SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County's chief health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, has resigned after drawing criticism from residents for her order last month to require face coverings as the county allowed some businesses to reopen.
Quick was receiving heightened security due to threats stemming from her the mask order. Protesters brought a poster with Quick's photo on it with a Hitler mustache on her face and swastikas to a Board of Supervisors meeting.
Supervisor Doug Chaffee said Quick resigned apparently because “it was too much for her. She has three young children and she's been severely criticized by people who came out demanding her resignation, demonstrations in front of her home.''
“She's done her best to give her medical opinion and it's not popular so she has resigned.''
Quick's resignation was the second major and abrupt departure in Orange County since the pandemic began. David Souleles decided to retire in April as deputy agency director of public health services.
The plan is to have the Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau also serve as the chief health officer as well so the county can issue health orders required by the state to reopen businesses and activities such as bars, day camps, community pools, hotels and youth sports.
Chaffee was not sure what would happen with Quick's mask order. Chauhas defended it, explaining it is required when residents cannot maintain six feet of social distancing.
Chaffee noted that for all the residents who show up at board of supervisors meetings to complain about the mask order officials have received a great deal of expressions of support for it.
“The email is 10 to one to keep it,'' Chaffee said. “They're afraid to show up (at board meetings) because of the confrontation it will entail.''
Orange County health officials have reported 113 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county's cumulative total to 7,527, but the number of deaths remained unchanged at 177.
The number of hospitalized patients dipped from 297 on Sunday to 291 Monday, with the number in intensive care rising from 129 to 135, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Health officials say 85 of the deaths in the county involved residents of skilled nursing home facilities.
The number of people tested for the virus in the county stands at 161,547, with 3,326 documented recoveries.
Men account for 51% of the county's COVID-19 cases and 56% of its deaths.
Santa Ana leads all county cities with 1,488 cases, followed by Anaheim with 1,331. Many of the cases in both cities are tied to long-term nursing care facilities.
The HCA has reported outbreaks at 26 skilled nursing homes, three assisted living facilities and two care homes. An outbreak is defined as having at least two coronavirus cases.
As of Friday, 893 residents of skilled nursing home facilities had contracted COVID-19 and 442 staffers had tested positive for coronavirus. Also, as of Friday, 381 inmates in Orange County's jails had tested positive for COVID-19 with 367 having recovered and 14 in medical isolation with symptoms.
HCA Assistant Director Lilly Simmering said Thursday the agency is boosting testing capacity in institutional settings and is “increasing the number of staff working at skilled nursing home facilities.''
The agency also continues to work with UC Irvine on a “training curriculum'' with skilled nursing home facility staff “to ensure that their facilities are hygienic and doing proper precautions for COVID-19,'' she said.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim told reporters Thursday that officials are concerned that widespread protests against police brutality will boost coronavirus cases.
Officials respect the rights of protesters to speak out, but implore the activists to follow social distancing guidelines of keeping six feet apart and wearing face coverings, Kim said.... I feel the need for a face-covering mandate.''
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