Before her resignation, Dr. Nichole Quick, Orange County’s Chief Health Officer, was the victim of both death threats and protests at her family home in response to her COVID-19 mask order. Dr. Quick issued the order to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 in Orange County as local economies open, and as hospitals have seen a recent increase in community transmission and admissions due to the virus.

This kind of pandemic pushback has seen the resignation of four other health officers in California in the last two months, in Nevada, San Benito, Yolo and Butte counties, as have two public health department directors in San Bernardino and Orange counties (in addition to Quick). As of last week, the state reported nearly 150,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 5,000 deaths. 

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“Health officers are always there working in the background to protect communities from communicable disease. This is the first time I’ve seen this level of animosity,” said Kat DeBurgh, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California, according to CalMatters, noting that one health officer she would not name has a sheriff’s security detail posted outside her home. 

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