After several days of confusion and unanswered questions surrounding the recent announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) patients would be placed in quarantine at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Senator John M. W. Moorlach sent the following letter to Governor Newsom seeking clarification about the issues this decision presents:
February 25, 2020
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor, State of California
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Fairview Developmental Center as a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Quarantine Site
Dear Governor Newsom:
The decision to move repatriated individuals who have tested positive to Coronavirus from Travis Air Force Base to Fairview Developmental Center (FDC) has been received with a lot of questions and valid concerns by my constituents. Without having been consulted until after your Administration recommended FDC to the federal government, I have been working hard to provide answers and see if there are alternatives that would take care of infected Californians while protecting the good people of Southern California.
In order to accomplish this, I am requesting that you work with me so that I may communicate concerns from local officials in Orange County who are legitimately opposed to having Coronavirus patients being quarantined into our densely populated urban areas, second only to San Francisco according to census data. That factor alone should have given state officials pause when considering a site for a virus where scientists and medical professionals are still uncertain about the speed, method and duration in which it is transmitted.
From our initial research, I believe that there could be superior alternatives to Fairview Developmental Center. I have a few questions for you or your Administration that may help find a better alternative.
- According to the Statewide Property Inventory, the State of California owns or leases 37,279 properties throughout the State. Of these properties, how many have at least 10 individual bedrooms with attached bathrooms?
- Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, declared in court on February 23rd that Fairview was the only one of these sites suitable for putting patients with this highly contagious disease. How many of the 37,279 properties on the Statewide Property Inventory had Dr. Ghaly evaluated?
- After signing his February 23, 2020 declaration, what has Dr. Ghaly done to identify an alternative “suitable state-owned site” for the purpose described in paragraph 18 of his declaration?
- Since February 1, 2020, what has any State official done to identify alternative “suitable state-owned sites” for the purpose described in paragraph 18 of Dr. Ghaly’s declaration?
- Dr. Ghaly said, “There is no clinical indication that the health of the community in Costa Mesa would be jeopardized by housing COVID-19 patients at Fairview.” However, this is a virus about which little is known and is more readily being associated with the word “pandemic,” causing the recent plummet in the stock market. With all the factors being considered, what makes Fairview Developmental Center the most appropriate quarantine site?
Communication is the key to battling the threat of the Coronavirus. As the state is considering the next steps on addressing the Coronavirus please understand our collective concerns and act in a way that protects the health of our community as well as the health of those infected with the virus.
Should you or your staff have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or connect with my Chief of Staff, Lance Christensen.
Very truly yours,
Senator John M. W. Moorlach
37th Senatorial District