Assemblyman Bill Brough Calls On Governor to Rule Out Housing Any Coronavirus Patients in Densely Populated Areas

Brough Urges Strict Quarantine, Saying “It is time to put any partisanship aside, use common sense and move from a ‘low risk’ approach to a ‘no risk approach.'"

Monday, March 2, 2020

San Juan Capistrano – Today, Assemblyman Bill Brough joins with other Orange County elected officials applauding the Federal decision not to put any coronavirus patients at Fairview Developmental Center. This is a great first step, but several important questions remain.

One of the most important questions is, “Why are highly populated areas being considered for housing patients, when so much remains unknown about this disease?” The unknown factor alone should give state officials pause when considering a site for a virus where scientists and medical professionals are still uncertain about the speed, method and duration in which it is transmitted. This is a virus about which little is known and is more readily being associated with the word “pandemic,” even causing a recent drop in the stock market.

After hearing loud and clear from the residents of South Orange County, Assemblyman Bill Brough is calling on Governor Newsom to rule out housing any coronavirus patients in densely populated urban areas. “I ask my colleagues to join in repeating this request to the Governor,” said Assemblyman Brough, “it is a common sense measure that is neither overreacting nor under-reacting.”

We need to establish the most strict and transparent quarantine procedures, not just for patients who test positive for COVID-19, but equally important, for the healthcare workers providing treatment in order to keep them safe. Otherwise illness could be spread inadvertently by people providing services or care.

“It is time to put any partisanship aside, use common sense and move from a ‘low risk’ approach to a ‘no risk approach,” said Assemblyman Bill Brough. “There have been 37,279 state properties identified, and the first step should be removing any quarantine sites from densely populated areas, and then be transparent to the public about the process to select a site from the remaining identified properties.”

There have already been some questionable actions taken; including, reports of how a Bay Area woman with a recently diagnosed case wasn’t tested for several days after seeking care for her symptoms, and local elected officials have reported that at March Air Reserve Base patients were moved to the site before officials on the ground even knew they were coming. A whistleblower on the base, who was a senior U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official, alleged that HHS workers were “improperly deployed” without adequate training or equipment to repatriate Americans from Wuhan, China. According to the whistleblower complaint, HHS employees were not properly trained on safety procedures prior to engaging with evacuees, and they failed to wear proper safety equipment while monitoring the health of these individuals.

Orange County officials said some local hospitals will start testing patients with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Let’s make sure that once a patient is identified as having the coronavirus, the state is not left scrambling for a proper site to treat and quarantine those infected with the virus.

Let’s join together in a bipartisan way, Democrats and Republicans, to agree to keep these crisis centers away from densely populated urban areas. Local leaders must be involved with all decisions. So far the bipartisan response by leaders like Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel, State Senator John Moorlach, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley and Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill, just to name a few, has been incredible.

However, the public deserves answers as to what factors (beyond a bedroom and attached bathroom) are needed to house these patients; how many of the 37,279 state properties have at least ten individual bedrooms with attached bathrooms, and which of the State properties meet additional federal qualifications.

Finally, Assemblyman Brough urges the public to keep educating yourself for preparedness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a list of steps you and your family can take to help prevent the spread of illnesses and limit exposure to this virus.

Assemblyman William P. Brough represents the 73rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rancho Mission Viejo, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, and Trabuco Canyon.