Social Services Agency Closes Orange County Offices to Fight COVID-19

December 29, 2020 Updated: December 29, 2020

Orange County’s Social Services Agency (SSA) closed its public assistance lobbies Dec. 28 to help mitigate a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout Southern California.

The agency has asked the public to use the SSA’s website to access necessary services—but for those needing critical assistance, staff will be stationed outside its four regional offices in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Aliso Viejo, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“SSA has implemented a triage process … to greet clients and assess their needs prior to entering the lobby,” Laura Turtzer, spokesperson for the County of Orange Social Services Agency, told The Epoch Times.

During the triage process, clients are greeted, screened, and informed about the best ways to receive the services they require.

“Given the rate of the current COVID-19 positive cases in the community, and the effectiveness of the triage process SSA implemented, the agency made the determination to close the lobbies of these offices,” Turtzer said.

“This temporary closure will allow the agency the opportunity to re-evaluate our current lobby workflow, configuration, and protocols, since most clients are immediately being served without entering our lobbies.”

SSA does not anticipate any impact in the availability of services provided to clients as a result of the lobby closures, Turtzer said, adding that most clients do not have to enter the lobbies to receive services.

In another adjustment, staff and services at the Aliso Viejo Regional Center (AVRC) will be changing locations to the Laguna Hills Regional Center (LHRC) at 23330 Moulton Parkway starting Dec. 31. The LHRC lobby will remain closed, and staff will be positioned in front of the office beginning on Jan. 4, 2021.

The SSA—which administers the CalFresh, Medi-Cal, General Relief, and CalWORKS programs, among others—said it will consider reopening its lobbies as early as mid-January.