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COVID-19: Local Health Department Needs in Southern California

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Timestamp —  March 9, 2020 

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance), a program of the Public Health Institute, is a coalition of the executive leadership from eight local health departments (LHDs), including the Counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura, and the Cities of Long Beach and Pasadena. Collectively, our members have statutory responsibility for the health of approximately 19.4 million people, nearly 50% of the State of California’s population. Our local health department members represent a range of urban, suburban, and community contexts, and differing political environments. The Alliance works with our members to build healthy, equitable communities through upstream multi-sector policy, systems and environmental change, and mobilizes the transformative power of local public health for enduring health equity. Our vision is “vibrant and activated communities achieving health, justice, and opportunities for all.”

As of March 9, 2020, six LHDs in Southern California have declared local health emergencies: the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego, and the Cities of Long Beach and Pasadena. The State of California has also declared an emergency. We expect more LHDs in Southern California to declare emergencies in the near future now that the State and surrounding communities have declared them. Our region is also home to several major quarantine sites, including military bases in Ventura, Riverside and San Diego counties, as well as major airports and seaports that handle passenger and freight traffic, that have been at the frontline of addressing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Several jurisdictions are also dealing with cruise ships coming into port with people diagnosed with COVID-19 and response management. Specific requests are highlighted for emphasis.

What are the Top Needs of Southern California Local Health Departments to Address COVID-19?

The Alliance has collected information about COVID-19 response efforts via an in-person convening of the directors, health officers, and executive teams from our LHD members on February 28th and additional one-on-one key informant communications the week of March 3rd. We also reached out to several healthcare partners to get their perspectives. The needs identified in the brief represent the collective feedback we received.

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