By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
After several weeks of relative stability, Orange County’s COVID-19 numbers improved enough to move into the Yellow Tier, beginning as soon as Wednesday, May 19.
The County’s Yellow Tier status will allow for expanded indoor and outdoor capacities as the state moves toward a full reopening in mid-June.
With the low rates of hospitalizations and steady supply of vaccines, it is increasingly likely that California will be able to reopen fully (with major adjustments to the face- covering mandates) by June 15, as planned.
Orange County’s seven-day average daily case number decreased from 2.4 to 1.8, which qualifies for the Yellow Tier. The test positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among those tested) improved as well, dropping from 1.3 percent to 1.0 percent. The health equity metric decreased from 1.4 percent to 1.2 percent.
Here is additional vaccine information and resources as of May 17:
- The City of Newport Beach will host a vaccine clinic on May 26, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Dr. Walk-ins are welcome, or you can make an appointment in advance by calling 949-644-3355. We will be administering 1st or 2nd doses of the Moderna vaccine, as well as the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
- The County’s Super POD vaccine sites at the Anaheim Convention Center, Soka University, and the OC Fair & Events Center will close on June 5. The Othena.com platform will still be used for scheduling at smaller, community-based clinics throughout the County.
- To make COVID-19 vaccinations as convenient as possible, vaccinations through the County are now available for both walk-in individuals (without appointments) and for those with confirmed appointments. A list of sites, hours of operation, and vaccine information can be found at CovidVaccineFacts.com or by calling the County’s COVID-19 hotline at (714) 834-2000.
- Community members who need a ride to a County Super POD site can receive assistance through the OC COVID-19 Hotline at (714) 834-2000.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of May 13, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,887 and the total cases in Orange County was 254,492. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of May 13 was 247,642. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
CDD First Quarter Activity Report
The Community Development Department (CDD) First Quarter Activity Report is now available at www.newportbeachca.gov/cdd. The report compiles operational statistics to illustrate the volume of business activity that the department handles on a quarterly basis. As the effects of COVID-19 rolled over into the new year, CDD continued to provide fully functional development services to the community despite City Hall closures and operational challenges.
Rex Brandt Exhibition at Central Library
The City Arts Commission is pleased to announce an exhibition of Rex Brandt paintings, on loan from the Fox Family, on display in the Central Library from May 17 through July 2.
This nine-piece collection was curated between 1950 and 1964 by Cort Fox, who was a founding member of the Balboa Bay Club and one of its original residents. It was there that he met Brandt and became a true admirer, acquiring one to two paintings a year; first for display at the Cort Fox Ford Dealership in Hollywood and later at his residence at the Bay Club, where he lived until his death in 1993.
His son, Warren—sharing his father’s love of the California coast and the beauty of Brandt’s work—continued to display the paintings proudly at his residence at the Bay Club as well as Bermuda Dunes and Louden, Tennessee. These cherished paintings have traveled far and, in a sense, have finally come home to the shores that inspired their creation. The City Arts Commission is honored to display these works for the public to enjoy.
Rex Brandt (1914-2000) was a native California artist who gained national recognition for his watercolor masterpieces depicting the beauty of California landscapes. Brandt studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1928 and continued his education at the University of California, Berkeley. Brandt’s talent did not go unnoticed: at a young age, his skill caught the attention of more established artists in the California Watercolor Society and he was promptly accepted into the group. Brandt would eventually become president of the organization in 1948.
Brandt is easily considered one of the most important and influential California watercolor artists. His passion for watercolor painting led to his role as both dedicated artist and teacher; Brandt wrote over ten books about watercolor painting, made six educational films, and conducted painting workshops in various locations, including his home in Corona del Mar. Mr. Brandt’s influence is still prevalent today in Newport Beach, most evident in the city seal Brandt designed in 1957 after being approached by then City Manager Robert Shelton.
DUI Enforcement Operation
On Saturday, May 8, the Newport Beach Police Department collaborated with the Laguna Beach Police Department on a joint DUI Enforcement Operation. More than two dozen officers from both agencies worked together to address intoxicated drivers and other traffic-related violations. The operation focused on several strategically-chosen locations in both Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.
These efforts resulted in 68 vehicle stops, nine arrests, and 12 citations. Violations included: driving under the influence, driving on a suspended or revoked license, an outstanding warrant for DUI, possession/transportation of narcotics for sales, felon in possession of ammunition, and possession of identity theft materials. Two vehicles were also impounded.
People experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach can now find temporary shelter and support services in the new Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter. Through a partnership agreement with Costa Mesa, the new shelter at 3175 Airway Avenue provides up to 72 beds for individuals experiencing homelessness in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. The shelter is operated by Mercy House, which provides case management to locate appropriate permanent housing, assist with job searches, and provide other on-site services.
The City of Newport Beach 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 staff works closely with our contractor City Net, and our regional partners throughout the county and state, to address homelessness. The City Net helpline 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.
- City Net placed a disabled 75-year-old woman and her adult son, who serves as her caregiver, into a permanent, supportive housing unit in Stanton that is part of a converted motel. The couple lived in their car for more than a year by the Newport Pier after losing their apartment. The County of Orange and the City of Stanton secured funding through the state’s Project Homekey program to convert two motels into 132 units of permanent, supportive housing. The City of Newport Beach may place qualified people into the Stanton housing through the County’s system of care.
- City Net case managers assisted a woman with moving into her new apartment in Newport Beach. The woman lived in her car in Newport Beach for a year after fleeing a domestic violence situation. City Net continues to provide weekly support during this transition into housing to ensure her long-term success with the placement.
- City Net staff completed the Vulnerability Index Intake Assessment for one person staying in his car. The assessments are used to screen clients to determine proper placement in the County’s Continuum of Care system. Case managers also prepared a housing assessment and documentation to apply for permanent, supportive housing.
- City Net staff enrolled two people into medical care services with Share Our Selves. Share Our Selves, established in Costa Mesa in 1970, provides medical and dental care, access to a food pantry, postal service, and other social services for low-income individuals and families in Orange County.