FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Fresno is calling for more transparency and collaboration when it comes to dealing with infectious disease labs throughout the region.
The need for clarity comes after the recent discovery that an illegal lab in Reedley had infectious agents and bio waste since last December.
Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz has been conducting a review, looking into the city's dealings with Universal Meditech.
Now, councilmembers are releasing documents they found detailing the actions code enforcement took in November 2022.
"What they reveal is that the City of Fresno code enforcement team not only notified Fresno County Environmental Health on October 31st of last year, but they also, on November 3rd, contacted the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Environmental Protection Agency," said Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld.
On November 4th, code enforcement also asked, "Who investigates the use of the city sewage system for disposal of these potentially hazardous waste materials?"
Councilmember Miguel Arias says city employees did their job to contact agencies with jurisdiction, but there are still more steps that need to be done.
"We didn't report up to the city attorney and the city council. That change has been put in place, so if this does occur again, we will now have the information within the leadership, and we will make it public again," said Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias.
The city is also taking action with an infectious disease ordinance that passed in a first introductory vote last week.
"We could only do what's within our legal jurisdiction. That is how they operate the use of the building. That's why we're hoping to get unanimous approval at the next meeting for the ordinance, but there will still be a gap," said Arias.
The legislation's goal is to ensure all infectious labs have proper licensing and everyone is aware of their arrival.
Critics say the ordinance could impact all labs in the City of Fresno.
Action News reached out to several.
One wrote in part quote, "Based on the information we have received from City Council members, ...UHC is not affected at all. We do not operate any infectious disease labs, and the ordinance only will apply on a going forward basis so licensed labs currently operating are not impacted."
However, we spoke to a lawyer who said that many doctor's offices could be impacted.
Under state law, they don't need to be licensed as labs and can do tests for infectious diseases like strep or COVID.
The lawyer says unless they're given an exemption from the ordinance, they may need to stop their services.
Tuesday, during a press conference, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said he is aware of the investigation and says there are now efforts to find out if other illegal labs are running in the state.
"The FBI's involved, the state department of public health, Fresno Department of Public Health, and CDC are all interested. So, there are multiple eyes looking at what happened, why it happened, and how do you prevent it going forward," said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
The next vote for the City of Fresno's ordinance will be at the September 14th council meeting.
If passed, it will go into effect 31 days after approval.