Senate Convenes Joint Informational Hearing to Examine COVID-19 in California’s U.S.-Mexico Border Region

On Tuesday, the Senate Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation and the Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response convened an informational hearing to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the California-Mexico border region. The hearing began with opening remarks from Select Committee Chair Senator Ben Hueso, Special Committee Chair Senator Lena Gonzalez, and Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento Liliana Ferrer. The hearing featured three panels detailing state and local responses to the pandemic, health care system activities, and economic and public health impacts of COVID-19 on the region.

The first panel featured California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Chief Deputy Director of Policy and Programs Susan Fanelli, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) Deputy Director of Response Operations Eric Lamoureax, and Imperial County Public Health Director Janette Angulo. Representatives from San Diego County and the City of Chula Vista were also featured. Director Angulo discussed the county’s response activities and experiences relative to COVID-19, including its case rates, spread factors, hospitalizations, testing, and mitigation efforts. Ms. Angulo discussed the unique makeup of the jurisdiction and contributors to its rising COVID-19 counts, as well as its ongoing work with federal and state partners in attempt to control the spread of the virus.

Representatives from Scripps Health, Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, El Centro Regional Medical Center, and UC San Diego School of Medicine discussed the impact of the pandemic on the region’s healthcare system, including activities and challenges associated with personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement, hospital capacity, and health care provider protections. The last panel featured representatives from the SANDAG Borders Committee and City of Imperial Beach, Jewish Family Services, and Comite Civico Del Valley to discuss impacts on the region’s residents.

The hearing agenda is available here and a background paper is available here. A video recording of the hearing is available here.