SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – Orange County’s public health chief has received several threats over her order that face-coverings remain mandatory in public, a divisive issue which has prompted angry debate on both sides.
O.C. Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick issued the order May 23 making face-coverings a requirement while in public. It came on the same day that the state gave O.C. permission to reopen restaurants for in-person dining and retailers for in-person shopping. The governor Tuesday also gave permission for O.C. hair salons and barbershops to reopen.
Prior to that, masks were only mandated for employees interacting with the public.
During the public comment’s portion of Tuesday’s O.C. Board of Supervisors meeting, someone on the call made a death threat against Quick and referenced her home address.
“Unfortunately, during the public comments, Dr. Quick received a death threat,” O.C. Supervisor Michelle Steele said in a news conference Thursday. “While many people have strong emotions related to the facial coverings order. It’s never appropriate to intimidate or threaten violence, particularly with our public health director.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Quick had received several threats and was taking steps to ensure her protection.
“Dr. Quick has received several threatening statements,” OCSD spokesperson Carrie Braun told the Voice of OC. “Those came both through public comments, and (through) statements that were made online. She has understandably expressed concern for her safety.”
O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes told the board earlier this week he has no intention of having his deputies enforce the mandatory mask order, saying he is not the “mask police.”
As of Thursday, O.C. has reported 5,744 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 142 deaths from the disease.