Newsom allows California health officials to join confidentiality program to prevent harassment

OC Health Care Agency officer Dr. Nichole Quick speaks at a news conference on March 27, 2020. (KTLA)

OC Health Care Agency officer Dr. Nichole Quick speaks at a news conference on March 27, 2020. (KTLA)

Gov. Gavin Newsom is allowing health officials to hide their addresses under a California state program designed to protect people from harassment or violence.

Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday permitting the secretary of state to make the Safe at Home program available to local health officers and other public health officials.

The program provides substitute mailing addresses for sexual assault and domestic violence victims, among others.

The governor’s office says making public health officials eligible can protect those on the front lines of fighting the virus.

Some public health officials have received threats at their homes, according to the governor.

“Local health officers and other public health officials protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic have been subject to threats and other harassment, including threats and harassment targeted at their places of residence, which threatens to chill the performance of their critical duties,” the governor’s order reads.

Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigned in June after receiving threats over her order for residents to wear face coverings when near others in public to protect against the coronavirus.

Los Angeles County health director, Barbara Ferrer, said she began to receive death threats in May, when “someone very casually suggested that I should be shot” during a live briefing on Facebook.

Earlier this month, a community college instructor with ties to the far-right, anti-government “boogaloo” movement was arrested on suspicion of sending two dozen misogynistic and threatening letters to a Santa Clara County health officer involving the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said.

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