FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims Ventura County Will Forcibly Remove People Who Test Positive For COVID-19 From Their Homes To Quarantine
A post shared on Facebook claims that Ventura County, California, officials will forcibly remove people who test positive for COVID-19 from their homes to quarantine.
Ventura County and its public health department have refuted the claim.
The claim that the California county will “forcibly remove” people who test positive for coronavirus from their homes to place them in “‘quarantine’ centers” appears to stem from remarks that Dr. Robert Levin, the director of Ventura County Public Health, made last month. While speaking before the board of supervisors in early May, Levin spoke about a plan to hire more contact tracers to “find people who have COVID-19 and immediately isolate them, find every one of their contacts, make sure they stay quarantined and check in with them every day,” according to Fox News.
“For instance, if they live in a home where there’s only one bathroom and there are three or four other people living there, and those people don’t have COVID infection, we’re not going to be able to keep the person in that home,” Levin went on to say, according to video of the press conference. “Every person who we are isolating, for instance, needs to have their own bathroom. And so we’ll be moving people like this into other kinds of housing that we have available.”
The Ventura County government later clarified on Facebook that it is “not removing people from their homes” and provided a statement from Levin. (RELATED: Does The Australian Government’s COVIDSafe App Track Users’ Locations?)
“What I would like to say to those people who interpreted what I said as forcibly pulling people from their homes if they become COVID positive is that if I conveyed that, it was a mistake on my part and I apologize for that,” the statement quotes Levin as saying. “I am sensitive to that as well. We have no intention of taking people from the environments they feel safe and comfortable in.”
The Ventura County Public Health Department also confirmed to the fact-checking website Lead Stories that people won’t be forcibly taken out of their homes. Levin’s comment referred to housing that the county has available for people who cannot self-isolate properly at home and would like to voluntarily do so elsewhere to protect others living in the household, according to the Thousand Oaks Acorn.
The state has reported over 170,000 positive COVID-19 cases to date, according to the California Department of Public Health website.