The public should have been informed earlier about local, state, and federal authorities shutting down an illegal medical lab in Reedley, where bioengineered mice to catch and spread COVID-19, infectious agents, and bodily fluid samples were found, Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld said at a Monday morning news conference at City Hall.
“There is no excuse, as far as I’m concerned, for not notifying the public about what’s taking place,” Bredefeld said,
He said someone should have spoken up before the Mid Valley Times broke the news last week.
Bredefeld, who is running for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in 2024, criticized the board he wants to join. He called the supervisors cowards.
“This is disgraceful and represents a willful decision to hide from and shirk their duties as elected representatives of guess what? The public. They’re responsible to the public,” Bredefeld said.
Bredefeld also speculated about the illegal lab being 45 miles from Lemoore Naval Air Station and whether the lab posed a national security risk.
Magsig, Mendes Defend How County Handled Situation
Joe Prado, assistant public health director, said the county did post information on its website in April. While true, it is listed as “Reedley Health Officer Order – Closure Abatement Order,” not mentioning that the lab that was being closed before clicking on the link.
Prado said they didn’t go beyond with its notification because “it didn’t meet an emergency criteria.”
County supervisors Nathan Magsig and Buddy Mendes also defended the county’s actions.
Mendes, who represents Reedley, said he became aware when Reedley informed the county. Prado said that happened in late March.
“(Bredefeld) needs to look at itself in the mirror because apparently the same company or some offshoot of it started the lab back in Fresno,” Mendes said. “He needs to ask his own code enforcement people what’s going on.”
Bredefeld said the city will be doing its “due diligence with this situation, looking at any relationship that occurred in the city with this lab.”
Mendes said he’s “very, very satisfied” with how the county responded.
Magsig did a Facebook live stream on Monday.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation,” Magsig said. “That the county is somehow trying to hide things. That is not the truth.”