By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
There is an end in sight for COVID-19 restrictions, as long as the cases remain low and the vaccination rollout continues to be successful. The California Department of Public Health announced this week that by June 15, if current trends continue, all sectors of the economy may reopen and resume regular operations.
For more information on “Beyond the Blueprint,” and what it will mean for activities and business operations, visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/beyond_memo.aspx.
Meanwhile, Orange County remains in the Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which allows for more relaxed restrictions as key metrics improve.
Orange County’s seven-day average daily case number increased slightly, from 2.8 to 3.0, keeping us in the Orange Tier for now.
The test positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among those tested) dropped slightly, from 1.7 percent to 1.6 percent. The health equity metric decreased from 2.6 percent to 2.1 percent. Both of these metrics qualify for the less restrictive Yellow Tier, if case numbers drop to 2.0 or less.
Vaccination eligibility opened up to all those age 50 and older on April 1, and on April 15, it will open up to all those age 16 and older. Many Newport Beach residents may choose to be vaccinated at the County’s newest super site, the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Depending on vaccine availability, you can choose a location through the County’s Othena platform.
So far more than 1.7 million people in Orange County have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the statewide number is more than 21 million.
Additional vaccine information and resources
- Vaccine eligibility, under State guidelines, currently includes Phases 1A and 1B, all those age 50 and older, and people ages 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions and/or disabilities. As noted above, this will expand to all those age 16 and above on April 15.
- Individuals must wait until they meet the minimum age requirement before scheduling an appointment and parental consent is required for minors. People under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and bring proof of their age and identity to receive the vaccine.
- Even if you do not currently qualify for vaccination, you are encouraged to register now at Othena.com to be placed in the virtual waiting room to be notified when it is your turn.
- There are several vaccination options. Even if you are registered with the County’s Othena platform, you can also register with the state’s “My Turn” system, administered by Blue Shield, at https://www.blueshieldca.com/bsca/bsc/wcm/connect/sites/sites_content_en/coronavirus/vaccine-locations. Orange County has developed a similar vaccine resource web page at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-channels.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of April 8, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,798 and the total cases in Orange County was 251,516. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of April 8 was 243,771. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
Notice of Vacancies
The City of Newport Beach City Clerk’s office welcomes and encourages residents to apply for the following upcoming vacancies on City Boards and Commissions:
- Board of Library Trustees (one seat)
- Building and Fire Board of Appeals (two seats)
- City Arts Commission (three seats)
- Civil Service Board (one seat)
- Harbor Commission (two seats)
- Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission (two seats)
- Planning Commission (two seats)
All terms are for four years, expiring June 30, 2025. All applicants must be qualified electors of the City, none of whom shall hold any paid office or employment in City government (Section 702 of the City Charter).
The deadline for filing applications is noon on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The application can be found at http://www.newportbeachca.gov/vacancy. Information regarding the Boards and Commissions can be accessed at http://www.newportbeachca.gov/bcc.
Addressing homelessness continues to be a priority in the City’s ongoing COVID-19 response, and City staff works closely with our contractor City Net, and our regional partners throughout the county and state. The City Net hotline number is (714) 451-6198. Those who call the hotline may leave a detailed voicemail message for themselves or others in need and City Net staff will respond within 48 hours. For immediate assistance, call the County’s Crisis Prevention Hotline at (877) 7-CRISIS or (877) 727- 4747.
The City discourages panhandling in favor of targeted assistance through the Good Giving Program. Donations received through the program enable staff to purchase items such as bicycles, work boots, and small household items for newly housed people. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like more information, or to donate, please visit our Good Giving Program web page at https://newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.
- City Net placed a 76-year-old woman into a permanent, supportive housing unit in Stanton. The Homeless Coordinator and City Net staff visited with her and provided a new television for her home. The television was purchased with funds from the generous donations to the Good Giving Program. The woman had been sheltered in a motel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, she had stayed at the Newport Transportation Center for three years after her husband died and she could not afford rent. The renovated motel provides 60 units of housing for seniors and medically vulnerable people with on-site resident services. The County of Orange and the City of Stanton secured funding through Project Homekey to convert two motels into 132 units of housing. The City of Newport Beach may place qualified people into the Stanton permanent, supportive housing units through the County’s system of care. Project Homekey, administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, provides $600 million in grants to local public entities to convert buildings into housing. American Family Housing, founded in Santa Ana in 1985, provides an array of on-site services at the two properties.
- City Net placed a woman into Grandma’s House of Hope after she entered the Yale Transitional Center several weeks ago. The woman fled a domestic violence situation and stayed by the Newport Pier for several months. Grandma’s House of Hope, established in Santa Ana in 2004, provides care for survivors of domestic abuse, human trafficking, and homelessness. The facility also operates a children’s meal program for unhoused families staying in motels throughout Orange County.
- County case managers continue to assist 16 people recently placed into the new Yale Transitional Center in Santa Ana. Many of these people had been staying by the Newport Pier. The Yale Center provides shelter for as many as 425 people experiencing homelessness and provides case managers who locate appropriate housing, assist with job searches, and provide other on-site services.
- City Net staff placed a woman into the new, Huntington Beach Navigation Center temporary shelter. The Navigation Center, which opened in December 2020, shelters up to 174 individuals and couples with on-site services. Mercy House, established in Santa Ana in 1987, operates the shelter and provides case management to locate appropriate housing, assist with job searches, and provide other on-site services.
- City Net staff and the Homeless Liaison Officer are assisting two elderly people staying in a motel with an upcoming transition into a new motel in April due to a change in motel ownership.
- City Net staff continues to provide food gift cards, support, and case management to several people sheltering in motels while they await placement into permanent, supportive housing. One person received a Social Security Award letter to receive a housing voucher from the Orange County Housing Authority. Another person received confirmation that all documents were approved for a housing voucher. City Net transported a third person to a required medical appointment in order to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI provides monthly income for people under age 65 who cannot work due to physical disabilities.
- Three people in Newport Beach experiencing homelessness were enrolled into City Net services. City Net staff completed Vulnerability Index Intake Assessments for each person. The assessments are used to screen clients to determine proper placement in the County’s Continuum of Care system. Some assessment factors include age, health issues, and length of time being unsheltered. Case managers will follow up with the clients to provide housing assessments and prepare documentation for housing.
- The Homeless Liaison Officer and City Net staff placed a 62-year-old woman into a sober living home after she completed a medical detoxification program. The woman experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for 12 years when she was unable to pay rent and medical bills following an injury.
NBPL Expands Services
On Monday, April 12, the Central Library and Mariners Branch will reopen to full capacity, which will enable the public to study at these two locations, without a time limit. Seating will be arranged to support social distancing, per CDC guidelines. Both facilities are subjected to deep and frequent cleaning. Patrons are required to wear face masks while using the library.
Curbside services will continue at the Balboa and Corona del Mar branches.
“Everything in the Can”
By separating trash at the source and putting everything into the proper containers and not on the ground for collection, we are able to accomplish our State-mandated goals of cleaner recyclables and higher diversion rates, which keeps recyclable materials out of our landfills. When bagged trash is not placed in the proper bin, our trash operators cannot determine if it is trash or recyclables, so everything has to go into the landfills. This creates a missed opportunity to meet State-mandated diversion rates and minimize our reliance on landfills.
Not only does putting everything into the proper bin help with better recycling, it also helps keep neighborhoods clean. Loose items can be swept away by wind or washed down the alleys and streets and make their way into our waterways, polluting our environment. Boxes should always be broken down and placed into the recycling container to avoid excess clutter and litter. Bagged garbage placed outside the containers is also subject to vermin and pests, which creates an unsanitary environment and can attract other large animals, such as coyotes.
Putting everything in the containers also promotes efficiency in our collection operations. When everything is already in the can, the driver stays on the truck and utilizes the truck’s automated collection equipment, rather than having to stop the truck and exit the vehicle to load the excess materials. This reduces collection times and allows our team to finish their routes in a timely manner and get off the streets, improving traffic and air quality along the way.
Residents doing their part in putting everything in the can helps promote a safe, clean and environmentally friendly community.