By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
Orange County’s COVID-19 numbers continued to improve last week, but not enough to move from the Orange Tier into the Yellow Tier just yet.
The seven-day average daily case number decreased from 2.6 to 2.4, which is still above the 2.0 or fewer needed to move into the less restrictive tier. The test positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among those tested) improved slightly, dropping from 1.4 percent to 1.3 percent. The health equity metric decreased from 1.9 percent to 1.4 percent.
On Thursday, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced that it will shift vaccination strategies to community and neighborhood-based efforts and close the Super PODS that were designed to quickly administer large numbers of vaccines.
The first-dose demand for Super POD vaccines has dropped considerably since April, indicating that county residents who want the vaccines and are able to travel to the Super POD sites have mostly done so. In this next phase, the County will be working to overcome vaccine resistance and create more mobile PODs, with greater outreach, to make vaccination more convenient.
The Super PODs at the Anaheim Convention Center, Soka University, and the OC Fair & Events Center will continue operations through June 6. The Othena.com platform will still be used for scheduling at the smaller, community-based clinics.
Here is additional vaccine information and resources as of May 7:
- 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.
- Those wishing to make appointments by phone can now do so by calling the OC COVID-19 Hotline at (714) 834-2000, following the language prompts and pressing “1.”
- The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now available through the Othena platform.
COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach
As of May 6, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,881 and the total cases in Orange County was 254,201. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of May 6 was 246,998. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health.
City Welcomes Paul Blank as New Harbormaster
Paul Blank, a former City Harbor Commissioner and avid boater with deep roots in the local maritime community, joined Newport Beach this week as the new City Harbormaster.
Until 2020, Blank served for eight years on the Harbor Commission, an advisory body that helps the City Council evaluate programs and set policies for Newport Harbor. He is a longtime resident and boater who has served in leadership positions with the Balboa Yacht Club, Corona del Mar Residents Association and Catalina Island Conservancy. He also has experience in management roles in information technology and hotel operations.
As Harbormaster, Blank will manage day-to-day operations of the Harbor Department and oversee a staff of one full-time employee and 13 part-time employees. The Harbor Department staff serve as “ambassadors” of Newport Harbor, providing education and assistance to residents and visiting boaters. The department also coordinates the use of anchorages and mooring fields and manages the City’s guest marina at Marina Park, among other responsibilities.
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 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 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.
- Four people experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach were placed into the new Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter, where they will receive temporary shelter and support services.
- City Net placed an elderly couple into a permanent, supportive housing unit in Stanton that is part of a converted motel. The couple lived in their car for 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 staff completed 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 transported a person to Share Our Selves for medical care. Share Our Selves, established in Costa Mesa in 1970, emphasizes care of the whole person. Share Our Selves 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.