By Grace Leung | Newport Beach City Manager
Last week’s key COVID-19 case numbers for Orange County mostly held steady, with some slight improvements. While frustrating, our stability is preferable to areas such as Riverside County, which saw increases this week that forced tighter restrictions.
Of course, we all are hoping to see improvements soon in Orange County and throughout California, which would allow an expansion of business activity and increased indoor capacity.
Although the state laid out plans this week to reopen amusement parks, the bar is set high for large parks and it may be many more months before Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm can welcome back visitors.
The State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy 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 this week, Orange County recorded 4.6 average daily cases (cases were also at 4.6 last week) and a 3.2 percent positivity rate, down from 3.5 percent last week. The health equity metric this week is 5.6 percent, an improvement over last week’s 6.5 percent. Those numbers keep the county squarely in the red tier.
To reach the orange tier, County cases must be below 3.9 percent, the positivity rate below 4.9 percent and the health equity metric below 5.2 percent for two weeks.
For more on the status of Orange County and others, visit http://www.COVID19.ca.gov.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of October 22, the number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 1,202 and the total cases in Orange County was 57,848. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of October 22 was 51,769. 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.
Please visit www.newportbeachca.gov/covid19 for City news and web resources, including information about the federal, state, and county resources available to help small businesses and workers that have been financially impacted. You can also follow the City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and look for alerts from our City staff on Nextdoor.
Virtual Housing Workshop and the Newport, Together Website
On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, the City hosted a virtual housing workshop with the goal of re-introducing the update to and engaging the broader community. With over 70 unique participants throughout the evening, City staff and the consultant team led them through several surveys and polling activities. All feedback provided on the workshop format was also noted and will help shape future workshops.
In case you missed it, the recording is posted online at https://www.newporttogether.com/virtual_workshop.
In addition to viewing the recording, all activities from the workshop are now available online and can be completed at your leisure. This was only the first of many engagement opportunities for the community to take part in.
For more information and to stay informed, please visit www.NewportTogether.com.
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.
For the past several months, people in Newport Beach experiencing homelessness have been placed in motels through Project Roomkey, a state initiative to provide shelter during COVID-19. Although Project Roomkey officially ended Sept. 30, Newport Beach staff and City Net staff continue to collaborate with the Illumination Foundation, a local non-profit agency working with the state to facilitate Project Roomkey.
- 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.
- An elderly man who came to Newport Beach experienced a mental health crisis by the Newport Pier. The City’s Homeless Liaison Officer worked with the County’s Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) to place him into the County care system. PERT conducts risk assessments, initiates involuntary hospitalizations when necessary, and provides resources and education.
- 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. 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.
- The City’s Homeless Liaison Officer, Homeless Coordinator, and City Net staff are assisting a previously homeless elderly woman who was recently placed in a motel. This week, City Net staff completed the woman’s enrollment into the Medi-Cal program. Medi-Cal provides health insurance to access medical and dental care. The woman has also received a new photo ID, an Electronic Transfer Benefit (EBT) card, a health screening and postal services.
- City Net staff continues to provide support and case management to several elderly people sheltering in motels while they await placement into permanent, supportive housing.
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.