The Grand Jury investigation found that the public health needs of the County’s residents were not met in a timely manner during this unprecedented public health emergency.
The Grand Jury attributed this shortfall to a lack of designated leadership for the pandemic response, a lack of definitive policies and procedures, and a lack of adequate training for employees pressed into the roles of disaster service workers.
The Grand Jury’s findings and adoption of the recommendations contained in this report should greatly improve the County’s ability to mitigate the current pandemic and ensure adequate preparedness when the next emergency occurs.
The challenges to San Joaquin County brought on by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the 2020-2021 Grand Jury to request a presentation by County staff outlining their capabilities and response to the situation. An investigation was opened into the County’s overall capabilities, preparedness, and response to the devastating effects of the pandemic.
…dedicated and capable County employees worked tirelessly to contain the virus, but their efforts were hampered and delayed by organizational and policy issues.
…National, State, and Local Incident Command policies and procedures, as well as the county Emergency Operations Plan, were not working as effectively as they should.
…lack of designated leadership for the pandemic response, a lack of definitive policies and procedures, and a lack of adequate training for employees pressed into the roles of disaster service workers.
Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) cover three primary issues:
revision of the County’s Public Health Services organizational structure to place the Public Health Officer (PHO) as a direct report to the Director of Health Care Services;
written clarification of policies for placement and re-call of personnel deployed as disaster service workers; and
written policies with definitive procedures requiring all County employees who may be called upon to perform disaster service work be trained annually on the County’s Emergency Operation Plan.
Board of Supervisors
The Board of Supervisors agreed or partially agreed to all the Grand Jury’s findings except for the finding
Additionally, the Board of Supervisors have implemented or plan to implement all the Grand Jury recommendations, except for the recommendation of placing the County Public Health Officer as a Direct Report to the Director of Health Care Services Agency.