This press release serves as an update with the most current information in regards to COVID-19. The information is compiled from sources which include the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA).
The Huntington Beach Fire Department (HBFD) is remaining vigilant in response to the ever changing environment and direction from our partner agencies. The HBFD is committed to ensuring the safety of our community and visitors. At this time, our operational priority is to remain proactive and up to date with all current information and guidance documents in regards to the COVID-19 virus.
The HBFD has implemented a command structure to continue planning and preparing for the local impact of the COVID-19 virus. Command staff members have begun planning for emergency operations to include emergency medical services, public information, public education and outreach and employee health.
All HBFD operations personnel have received updated training to include:
- The use of additional personal protective equipment
- Triage and treatment of Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19
- Appropriate notifications to County partner agencies
Additional personal protective equipment has been purchased and each fire department unit has been outfitted with the additional equipment.
Currently, the HBFD has instituted an internal tracking mechanism to identify PUI to ensure that appropriate testing, follow-up at hospitals and notifications are made to appropriate agencies. Continuous communication with other local fire agencies and the HCA is occurring on a daily basis.
All HBFD ambulances have been outfitted with isolation protection and new policies have been instituted to ensure that industry best practices are being taken in regards to decontamination after each use.
The HBFD, in collaboration with our Senior Center staff, have identified three skilled nursing facilities and eight assisted living facilities that house our most at risk community members. A team of HBFD members have visited each of these sites in the last 24 hours. During these visits, HBFD staff have made contact with the medical director and/or facility management staff to review procedures for preventing, notifying and responding to a possible COVID – 19 related illness. Plans for continual communication and outreach with these locations will ensure that there is a tangible link established between our most at-risk community members and the first responders.
Our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been activated in response to the Covid-19 threat. On Saturday, March 14, 2020 our CERT members will be making field visits with the mission of making contact with the site managers of our 150 residential board and care facilities, rehabilitation centers, children’s homes and dialysis centers. All of which potentially contain a high risk population. Contact information will be gathered, a master e-mail list established and a brief summary will be provided regarding recommended precautions. Continual contact will be established with opportunities to disseminate up-to-date information via the email master list.
The HCA has made the following recommendations:
- CDC guidance indicates that people who have casual contact with an infected person (e.g. in the same grocery store or movie theater) are at minimal risk of developing infection.
- If you have not been to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Italy or been in close contact with someone who has been to one of these countries and is sick, your risk is very low.
- If you have been to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Italy and feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing within 14 days after you left one of these countries, you should:
- Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
The HCA has stated that the current risk of infection to the public in Orange County is believed to be low.
- According to the CDC, older adults (ages 60 and higher) as well as people who have serious, chronic medical conditions (like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease) are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. These individuals should avoid crowds as much as possible, including non-essential air travel and cruises.
- All residents should practice good health hygiene which includes washing your hands with soap and water, staying home if you are sick, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not hands).
Last night, Governor Newsom and state public health officials announced updated guidance on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The California Department of Public Health has issued the following statements:
- Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled.
- This includes gatherings such as concerts, conferences and professional, college and school sporting events.
- Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six (6) feet per person should be postponed or canceled.
- This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms and other venues.
- Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people.
- This includes gatherings such as those at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes, and support groups for people with health conditions.
- A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria or any other indoor or outdoor space.
For more information on the COVID-19 virus and current events that have been canceled over the next thirty days in Huntington Beach:
The City of Huntington Beach has also established a COVID-19 hotline at (714) 536-5978.
For more information please visit the following links: