Lisa Bartlett

By OC Board Supervisor Lisa Bartlett

That is one of the many questions being asked by residents since the governor’s stay-at-home order went into effect well over a month ago now.

There is no doubt in my mind that the measures implemented by the state, and the county, have had a significant impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19.

While I believe we need to continue being diligent in our efforts to fight the spread of the virus, I also believe we need to start exploring options for getting our economy up and running in what may become the new normal for our society.

I am as anxious as each of you to see the fabulous Fifth District and our county thrive again, but it’s going to take a coordinated effort between federal, state and county governments to make that happen. We must look at the data and be able to meet the standards identified by the state and federal government before we can proceed with a phased reopening of our economy.

California’s six indicators for modifying the stay-at-home order:

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

One of the county’s priorities at this time is to expand its testing capabilities. The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has recently launched the OC COVID-19 Testing Network to coordinate and expand testing countywide, including at least one testing location in South County.

This is being done to create a safety net for any community member who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms but is unable to receive testing through a health care provider, or lacks health insurance.

Currently, the HCA has partnered with six new testing locations, and is working diligently to bring more partners and locations online in the days and weeks to come.

If you have been unable to receive COVID-19 testing through your medical provider, or are without health insurance and experiencing symptoms, please schedule an appointment through the new network by visiting ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus and clicking on the “COVID-19 Testing and Screening” icon.

While this is a great first step in our ability to offer increased testing opportunities, we continue to explore additional options to further meet this need and move us one step closer to opening up our county.

The governor recently stated that over the next few weeks, if certain conditions are met, he will start to loosen or modify his statewide Stay At Home Order to allow for a phased re-opening of our business community. It is vital that we continue to protect the health and safety of the community and not jeopardize or undo the progress we have made in flattening the curve of COVID-19.

That being said, it is very important that we start to implement a measured and phased approach to reopening our economy.  We all look forward to the day when all businesses are open once again.

In the coming weeks, we will be in a position to start reopening our economy. In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines, wash your hands frequently and take other personal safety precautions, to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Thank you for doing your part to ensure that we get back to business as usual in the very near future! 

Lisa Bartlett sits on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, representing the 5th District. She was reelected in 2018.

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