February 23, 2021 –Two things have been fairly constant as events have unfolded during the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic: Good news always seems to be tempered with some new area of concern, and bad news is rarely a surprise.
The good The latest example of good news is the continuing decline in case numbers. Yesterday, the county reported 321 new cases, the first time the daily case count has been under 400 since Nov. 3. Today the City of Carlsbad is reporting 160 active cases. This time last month that number was more than double, at 390. Our all-time high was 693 on Jan. 11.
Our testing positivity rate is 5%, comfortably under the 8% threshold for getting into the red tier. As of today’s state announcement our adjusted case rate is down to 15 per 100,000, which is still above the seven or fewer threshold, but decreasing quickly.
The bad We knew last week that the U.S. would soon hit the milestone of 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. When the 500,000th death was, in fact, reported yesterday, it still felt like a punch to the gut. Nationwide, and right here at our own City Hall, flags are flying at half-staff through Friday in their honor.
Local Case Numbers
Latest county charts and graphs
We see a similar pattern of two steps forward, one step back on the vaccine front. However, soon enough, we should be making significant progress. The county continues to open more and more distribution sites, and our site here in Carlsbad is making steady progress in getting vaccines administered.
Due to a delay in shipments, some appointments had to be rescheduled, but the county health officer said she expects shipments to resume this week and for significantly more doses to be available toward the end of March. Statewide, the governor said yesterday about 1.4 million doses are being administered a week, and he expects that to increase to 4 million a week very soon.
Reminder: where to get a vaccine
Health officials still recommend going to your own health care provider first if you are eligible for a vaccine. All have information on their websites. If you try calling you should expect a long wait. If you aren’t able to get a vaccine from your provider, the county is your next best bet. The county website has appointments broken down by location and day. If the closest location doesn’t have anything available, and if you have the means to travel, check others in the county. And, check back often. I know for the Carlsbad site, we are notified regularly that new supplies are available. Last Friday, our firefighter-paramedics were vaccinating people late into the night due to a last-minute delivery.
I expect this will all get streamlined eventually as supplies become more regular. In the meantime, if you are 65 or older, you can call 2-1-1, and someone there can help with making an appointment if needed.
Who is eligible?
There are lots of rumors about who will be eligible next and when the groups might change. It can be confusing because the state has guidelines, but counties only advance through the tiers within those guidelines as they have supplies available. That’s why you might hear about some tiers getting vaccinated in LA, when those same groups aren’t yet eligible here.
The city has a vaccination page where we link to the most recent information about eligibility. Right now, it’s the same as it was last time I gave you an update: health care workers and those 65 and up.
Update on sports
Last week the California Department of Public Health issued new guidance for outdoor sports. The guidance breaks sports into groups, depending on risk level: low, moderate and high. Among the changes, football and other high contact sports can resume, including competitions, even in counties in the purple tier, as along as case rate is 14 per 100,000 or lower. We aren’t quite there yet, but we are very close. The soonest these sports could resume under the new guidance is Feb. 26, for eligible counties.
In a separation action, a court ruled Friday that all youth low and moderate contact sports can resume competitions effective immediately, regardless of case rate and tier, as long as COVID-19 guidelines for collegiate athletics are followed.
There are a lot of caveats and restrictions, but this is still very welcome news all around. No word yet on when new guidelines might be released for indoor sports.
We will be reopening the pickleball courts at Poinsettia Park this Friday – for singles play only. Once the county reaches a case rate of 14 per 100,000 or lower, doubles play will once again be allowed. We ask all players to please respect the health order restrictions.
Public meetings this week
The City Council meets today at 3 p.m. Topics will include:
- Maintenance contract for community parks and school athletic fields
- New lighting for Calavera Hills, Stagecoach and Poinsettia community parks
- Buying a condominium to provide another affordable housing unit
- Contracting for city copiers and scanners
- Adopting an ordinance revising rules for city’s elected officials
- Adopting ordinance giving the City Council authority to approve plans and permits in the Village and Barrio Master Plan area
- Planning the federal Community Development Block Grant funds for fiscal year 2021-22
- Update on city’s COVID-19 response and its costs
- Approving the master plan for Veterans Memorial Park
Here’s a link to full agenda and staff reports.
We will also be recognizing Kaillie Humphries at today’s meeting. I mentioned Kallie several weeks ago when she made history by winning the first-ever world title in a new one-person bobsled event called the monobob. Kallie and her husband, also a bobsledder, are Carlsbad residents, and she is planning to compete for Team USA in the Beijing Olympics in 2022. Congratulations to Kallie, one of many extraordinary individuals who call Carlsbad home. I’ll be back Thursday with more updates. Please continue to do your part to keep our numbers headed in the right direction:
- Wear a mask when you leave home
- Avoid crowds
- Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others
- Wash your hands often
- Get vaccinated when it’s your turn
Thank you for everything you are doing to #Care4Carlsbad.
Scott Chadwick , City Manager
City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008