Orange County Board of Supervisors Blocks Additional Weekly COVID-19 Public Updates

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
September 8, 2021 Updated: September 23, 2021

In a recent Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisors Andrew Do and Doug Chaffee blocked daily COVID-19 updates and press briefings held by Supervisor Katrina Foley.

Supervisor Do said in a statement: “When we have updated numbers on COVID-19 posted daily, followed by weekly press releases and press calls by the County’s CEO team and our County Health Officer, taking county staff away from their jobs for private publicity events is not the most appropriate use of public resources.

“It is an abuse of power to use county executive staff to self-promote.”

Beginning on Aug. 13, additional daily media briefings were hosted by Foley in partnership with Dr. Chau and the Orange County Health Care Agency, while weekly press releases with updated COVID-19 county information were also published.

While he opposed the daily COVID-19 briefings, Chaffee expressed his support for the health agency in its effort to combat COVID-19.

“As the COVID-19 situation continues to change, we work closely with the OC Health Care Agency to ensure the public is provided with timely and accessible information,” Chaffee said.

Foley responded to the measure, saying the action is “concerning that some view transparency as an abuse of power” amid an ongoing public health crisis.

“As COVID-19 cases surged in August, I began holding regular virtual COVID-19 updates to help fill the information void due to the county’s lack of public engagement,” Foley said in a Sept. 2 statement.

“Since December 2020, the county has not held a public COVID-19 briefing. In July, the county removed the COVID-19 item from our Board meeting agendas, which was the only opportunity available to publicly ask our health officials questions on behalf of Orange County residents. We have obligation to inform and educate the community about this ongoing public health crisis.”

While Chaffee and Do deem the briefings unnecessary, Foley stated they have assisted in debunking myths and engaging with the community.

Despite her colleagues’ response, Foley urged them to reverse their directive and participate in sharing updated information.

The Epoch Times reached out to Supervisor Lisa Bartlett and Don Wagner for comment but their offices didn’t respond by press deadline.

Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna