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Grand jury investigates SLO County's response to COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 12:14 PM, Mar 02, 2022

A new report from the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury looks into the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing recommendations based on the members’ findings.

The 26-page report released this week states the Grand Jury received complaints from citizens who said the county “did not act fast enough and appropriately in managing the distribution of vaccines in response to the life-threatening pandemic facing SLO County residents.”

The report calls the pandemic “the single largest event to upend the way of life in San Luis Obispo County (SLO County or the County) in decades” and because of that, the Grand Jury felt it was important to look into how the county responded.

It details vaccinations and the difficulties the county had with receiving vaccines in early 2021 and how they prioritized who received them and when.

Despite an “unknown and unreliable supply,” the Grand Jury says the county did a “commendable job” in responding to the public health emergency.

The report also states SLO County “was one of the few counties in the State to provide mass vaccination clinics and moved quickly to set them up before receiving directions from the State.”

The Grand Jury did not find fault with the county’s response, but did provide recommendations to the county based on the investigation, including:

  • Conducting lessons-learned evaluations with people who participated in its COVID-19 vaccination response
  • Documenting what went right during pandemic response and what could be improved upon for the next major community health threat
  • Reviewing existing emergency plans for mass vaccination events and making sure lessons learned from the COVID-19 response are incorporated when appropriate
  • Developing a process to educate the public every so often about the county’s response to another public health emergency
  • Proactively and as needed provide mental health services to county employees who experienced stress as a result of COVID-19 pandemic response

Interviews conducted by the Grand Jury were done prior to the surge in Delta-variant cases in late summer of 2021.

For more information, click here.