March 3, 2022
Carlsbad, CA — Over the past week, the state and federal governments moved more COVID health precautions from “required” to “recommended,” signaling a continued transition to a new post-pandemic way of life. More on that below, plus these city updates:
- Spring and summer camps are back
- Getting to know Carlsbad’s furry and feathered friends
- Time for a cybersecurity check
- Carlsbad gets national attention
- You can make a difference in your city
- Upcoming public meetings
- Appreciating Team Carlsbad
COVID-19 update Lately, every time I sit down to compile the latest update on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Carlsbad, I think, “next week, I can move these updates to the end.” Then, a rule is updated, news of a new variant pops up or some other change happens.
Well, today is the day – that last time (I hope) that COVID-19 is given the top spot in my news of the week. Don’t worry, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, and I will still keep you updated. But after two years, I think we are all ready for COVID-19 to take up a little less mental real estate.
But first, here is the latest chart of COVID-19 active cases in Carlsbad. I’ve already told you that case rates alone are not really the best indicator of risk anymore, according to health experts. That’s because of San Diego County’s high vaccine rate and the fact that so many people caught COVID-19 during the Omicron surge, that the chance of serious illness is greatly reduced. But we’ve been faithfully updating this chart, so here it is, one last time:
Here’s the latest COVID-19 watch from the county with other data from the past week.
CDC updates risk-assessment approach and guidance Last Friday, the CDC announced a shift in its approach to assessing COVID-19 risk. The agency is now focusing on a combination of cases and hospital trends on a county-by-county basis. You can read more about the new way risk is assessed by the CDC and the measures on the CDC’s website. The website also lists its health recommendations based on risk level.
New state rules Before the CDC’s Friday announcement, the state had already announced its new framework for transitioning from pandemic to endemic. On Monday it issued new health rules and recommendations, mostly centered around masking. Here is a quick summary of the mask rules:
Everyone is required to wear masks in:
- Public transit and in stations, terminals, and airports
- Indoors in K-12 schools and child care (through March 11)
- Health care settings
- Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
- State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
- Homeless shelters
- Long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities
Masks are strongly recommended for everyone in:
- Indoor public settings (including K-12 schools and day care beginning March 12)
- Family entertainment centers
- State and local government offices that serve the public
National preparedness plan
Last night, the federal government released a national COVID-19 preparedness plan focused on how future surges and variants will be addressed. The main strategies are to concentrate on prevention and treatments, preparing for potential new variants, keeping the economy open and ensuring other countries have access to vaccines.
What does this all mean for Carlsbad? When new guidance and rules come out from the CDC, the administration, our own state Department of Public Health and the county’s public health officer, it can be hard to know which ones to follow.
The City of Carlsbad looks to the County of San Diego for health guidance and current rules. The way we’re set up in this region, the county has primary responsibility for public health matters. The county, in turn, looks to the state, which looks to the CDC.
When in doubt, the best place to start for Carlsbad residents is the county’s COVID-19 website. If we’re doing anything different, it will be on our city COVID-19 website. (We are currently aligned with the county’s guidance.)
Final thoughts I have said many times how proud I am of the Carlsbad community for how it’s handled the COVID-19 pandemic. We have taken precautions and kept COVID-19 impacts among the lowest in the region. As rules ease even more, let’s continue to follow common sense health precautions, like staying home if you think you could be contagious and using extra care around those more vulnerable. Caring for Carlsbad is a responsibility we all share, and we are a better city because of that commitment.
Spring and summer campsA sure sign that normalcy is returning is the launch of our annual spring and summer camps. If you’re looking for ways to help your kids stay active and social, the City of Carlsbad is offering some safe, fun activities including camps, swim lessons and weekly classes.
- Spring camps are offered during different weeks in April to coincide with Carlsbad, Encinitas and San Marcos unified school districts’ spring break schedules. Registration is open now.
- Summer camps run between June 13 and Aug. 19 for kids 3 to 16. Registration opens March 9.
- You can find a complete list of camps and activities online.
Check your cybersecurity awarenessIn recent years cybersecurity has become more top of mind for us all. City staff are trained regularly on the latest threats, and we have an elaborate infrastructure in place to help ensure our data is protected. Given new threats related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now would be a good time to make sure you are up to date on the latest best practices for your own data. Here is an excellent place to start: It’s called the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. Some of the recommended steps include:
- Update your software and apps (including browsers) to the latest version to make sure you have fixes to vulnerabilities that have been identified.
- Look carefully at your email, where there are many ways to gain access to your data:
- Check the sender’s email address, not just the name.
- Don’t click on any link or attachment you were not expecting.
- If you get a “fraud alert” type email from your credit card company or bank that asks you to click on a link to access your information, go to the company’s website, get the number and call to confirm the email is legitimate.
- Set up multi-factor authentication on all your devices and accounts where it is available (this is when you get a text, email or mobile device notification to confirm your identity before signing into an account online).
Getting to know our furry and feathered friends The City of Carlsbad works hard to preserve natural land for native plants and animals, including connecting with state and federal preserves to create a network of spaces where wildlife can thrive.
Today is World Wildlife Day, a perfect time to get outdoors and take in some of that natural beauty. We’ve got 67 miles of city trails that offer a great vantage point.
Before you head out, download the GoHike Carlsbad app for detailed trail information and review this handy guide to identify some of the plants and animals you might see:
- Raptors, red-shouldered hawks and other native bird species can be spotted from several local trails, including Carlsbad Oaks North near the business park and Village H North near Calavera Hills.
- Egrets, herons, ducks and other waterfowl can be found in abundance around Lake Calavera Preserve Trails and also around the Aviara trail system’s Lagoon Trail.
- Coyote, lizards, snakes and small animals are prevalent along many city trails, including Carlsbad Oaks North.
- Hawks, roadrunners and kites, small mammals and even deer are often spotted along Rancho La Costa Preserve trails. (Bonus: Those trails also offer some pretty spectacular views of the Batiquitos Lagoon, Box Canyon and the Pacific Ocean.)
Make a difference in your cityAre you interested in volunteering alongside others to help make Carlsbad better for all? If so, please consider applying to serve on one of our city advisory commissions, boards or committees.
Members volunteer their time to study issues and policies and make recommendations to the City Council on matters that affect our community.
Applications are available on the city’s website and must be submitted by noon on Monday, March 21, to be considered for the following vacancies:
- Arts Commission – Two scheduled vacancies for terms that run from March 2022 to March 2026.
- Historic Preservation Commission – Three vacancies. Applicants must have a background or interest in architecture, archeology, history, biology, engineering, geology or a related field.
- Housing Commission – One unscheduled vacancy. Applicants must be enrolled in Rental Assistance and be age 62 or older.
- Agricultural Conversion Mitigation Fee Committee – Six scheduled vacancies.
You can also submit an application to be considered for future vacancies.
Carlsbad gets national recognition Carlsbad’s famous Flower Fields opened Tuesday, and they’re already getting nationwide attention, including Travel & Leisure magazine, the Yahoo News and TheTravel.com.
If you’re planning to go, purchase tickets in advance through the Flower Fields website and select your preferred date and arrival time. They’ll be open until May 8, and the ranunculus should be in full bloom by late March.
The Flower Fields are privately owned and operated, but the city did have a role in ensuring their ongoing operations. In 1993, as part of the approval process for the land use plan that enabled LEGOLAND, the outlet mall, the Gemological Institute of America, the Sheraton and other development to occur, the City of Carlsbad created an agreement to ensure the Flower Fields could remain a viable commercial business in the future. This included setting aside 53.42 acres that may only be used for agricultural purposes and creating an endowment to help fund Flower Field operations. During COVID, the city granted the balance of the endowment, nearly $900,000, back to the Flower Fields to help manage through the economic shutdown, which began just as the 2020 season started.
Thanks to heavy rains at just the right time, the 2022 Flower Fields display promises to be bigger and better than ever.
Also this week, U.S. News and World Report listed Carlsbad’s Park Hyatt Aviara as the third best resort in California and the 15th best in the nation. We are so fortunate to have several world class resorts in Carlsbad, including our oldest, the Omni La Costa, which has an interesting history page on its website if you’re curious. (Actually, strictly speaking, La Costa is not the first resort in Carlsbad, that would be the former Twin Inns, now home to the Village Faire shopping center). Okay, enough history for today …
Get involved: Upcoming meetings Starting March 1, all our public meetings returned to an in-person format, and all will take place in the City Council chamber at City Hall (1200 Carlsbad Village Drive). The next City Council meeting will March 8 at 5 p.m. As I mentioned last week, we have retrofitted our City Council chamber with new air circulation and other features to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We will also have outside seating available weather permitting.
Here are some of the topics the City Council is scheduled to discuss:
- Approving worker’s compensation agreements with a former police officer and a fire engineer
- Authorizing the sale of 11 affordable city-owned condominiums to qualified lower-income households
- A design contract to improve the intersection and beach access at Tamarack and Carlsbad Boulevard
- An ordinance that would prohibit political and non-commercial signs from being placed in the public right-of-way (medians and near curbs)
- Changing zoning on properties on Avenida Encinas to allow for a new Chick-Fil-A
- Considering making the City Clerk position appointed rather than elected
- A proposed City Council policy on how the city collects, stores and uses the data it needs for city operations
- Appointing members to a new citizens’ committee charged with updating the city’s approach to managing growth in a way that preserves our quality of life and the city’s financial health. (A separate item will request approval of consultant contracts to manage the committee and provide technical support.)
- Appointing members to a new committee that will help develop objective design standards for multifamily and mixed-use developments in the Village and Barrio
You can read the full agenda and staff reports on the city’s website. These city commissions are also meeting next week in-person in the City Council chamber at Carlsbad City Hall.
- March 7, 4 p.m. – Traffic and Mobility Commission
- March 10, 4 p.m. – Housing Commission
All boards and commissions meetings will be livestreamed on the city’s cable channel and website.
Appreciating Team Carlsbad Tomorrow is National Employee Appreciation Day, and I wanted to end by expressing my personal thanks to the hard-working, dedicated staff who keep the city running smoothly, whether its cleaning sewers, fixing cracked sidewalks or making sure our fire engines are well-maintained.
All our employees have unique roles and responsibilities in the city, yet they all work together as one team to serve this amazing community.
If you happen to see a Team Carlsbad member out and about in the community, please stop to say hello. And if you’ve recently come across a team member who has provided extraordinary service, I’d love to hear about it. City employees take a lot of pride in their work, and when I share comments from the community, it really makes their day!
You can email me through this link.
I’ll be back next week with more updates. Have a great weekend.
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