O.C. health officer receives threats over face covering mandate

Dawn Krawczyk disinfects clothing before placing it back on the rack
Dawn Krawczyk, a sales floor manager at Yuba Blue, a women’s clothing store in Grass Valley, uses steam to disinfect a romper before placing it back on the rack.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel condemned what she deemed to be a death threat against County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick this week.

Quick recently drew ire from some residents over her health order mandating that people wear cloth face coverings while in public. Several residents spoke angrily against the order during public comments at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

One woman, who identified herself as an attorney, disparaged Quick’s experience in the medical field and read her home address aloud, saying she planned to take a group to Quick’s home and “do calisthenics in masks on her front doorstep” in an attempt to prove that face coverings are unsafe.


The woman echoed what other critics have said about face coverings posing a danger to people’s oxygen levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously said that children younger than 2 and anyone with a breathing issue should not wear a face covering.

“When people start dropping like flies, and they will, I am going to ask every first responder in a 30-mile radius to roll lights and sirens to her front door and you had best pray they can revive whoever went down because if they can’t … I will be asking the O.C. D.A.’s office to charge it as murder,” she said.

Later in Tuesday’s meeting, Steel announced that Quick, who had joined the meeting via phone, had ended the call because one of the speakers had announced her home address.

“No one deserves to be threatened or intimidated the way she was,” Steel said during a media briefing Thursday. “I strongly condemn this behavior and it should never happen again.”

Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials said Quick has received several threats and has expressed concern for her safety.

“We have been in touch with her and are working to address those safety concerns,” said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department.


Orange County’s sheriff previously said that his department had no intention of enforcing residents’ face covering use.

“We are not the mask police — nor do I intend to be the mask police,” Sheriff Don Barnes told the county Board of Supervisors. “I think what we have seen repeatedly throughout the community is Orange County residents acting responsibly.”

On Friday, Orange County confirmed 145 additional COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, bringing the county’s death toll to 185 and the total number of infections to more than 5,900.

The number marks the county’s highest reported count since Saturday’s 175.

About 255 individuals are hospitalized in the county, including 98 in intensive care.

The cities most affected by the virus have been Santa Ana and Anaheim — the county’s most populous areas. Each has reported more than 1,000 cases, as other areas have ranged between 100 and 300, or far less.

Case count by city and population:

Aliso Viejo51,37228
Buena Park83,384166
Costa Mesa115,830109
Coto de Caza14,9316
Dana Point34,24929
Fountain Valley56,65257
Garden Grove175,155316
Huntington Beach203,761334
La Habra63,542106
La Palma15,82019
Ladera Ranch30,28814
Laguna Beach23,35846
Laguna Hills31,57232
Laguna Niguel66,74838
Laguna Woods16,5189
Lake Forest86,34656
Los Alamitos11,72179
Midway City8,37413
Mission Viejo96,43470
Newport Beach87,180142
Rancho Mission ViejoNot Available8
Rancho Santa Margarita48,96021
San Clemente65,40566
San Juan Capistrano36,82155
Santa Ana337,7161,126
Seal Beach25,07319
Trabuco CanyonNot Available13
Villa Park5,9337
Yorba Linda68,70677