Ventura County doesn’t report any new COVID-19 case numbers on Saturdays or Sundays. This means that our Monday reports, which include test results that come back over the weekend, have worryingly high numbers. Until recently, reminding myself that the number covered three days calmed me. This didn’t work today.

Today’s report was 1,289 new cases since Friday.

Even though evidence has been piling up since before Thanksgiving that coronavirus infections were accelerating in the county, the closest we residents get to local public health policy is hearing, “Please continue to wear a mask, social distance, wash hands frequently and avoid gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

This comes in weekday emails from the county for those who subscribe. Today’s email also included text from this message:

The County of Ventura, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County will be seeking State approval to separate from the large Southern California Region under the State’s Stay Home Order to create a smaller tri-county Central Coast Region. The Counties will be submitting a unified request for the smaller regional approach if the tri-county ICU capacity exceeds 15% in the next three weeks. At that time the Counties will request to be assessed based on the tri-county ICU capacity and not the Southern California Regional ICU capacity.

This effort is consistent with the state-wide Republican1 talking points pushing back against the Governor’s public health efforts under the flag of ‘local control’ and a call for data that supports the governor’s decisions.

In the same spirit, we ask Mike Powers, our county’s Executive Officer, for the data that supports the formation of a tri-county Central Coast region within the governor’s COVID-19 framework. What are the benefits to Ventura County and the state? What are the costs to both? Please share the data. Public policy works better if citizens understand and trust it.

  1. Remember that “Republican” means membership in the “Grand Old Party” (GOP), a party led by Donald J. Trump. By silently standing up for a corrupt leader, members of the GOP show they have lost their moral center and their credibility. County leadership, by adopting GOP talking points during this pandemic, may be showing their spine.