featured graphic for news of Orange County after COVID-19

County exploring measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to homeless community

The County of Orange is exploring all precautionary and preventative measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within the homeless population.

The County has identified short-term strategies that provide alternative placement for sheltered individuals who are elderly and/or those who have severe underlying health conditions. This includes about 80 recuperative care beds available for sheltered individuals considered high risk due to age or underlying health conditions. Additionally, the County is deploying medical tents, cots, blankets, privacy dividers and handwashing stations to shelters, and seeks to make resources available as soon as possible. The County will be issuing guidance to shelter providers countywide, which provides clarity and direction regarding recently issued State and Federal guidance.

The County is working with the State of California to vet State-identified resources, as well as evaluating motels and hotels that have expressed interest in assisting during this public health crisis.

At this time the Fullerton and Santa Ana Armories are scheduled to be operational through April 15; however, the County is in constant communication with the State regarding use of the Armories.

Individuals experiencing homelessness and/or homeless service providers are encouraged to call either OC Health Care Agency’s Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448 or the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085 if they have any questions regarding COVID-19.

Relocation of Cold Weather Emergency Shelters

Due to the Governor’s activation of the National Guard to assist in food and supplies distribution, the Cold Weather Emergency Shelters located at the Fullerton and Santa Ana National Guard Armories will be relocated by Tuesday.

The Emergency Cold Weather Shelter in Fullerton will be relocated to the Independence Park Gymnasium, 801 W. Valencia Drive. The shelter includes ample, secured outdoor space for persons to remain during daylight hours.

The Santa Ana Cold Weather Emergency Shelter will be relocated to the Salvation Army site at 2603 W. First St. in Santa.

The Cold Weather Emergency Shelters are scheduled to close on April 15, but the County is working with City partners to extend that date and continue 24-hour access to address the current situation.

While housed at the Cold Weather Emergency Shelters individuals will receive supportive services including medical and housing, and will be entered into the County’s Coordinated Entry System for future housing opportunities and continued services.

The County is working to develop alternate locations to shelter COVID-19 symptomatic and vulnerable homeless persons.

For medical questions about COVID-19, please call the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, visit http://www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).

For non-medical questions, contact the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085.

Annual Property Tax Auction is canceled

The Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector has canceled the property tax auction scheduled for Monday, March 23, following the closure of the County Service Center on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The closure was a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Treasurer-Tax Collector expects to offer all remaining properties on the auction list at the next auction if the delinquent property taxes remain unpaid. We are tentatively planning to hold the next auction online later this year. We appreciate your interest in the Orange County Property Tax Auction.

You can sign up to receive text message or email alerts on upcoming tax auctions at ocgov.com/octaxauctionreminder. To get the latest information on the upcoming property tax payment deadline, sign up for the secured property tax reminders at ocgov.com/octaxreminder or visit ttc.ocgov.com.

For the latest information on COVID-19, go to ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

COVID-19 Testing Availability

Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now available in a number of public health, commercial and hospital laboratories in California, however broad scale testing is not available.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has provided guidance for prioritizing testing based on medical need. Testing based on medical need will ensure that people who most need testing can get results rapidly and will reduce strain on the health care system.

CDPH guidelines for persons who may be considered for testing depending on clinical severity and community health relevance include:

  1. Hospitalized patients who have signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control or medical management.
  2. Residents and staff of long-term care facilities with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
  3. Other persons who are at higher risk for severe infection with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19. These persons include older adults (age >65 years) and individuals with chronic medical conditions.
  4. Residents and staff of correctional facilities and other congregate settings with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
  5. Healthcare personnel with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19.

Persons in these categories with mild illness should contact their health care provider by phone to discuss the need for testing.

Persons with mild respiratory symptoms who do not otherwise need medical care and who are not in one of the above groups should not be routinely tested for COVID-19. These persons should care for themselves at home as they normally would for a mild illness.

In addition, ill persons should stay home and away from others until there has been no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, there has been improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) for at least 3 days; AND it is at least 7 days since symptoms first appeared, i.e., the minimum length of time will be 7 days.

Asymptomatic persons should not be tested for COVID-19. Current testing for COVID-19 cannot detect prior infection. Testing a person without symptoms does not rule out the possibility that person may become ill in the future.

As always, consult your healthcare provider for personal medical advice.

For general information about COVID-19, please call the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, visit http://www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus, or follow the HCA on Facebook (@ochealthinfo) and Twitter (@ochealth).

For non-medical questions, contact the County of Orange Public Information Hotline at (714) 628-7085.

This article was released by the Orange County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center.