OC Supes Bar Health Officials From COVID Briefings

For over a month, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley has been keeping residents updated on the COVID-19 situation with regular press conferences featuring local health officials and public health experts. Now her colleagues are trying to shut those briefings down.

Board of Supervisors Chair Andrew Do and Vice Chair Doug Chaffee have ordered the county’s health experts to stop participating in the events.

“Taking county staff away from their jobs for private publicity events is not the most appropriate use of public resources,” said Do. “It is an abuse of power to use county executive staff to self-promote.”

Foley denies the briefings are self-serving. They’ve been filling a vacuum ever since the Board of Supervisors stopped providing updates of its own. The pressers have also been used to combat public health misinformation about COVID-19 – a crisis which has led to “unavoidable illness and death,” according to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Foley says she invited Do and Chaffee to speak at one of the recent pressers. They declined.

At times, the information offered at the briefings has contradicted the rosier picture painted by elected officials. Foley has repeatedly called for greater transparency from the county.

Foley has pledged to continue holding the COVID-19 briefings with or without county health staff. If Do and Chaffee don’t like it, they’ll just have to tune out.