By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
Orange County’s COVID-19 case numbers have been trending upward, although the County still remains in the “substantial” (red) tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
The state system tracks three COVID-19 metrics: average daily case rates per 100,000 population, the percentage of positive tests, known as the positivity rate, and the health equity metric.
As of last week, Orange County recorded 6.0 average daily cases, up from 5.1 average daily cases last week. The test positivity rate increased from 3.2 percent to 3.6 percent this week, which would qualify Orange County to move into the “moderate” (orange) tier, if not for the higher case numbers. The health equity metric decreased slightly this week, from 6.0 percent to 5.7 percent. The equity metric needs to be below 5.2 percent to move into the moderate tier.
For more on the status of Orange County and others, visit http://www.COVID19.ca.gov.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of November 5, the number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 1,270 and the total cases in Orange County was 61,112. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of October 30 was 54,429. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
The Blueprint for a Safer Economy is the state’s four- tiered, color-coded system for re-opening California’s businesses. Counties move through each of the four tiers based on two key metrics: case rates and the percentage of positive tests.
Moving from tier to tier requires a 21-day wait time and counties will be required to meet the metrics for the next tier for two weeks in a row.
The County of Orange COVID-19 data and information can be found at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.
The County of Orange Healthcare Agency’s COVID-19 Hotline can be reached at (714) 834-2000, or by email at [email protected] County staff monitors the hotline and email box and answers questions about industry reopening and activity resumption, current guidance and more.
The County maintains a list of FDA-approved testing sites for County residents at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening for testing information. The SOS Health Center in Newport Beach is an approved community testing site. Call (949) 270-2100 for an appointment.
District 1 Virtual Town Hall November 19
Please join us for a virtual town hall meeting for residents of Council District 1 (Peninsula area) on November 19 from 5-6:30 p.m. via Zoom.
The topics will include Oceanfront Boardwalk safety, recent changes to short-term rental housing regulations enacted by the City Council, the new City fire station near Lido Isle, and the Lido water main replacement project.
Please register for the Town Hall in advance at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vu39EhAeTkWJ-33GOz3nxA.
We Want to Hear From You! Visit NewportTogether.com
Due to the October 2021 State-mandated deadline to submit an adopted Housing Element, the City is currently focused on updating the Housing and Circulation Elements and we need your participation to do that.
On October 20, 2020, the City hosted its first virtual housing workshop via Zoom and conducted several polling activities. These included providing input on which types of housing products (i.e., single-family residences, multi-family structures, etc.) would be best suited for each area of the city, as identified during the Listen & Learn efforts in 2019.
If you did not make it to that workshop, then don’t worry! The same activities have been provided online at https://www.newporttogether.com/virtual_workshop?tool=map&tool_tab.
You can register or sign in, access the mapping tool, and drop pins for where you believe the State-mandated 4,834 new housing units should be planned. In addition, you can provide input on which type of housing is best suited for each location.
The next virtual housing workshops are planned for Monday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 17 both beginning at 6 p.m. The entire community is invited and encouraged to participate in the discussion. For more information on the upcoming opportunities to get involved and to provide input virtually, please visit www.NewportTogether.com.
Be sure to register to stay informed and stay engaged. The City needs and appreciates your input!
Addressing homelessness continues to be a priority in the City’s ongoing COVID-19 response, working closely with contractor City Net and 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 Homeless Liaison Officer assisted a woman with reuniting with her family in Wisconsin. The woman lost her teaching position due to COVID-19 and could not afford her rent in Newport Beach. The woman’s wallet and identification were stolen while she was unsheltered for several weeks. The Homeless Liaison Officer contacted the woman’s family to make travel arrangements, collaborated with the Transportation Security Administration at John Wayne Airport to allow her to fly without an ID, and transported her to the airport for her flight.
- A young couple who experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for the past seven months recently rented a room from a family member. They continue to work with the Homeless Liaison Officer, City Net staff, and the Homeless Coordinator for ongoing support, access to job resources, and counseling services.
- The Homeless Liaison Officer reunited a woman with her family in Northern California. The woman fled south during the fires and came to the Orange County beach communities for clean air. Her husband contacted local police departments to locate her and encourage her to return home. After spending several weeks unsheltered in Newport Beach, the woman agreed to contact her husband and reunite with her family.
- A man experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach for two weeks worked with the City’s Homeless Liaison Officer to return to his family in Oregon.
- Two people in Newport Beach experiencing homelessness were enrolled into City Net services. City Net staff completed Vulnerability Index Intake Assessments for each. 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. Following the assessment, one person is awaiting placement into a detox center and the second is entering a domestic violence shelter. Case managers will follow up with the clients to provide housing assessments and prepare documentation for housing.
- City Net completed two housing assessments for people enrolled in their services. One person is identifying relocation options in Orange County to find affordable housing.
- City Net assisted two people in the Balboa Pier area to access the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) service. The EBT system is used in California for the delivery, redemption, and reconciliation of issued public assistance benefits, such as CalFresh, CalWORKs, and other food and cash aid benefits. Established in 2004, EBT provides up to $125 a person a month to purchase food.
- With the assistance of City Net, a man staying in a Project Roomkey motel has returned to a sober living home operated by Project Kinship and re-enrolled into a support program. Project Kinship, established in 2014, provides support and training for people impacted by incarceration, gangs, and violence.
- City Net staff continues to provide support and case management to several people sheltering in motels while they await placement into permanent, supportive housing.
Throughout the month of October, 22 military veterans and their families have been housed through the County’s Coordinated Entry System. The Coordinated Entry System manages a roster of eligible veterans and works with service providers, such as City Net, to match veterans with housing opportunities. Most of the veterans were placed into the new Placentia Veterans Village, which offers 50 units of permanent, supportive housing.
Via Lido Soud & Nord Water Main Replacement Begins
Construction for the Via Lido Soud & Nord Water Main Replacement project is now beginning. The water mains on Lido Isle were installed in the 1930’s and are in need of replacement after almost 90 years of service. These water mains serve water to the individual homes as well as provide fire protection for the island. The contractor is currently working on exploratory potholing work to identify existing utilities or possible trench line obstructions. City crews are also busy performing water test shut-downs in anticipation of the water main installation efforts that are scheduled to start November 12.
During these water test shut-downs, inland residents can expect to have intermittent interruptions in water service lasting no longer than an hour. We understand many of you are currently working from home and the construction noise, as well as water service disruptions, can make it difficult. Please know that the Contractor and City crews are trying very hard to keep these disruptions down to a minimum. Should you have any questions regarding this project, please contact either Alfred Castanon or Mike Sinacori at (949) 644-3330.