California

Downtown Los Angeles, California
At a Glance
  • Population: 39,557,045
  • Local Health Departments: 61
  • Frequent Public Health Emergencies: Wildfires, Flooding, Mudslides
  • Key Emergency Operations Center Activations: 2020: COVID-19 Pandemic; 2017: Meningococcal and Hepatitis A; 2016: Zika and Ebola Responses
  • CDC PHEP Funding:
    FY 2021: $44,070,003 (does not include $20,733,030 awarded to Los Angeles County)
    FY 2020: $42,272,321 (does not include $19,556,036 awarded to Los Angeles County)
  • CDC Crisis Response Funding: COVID-19
    FY 2021: $173,376,888 (does not include $59,714,865 awarded to Los Angeles County)
    FY 2020: $59,732,436 (does not include $26,367,806 awarded to Los Angeles County)
PHEP-funded staff (rounded)
  • Epidemiologists: 3
  • Laboratorian: 12
  • Educator: 1
  • Health Professionals: 5
  • CDC Preparedness Field Staff: 3
  • Other*: 29

*Includes IT specialists, administrative staff, statisticians, and other positions

Top 5 Preparedness Investments
  1. Public Health Laboratory Testing
  2. Medical Materiel Management and Distribution
  3. Medical Countermeasure Dispensing and Distribution
  4. Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation
  5. Emergency Operations Coordination
Stories from the Field
CDC CEFO Protects Health and Safety of COVID-19 Responders in California

LCDR Jason Wilken, a PHEP-funded Career Epidemiology Field Officer, has led a team advancing California’s public health preparedness for disasters since June 2014. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, LCDR Wilkins and his team found the California Department of Public Health was without a single, overarching respiratory protection program. A program was needed to help response safety officers determine which personnel were trained and equipped to serve in hazardous environments.

Also, staff safety plans varied greatly from department to department. LCDR Wilkins’ team worked with subject matter experts to implement a comprehensive respiratory protection program (RPP) and a COVID-19 health and safety plan. The RPP describes the medical evaluation, training, and fit testing requirements for health department staff before they can deploy to an environment requiring the use of respiratory protection. In the first six months, RPP staff briefed, tracked, and monitored 378 staff who completed 612 deployments. The RPP staff also consulted on 31 possible exposures and other safety concerns.

The team is working to ensure the RPP is sustainable, so the state health department can activate it during any state emergency response to protect the health and safety of response staff.

CDC PFA Helps California Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccination Activities

Katherine McHugh, a PHEP-funded preparedness field assignee, served in 2020 as a member of the state health department’s COVID-19 vaccine task force. McHugh helped the state prepare to provide COVID-19 vaccines, surveying local health departments to gauge their readiness and researching and recommending needed vaccination supplies. After the vaccines received emergency use authorization, she led logistics, vaccine storage, and handling functions.

McHugh also served as the inventory management lead for the state’s medical supplies warehouse. She used CDC’s Inventory Management and Tracking System to track all public health inventory in the state. McHugh developed and disseminated weekly reports on the quantity of personal protective equipment and laboratory, testing, and other medical supplies shipped. During the period of support, the warehouse shipped more than 26 million N95 masks, 14 million procedure masks, 10 million viral transport media/test kits, and hundreds of thousands of other medical items.

California Wildfires
Restoring California Communities after Devastating Wildfires

In 2017, wildfires in California raged through 1.2 million acres and claimed at least 46 lives. HPP-PHEP plans and partnerships allowed for the efficient evacuation and eventual repopulation of hospitals and helped support shelters.

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California Flood
Ensuring Safety of Evacuated Residents during Flood

In February 2017, the Oroville Dam in Butte County, California failed, triggering flash flood warnings and the evacuation of 188,000 people, including those in healthcare facilities. The incident required relocation of displaced residents to surrounding counties and an immediate need for shelters. PHEP-funded staff shipped more than 4,000 cots, blankets, and pillows for these shelters from California’s Receipt, Stage, and Store warehouse. Additionally, PHEP-funded staff prevented possible disease outbreaks through epidemiological surveillance and environmental health checks, keeping residents safe until they could return to their homes.

California Wildfires
CDC CEFO Prevents Toxic Chlorine Gas Exposure

In June 2015, the CDPH received notification that a chemical release at a municipal swimming pool sickened 34 people, mostly children. Dr. Jason Wilken, a CEFO assigned to California assembled a multidisciplinary team to develop recommendations to prevent future toxic chlorine gas releases at aquatic venues. The findings of this investigation led to a revision of the aquatic health code as best practice for keeping swimmers safe from chemical exposures.

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Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022, 12:51 pm