Orange County health official resigns after receiving threats

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SANTA ANA (AP) — A high-ranking public health official for Southern California’s Orange County has resigned after receiving threats over her order for residents wear to face coverings when near others in public to protect against the coronavirus.
Dr. Nichole Quick, the county’s health officer, left her job late Monday, said Jessica Good, a spokeswoman for the county health care agency.
Quick is the seventh senior health official to resign in California since the pandemic began and the officials suddenly faced unprecedented pressure, criticism and threats, said Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California.
At a recent Orange County board of supervisors meeting, a resident said she would invite others to hold workout sessions outside Quick’s home while wearing masks in protest.
DeBurgh said residents also took a banner depicting Quick as a Nazi to a public meeting and held protests outside her home.
The threats against Quick had been denounced by Michelle Steel, chair of Orange County’s Board of Supervisors.
Quick issued her order in late May to try to limit the spread of the virus as the Southern California county began reopening more businesses. A similar order is in place in neighboring Los Angeles County.
In addition to the California public health officials who have resigned, one was given a sheriff’s escort to provide security, DeBurgh said.
“We certainly have had angry comments at meetings before, especially around vaccines, but this level of threat, of having to have a sheriff’s escort, we haven’t seen it before,” DeBurgh said.
Orange County has reported 7,500 cases of the virus and 177 deaths.