County: Health chief ‘misspoke’ saying he would forcibly remove the infected from homes

When the health director for California’s Ventura County declared at a news conference that he had mobilized teams who were prepared to remove people infected with the coronavirus from their homes, some residents took him at his word.

“Forcibly remove people from their homes and families??? Do you hear yourself, Levin??” wrote one in the comment section of a Facebook post of video of the news conference Monday.

The reference was to Dr. Robert Levin, the county health director, who was announcing the launch of a pilot program called Community Contact Tracing that deploys health workers who identify and trace people infected with the coronavirus. It’s actually a revamping and expansion of an existing effort to comply with an order from California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The ability to trace the infected and their contacts is one of his indicators for loosening state-wide stay-at-home orders.

“We will isolate every one of them, and we will find every one of their contacts,” Levin told residents of the Southern California county at the televised conference Monday. “And we will make sure they are quarantined and will check in with them every day.”

What really drew the attention of some was Levin’s example of what might happen to an infected person who lives with three or four people in a home with only one bathroom.

“We’re not going to be able to keep that person in the home,” he said. “Every person we are isolating needs to have their own bathroom. “So we will be moving people like this into other kinds of housing that we have available,” said Levin, where the county will provide food and other necessities.

The county’s public information officer, Ashley Bautista, told WND on Wednesday she had been dealing with the reponses of confused and angry citizens.

“So people were feeling like Dr. Levin was saying that the county is going to rip people out of their houses, and that’s just not the case,” she said.

Bautista explained that people who test positive for COVID-19 “are given guidance, and if they can’t safely isolate, and they want a safe place to stay to protect their family, we have alternative options.”

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