4 more COVID-19 deaths from day before: Board of Supervisors discusses response to COVID-19

7 21 20 BOS

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday, July 21, to discuss the county government response to COVID-19. It was reported that four more people have died with COVID-19 since Monday, bringing the total number of people who have died with the coronavirus in Ventura County to 62. It was also reported that an infant and a 10-year-old in Ventura County are hospitalized with the virus.

The meeting was streamed live and a recording will be available for viewing later Tuesday.

The agenda can be viewed at:

 The Ojai Valley News reported on the meeting as it occurred.

Ventura County Public Health Director Dr. Robert Levin reported:

Sixty-two people have died with COVID-19 in Ventura County. The most who have ever died from the flu in previous years in Ventura County is 49, Levin said.

He asked residents to get the flu shot.

With those 62 deaths, it reminds us that if we had not taken the aggressive steps we had taken .... we would have seen 250 deaths by now, at least. Since only 2 to 3% of us in the county have had COVID infection and most symptoms are mild, a lot of us have not had COVID affect us personally.

He read an article in the New England Journal of Medicine with a doctor's graphic description of a patient dying from COVID-19.

He said, "This disease can have serious consequences."

He reminded people to minimize contact with people outside our homes, to keep physically distant, wash hands, wear a face covering, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm and don't go to work if you are sick.



Ventura County Public Heath Director Rigoberto Vargas reported:

One infant and one 10-year-old child are hospitalized in Ventura County with COVID-19. 

He said the outbreak at the Oxnard farmworker housing, Villa Las Brisas, which affected 204 people, has been contained and that the last person who had it was OK on July 20. 

Latest COVID-19 numbers as of July 21:

— 204 new cases over the day before.

— 95 in ICU.

— 4 new deaths since Monday, for a total of 62 deaths of people who have died with COVID-19 in Ventura County.

— The 62 Ventura County residents who have died with COVID-19 translates to 1.04% of people who have been diagnosed in the county with COVID-19.

— The COVID-19 positivity rate is inching upward.




County CEO Mike Powers:

"There is a plan moving forward for housing the more than 300 medically vulnerable, who were being housed through the FEMA, state, county partnership called Project Roomkey that the county ended on June 30.

The supervisors approved $3 million for motel vouchers for 130 people who will have case-management assistance, said Powers. He said Project Roomkey is "transforming into another program."


Rental assistance:

2,640 applicants in this program.

60 under review for potential 1,666 individuals who will be eligible.

77% of applicants showed a significant need.

Ethnciity: 46% of applicants Latino; 44% white or Caucasian.

Largest segement were 25- to 60-year-olds

July 24 to early August for release of those checks.


Paul Stamper, deputy county executive officer, about $10 million in business grants

The county will be conducting a lottery for eligible applicants for the federal coronavirus relief funds that businesses applied for during a two-week period that ended early July. Checks will be delivered by Aug. 12.

5,314 applications for this program for businesses that do business from $25,000 to $2 million.

Ventura County businesses received more than $1 billion in separate Paycheck Protection Program loans.

 Scott Powers of the county CEO Office:

$2 million from coronavirus relief funds to go to county executive office for facility improvements to facilitate social distancing in buildings, money to nonprofits and other purposes.


Public comment from woman who asks that the rental assistance program not be altered from how it was originally approved for three different lotteries.



Moment of inspiration at start of meeting

Kay Wilson-Bolton, head of SPIRIT of Santa Paula, which provides a shelter and homeless services in Santa Paula, provided a "moment of inspiration" about the program as she waited in line to pick up food from the county food bank, FOOD Share, for distribution to those in need in Santa Paula.

Wilson-Bolton said the shelter is currently housing 37 people, including three children.

The program and Wilson-Bolton's work were praised by Supervisors Kelly Long, John Zaragoza, Steve Bennett and Linda Parks. 

Public comments with most from CAUSE and MICOP addressing farmworker protection from COVID-19

There were 58 public comments to speak for a maximum of 1 minute and 30 seconds.  

 Woman named Vanessa speaking about the needs of essential farmworkers:

We ask you to create a field sanitation protection order and provide safety guidance as enforceable law.

 Associate organizing director of CAUSE:

Asks supervisors to direct Public Health to make Cal-OSHA rules enforceable by law by the Public Health officer.

Workers consistently live in fear abut speaking up.

Community organizer with CAUSE

Every day, I hear more and more stories of farmworkers testing positive for COVID-19.

Their families are also getting sick. 

Please include screening for farmworkers and education and prevention awareness.

Arturo de la Nueva

I am a community organizer with CAUSE concerned about safety of farmworkers.

Request Public Health tests farmworkers in outbreak. More than 200 are between the ages of 20 and 30 have tested positive and have mild symptoms. They are not getting the same treatment as Americans with COVID-19.

Enforce screening, have N-95 masks and enforce social distancing.


Estrella Torres

Community leader with CAUSE concerned about health and safety of farmworkers.

A large percentage have tested positive for COVID-19. My parents and grandparents have worked as farmworkers. Pandemic has left many essential workers jobless and unable to pay their rent. Please provide regular inspections, N95 masks, enforce physical distancing and sanitizing bathrooms.


Youth leader with CAUSE.

Protect essential workers. Numbers of farmworkers who have COVID-19 is a wake-up call.

Carmen Juarez

Young adult leader with CAUSE.

Here to talk about farmworker protections. Seen the conditions they have to deal with at work, including bathrooms that are not clean.

Recently in Oxnard, 85% of farmworkers in one area tested positive for COVID-19. Need frequent inspections of H2a (temporary agricultural worker) facilities.


Ylingua with CAUSE

Few if any reliable safety inspections have been provided for farmworkers. Farmworkers are forgotten in our community. We need real accountability. Social distancing is a privilege many of our farmworkers don't have. Give farmworkers better safety conditions and benefits.

Odenna Lopez

CAUSE adult leader who lives in South Oxnard.

Farmworkers just treated as hands and bodies.

Outbreak occurred in our county. Pandemic highlights the vulnerability of our farmworkers. We are terrified of getting COVID-19 because if one of us gets it, we all do.

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) needs to make laws for agricultural workers.

Jazmin Gomez

Community leader with CAUSE

Coronavirus outbreak in Oxnard's fields — you, Board of Supervisors, need to provide inspections.

Our economy in Santa Paula is made up of agriculture. The workers are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. Provide access to clean bathrooms, water and housing, make sure they have access to testing and protection from COVID-19.


Migue Angel Sanchez

Community leader with CAUSE. 

Protect essential workers. They are working during this crisis of the coronavirus.  I have many family members who work in agriculture. They are not provided with the most basic things to protect themselves from COVID-19. They should be provided with necessary N95 masks, sanitizer, clean restrooms, ability to stay 6 feet apart. If the farmworkers get it, they can spread it to their families.


Nico Vargas

Community leader with CAUSE in Santa Paula. This is a wake-up call. Provide a healthy environment for workers.


Nidia Varelo

Community organizer with CAUSE. Wildfires in this pandemic shows that farmworkers are considered disposable essential workers. Make Cal/OSHA recommendations requirements.


John Ziegler of Camarillo 

I asked you at the last meeting to take a position if your emperor should be fired for not requiring masks for three months.

Supervisor Bennett said Dr. Levin was not wrong all along.

I would like to ask Dr. Levin if he agrees with Bennett's explanation.

How many people have gotten COVID-19 from beaches Dr. Levin closed over 4th of July holiday. I don't expect these questions to be answered.


Deborah Baber of Port Hueneme who was escorted out of Ojai grocery store on July 10:

Tells "fable" of prisoner having toenail removed day after day and then on 10th day is allowed to keep his toenail.

"We are being conditioned that one size fits all and that is not true."


Yeznia Ponce

Youth leader with CAUSE

Mom who is a farmworker tells me every day how many of her co-workers are not at work because they have COVID-19.


Kimberly Garcia

Implore the board to give farmworkers N95 masks, screening, etc.

How many people have to die before the board takes action?


Juvenal Solano

Community organizer with MICOP

Concern about safety of farmworkers. Ask board to protect farmworkers. Pandemic shows the world that farmworkers are essential.

Some companies are putting barriers 

Examples of injustice.

Have to provide they are sick before they can access sick leave. Worker has to have COVID-19 test twice in order to get 80 hours of sick leave.

Sonia Zapan

Youth organizer with Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP)

I work with youth farmworkers. I am really concerned with their health and safety. I am asking the board to protect these essential workers. Agricultural industry is largest industry. I ask that the agricultural commissioner require employers to let their workers know they are entitled to sick leave, in Spanish and indigenous languages.


Jorge Teledano

Community leader with MICOP

I am so really worried about the health of the agricultural workers. And I am here to ask the Board of Supervisors to protect these essential workers.

Please do your part or whatever it takes to stop the spread.

Frequently, the agricultural workers have to be in living conditions where there are too many people in one household and they also have to share rides in automobiles so they can also go to work. This means that they can be infected and be contagious to other people with them. We need to do whatever it takes to stop contagion at the workplace and at the packinghouses. We ask the Board of Supervisors to create an inspection and sanitary cleaning of all of these worksites. Please create a new regulation with Cal/OSHA in regard to COVID-19.

Lydia Lopez

I work with CAUSE and MICOP. I am here to talk about the health of essential workers in the fields. Here in Ventura County, we hear a lot about the COVID-19 pandemic. There are growers not following the distancing of the workers and the cleanliness of the bathrooms. Growers are not setting up shady areas for the workers. The workers do not know they have the right to 80 hours if they test positive for COVID-19. The growers are not telling the workers where they can get a free test in case they get sick and they do not tell the what their rights are.

The immigrants are in great fear because of their migrant status. And the growers get to threaten them when they seek to get help for themselves. They say, "You are going to get reported to an immigration officer if you say anything." We ask you to tell the agricultural commissioner to tell the growers to tell the workers that they have rights during this situation.

Rosita Lopez

Community leader with MICOP

I am worried about the health of the agricultural workers. Here to ask the board to protect the health of these workers. Many in the fields do not know where to get tested for COVID-19. They are not social distancing because there is not enough space in the shade. They are afraid to ask for more. These messages should be given in indigenous languages more than they are given in Spanish, so they can understand them. Many of our farmworkers are our brothers and do not know where they would go if they tested positive for COVID-19. We are asking Cal/OSHA and Public Health to do an inspection.


Shirley Lane

First, what I want to tell you ... we, the electorate, are over you, the board. We know that this surge is meaningless. The numbers are wrong and yet we are acting as if... we seem to be more locked down than we were at the beginning of the pandemic.... Find out the truth because we are not being told the truth.

Hard to see all these businesses. ... now we have govenrment in there ... the masks are meaningless. It's just a big fear factor.


Ymay Ramirez

CAUSE in Oxnard

Health and safety of essential workers have been overlooked. Results have been outbreaks of COVID in Oxnard. .. The horrible circumstances are not new. ... Our farmworkers are at a higher risk. ... Growers must provide safe and clean workplaces. We are calling on you, Board of Superivsors, to make Cal/OSHA recommendations a requirement.

Why are these conditions acceptable for our farmworkers?


Ryan Navarette

CAUSE from Oxnard

I am frustrated by how the farmworkers are working in these conditions of COVID-19. Workers still do not know if they are positive. Provide masks, gloves so they can be protected. Farmworkers do not have any sick leave. Half are undocumented. How will they seek healthcare?

Jennifer Martinez

Community leader with CAUSE

My parents are farmworkers. Like all other farmworkers, they work under awful conditions.

There is fear growing among the workers because they are not able to fully protect themselves during work. These communities do not have the privilege of social distancing. Many live in crowded conditions and carpool.

Crystal Gonzales

CAUSE youth leader from Oxnard

I am a daughter of two farmworkers and I am concerned for their health and all other farmworkers. Two-hundred-plus farmworkers have tested positive. 

The Rev. Dr. Betty Stapleford

Here as co-chair of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Ventura County.

Imagine for a minute that you are an undocumented immigrant farmworker int he fields.

Now those conditions have been made even more difficult.

But here's one that hasn't been mentioned. What do you do about your children at home? And they are missing out on their education because they may not have the Internet and ar not getting the same relief payments citizens get.

We can't let this go on. Our Ventura County goverment must assist them. As a person of faith, I beg for your support. Please don't let these people be lost.


--- Rodriguez


Really worried about the workers' safety. Here to ask you, as the Board of Supervisors, to act to protect these essential workers.

Claudia Chavez with CAUSE

Massive outbreak in Oxnard. Farmworkers are being considered as robots. They are not. 


Community leader with CAUSE

I want everyone to think about the last time they ate delicous summer strawberries. There is a refusal to see these farmworkers beyond their labor. Consider, as if your lives depended on it, to inform workers about sick leave, provide screening and end retaliation against workers who have COVID-19.


Julia Diaz

Imagine transformation of the Board of Supervisors budget — $50 million to Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office and probation combined.

Transform public safety, expand mental health, dismantle systemic racism, help education.

We need to end the overpolicing in our communities. Redefine law enforcement. Our community demands community peacebuilders and health workers as our new first responders.


Sochi Lopez

Policy intern with CAUSE

Protect our essential farmworkers. Ensure the industry does its part to slow the spread. In my house alone, there are more than 10 people in a three-bedroom house. Our farmworkers are essential and it is time to be treating them so.

Manuel Perez

CAUSE youth leader from Oxnard

Demands we hope you will take into consideration. Farmworkers should be protected during these difficult times. Many are getting COVID-19. "Absolutely nothing is being done about it." I am enraged to see countermeasures are not being taken to protect farmworkers from COVID-19. Ask for better protection for farmworkers.

Dolores Ortiz, professor at Oxnard College

California is home to 2.1 million agricultural workers. Agriculture is our largest export and one of the largest employers in the county. We know farmworker workplaces are COVID-19 hot spots. Growers resisted actions from organizers to provide safer conditions. I ask the Board of Supervisors to push Cal/OSHA recommendations to be requirements. 


Gloria :

There's no emergency. You are breaking the law by allowing this fraudulent emergency so you can get relief funds.

You are promoting mass paranoia and hypochondria. Test was never tested. What about the people who are sick and dying? Do not assume people who are sick are still suffering from the same cause.

This so-called epidemic is the biggest con of all time. ...


Gabriela Becerra

Simi Valley

Not once has the immune system been brought up in any media. If you are so interested in keeping us safe, why are you not telling us our best mask is our immune system? ... Why are you asking us to wear an oxygen-deprivation device? ... Why are you urging us to do everything the opposite of keeping us safe, which is slowly poisoning us by reducing our immune system? This is just fraud.

Laura Espinosa of Santa Paula

Rectify past funding allocations to other social concerns. Voter-approved Measure S bond money for Ventura County Community College District was diverted for a sheriff's academy. County should refund money so it will be spent as it was intended for educational services in the Santa Clara River Valley.


Mary Haffner, Behavioral Health Board

County is trying to shoot the messenger about improvements that need to be made to mental health services in Ventura County.