Governor of California’s Declared State of Emergency and mass gathering guidance 3) an increase of local cases. There are currently 3 travel related cases in Ventura County. As of today, 95 people have been tested by the Ventura County Public Health Lab for COVID-19, 2 results are pending confirmation and 22 travelers are on home quarantine.

“This declaration will enhance our ability to take further lifesaving actions as we continue to respond to this evolving health and safety threat,” said County CEO, Mike Powers. “These actions will allow us to have even greater coordination to protect our residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. We will continue to mobilize county resources, coordinate with agencies and partners and raise awareness about how everyone can take action to be prepared.”

“Although there is still no person to person transmission in our County, my first priority is to protect the public health of our residents by taking proactive measures,” said Ventura County Public Health Officer, Doctor Robert Levin. “We encourage community members and organizations to do their part to help slow the spread of this virus. Our local healthcare system is well prepared to treat more cases should the need arise, particularly among vulnerable populations that require significant clinical care,” said Doctor Levin. “Specific guidance documents allow each of us to take steps to be prepared, including personal actions that can make a difference in disease transmission,” said Doctor Levin.

The state’s public health experts have released new guidance that non-essential gatherings should be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing plans. The full policy can be viewed here.

Ventura County is prepared to manage and investigate suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Public Health will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners to provide healthcare providers and the public with accurate information about actions to be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to care for those who may become ill with this virus. As with other respiratory infections, there are steps that everyone can take to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, are:

  • Stay home if you are sick. Sick people make well people sick.
  • If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to go to a medical facility to see a doctor.
  • Certain patients, such as the elderly, those that are immune compromised or have underlying health conditions should call their doctor.
  • Primary care doctors are the point of contact for COVID-19 testing. You do not need to call Public Health to request COVID-19 testing. Your doctor will make the decision to test at one of the local private labs and if the test is positive your doctor will contact Public Health for confirmation.
  • If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 211 for assistance finding support near you.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Get immunized against the flu to protect yourself and your family, and reduce the potential strain on the healthcare system, which may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.

Public Health is also asking businesses, schools, and community-based organizations to begin to implement plans that allow people to stay home if they are sick or vulnerable to the disease. This includes the option to work from home or to complete assignments remotely, where possible. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides guidance on how to prepare and protect Californians from COVID-19. Ventura County Public Health urges organizations to review and implement guidance from CDPH.

Guidance can be found at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Guidance.aspx. This includes guidance for:

  • Health care facilities, including long-term care facilities
  • Community care facilities, including assisted living facilities and childcare
  • Schools and institutions of higher education (Governor Newsom, during a press conference today, made clear that most K-12 schools will remain open).
  • Event organizers
  • First responders, including paramedics and EMTs
  • Employers, health care workers and workers in general industry
  • Health care plans 
  • Home cleaning with COVID-19 positive individuals
  • Guidance for Using Disinfectants at Schools and Child Cares 
  • Health care facilities from Cal/OSHA/Laboratories
  • Homeless Service Providers

Ashley Bautista, County of Ventura Public Information Officer


March 7, 2020

Ventura County reports that 22 people have been tested and results are negative for 21 people. There is one presumptive positive case in Ventura County waiting for CDC confirmation.Information about Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura colleges and the District Office will be posted on this page. Check back for updates as we are actively updating this page.


March 6, 2020

Ventura County News Channel Press Releases (update - March 6, 2020 @ 3:15pm)

A Message from Ventura County Public Health

In the face of a significant increase in the numbers of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in mainland China and other Countries, many Ventura County residents are worried and fearful. The Ventura County Department of Public Health (Public Health) urges residents and visitors to get the facts and take positive steps to reduce their risk. The County of Ventura is working closely with the California Department of Public Health, the CDC, the US Department of Health and Human Services and our local cities to help keep the community safe. The County of Ventura is committed to providing our community timely and accurate updates regarding the current situation in Ventura County. Community members can stay up to date on any new information regarding the situation in Ventura County by visiting www.vcemergency.com. Three individuals have been tested for COVID-19 in Ventura County. All results were negative. There have been zero confirmed cases in Ventura County. There are no pending results. There are 2 travelers, with no symptoms, on quarantine at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu. There are 19 travelers, with no symptoms, who are self-isolated at their homes in Ventura County. Risk assessments are performed on reported travelers via phone interview after receiving notification from the California Department of Public Health. After the interview is completed the risk assessment is determined based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance with regards to their travel history. Travelers determined to be medium risk are directed to stay home for the 14-day quarantine period in self-isolation. Travelers are educated on symptoms to report; cough, fever, temperature check twice a day and shortness of breath/difficulty breathing with instructions to report any symptoms to Public Health before seeking medical care. Public Health is encouraging people to focus on facts, not fear. The fact is COVID-19 is NOT currently spreading in the community in Ventura County, and immediate risk to the general public in Ventura County is low. “At this time, because of the relatively low risk of novel coronavirus infection in Ventura County, we advise you to practice the same hygienic precautions as you would for the influenza virus. It will protect you from the flu, support the formation of good habits and be in place to protect you if the novel coronavirus does make its way into our County,” said Robert Levin, Health Officer and Medical Director of Ventura County Public Health. Public Health continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves from all respiratory illnesses:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
  • Get a flu immunization to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season.

If you have recently traveled to China and are experiencing flu like symptoms, please call Ventura County Public Health Communicable Diseases at (805) 981-5101.