Carlsbad, CA -Yesterday we officially entered the orange tier, with businesses able to expand their operations and more activities resuming. San Diego County qualified to move to the orange tier under adjusted thresholds because the state reached its goal of administering 4 million vaccines to highest risk communities. Now, to stay in the orange tier, we must keep our case rate per 100,000 between 2 and 5.9. The county’s case rate now is 5.8. We also have an important date to work toward – June 15 – when the state could fully reopen, putting the color-tier system behind us. This, of course, will depend on whether we have enough vaccine supply and keep hospitalization rates low. The mask mandate won’t be going away anytime soon though. But still, we are getting closer to the light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel. In case you missed it, here is the summary of the changes that come with moving to the orange tier, based on the state’s guidance.
Variants update The race between getting enough people vaccinated and emerging COVID-19 variants continues. Yesterday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in Britain, is now the source of most new COVID infections in the U.S.
The news comes as officials and scientists warn of a possible fourth surge of cases. The CDC warned back in January that the B.1.1.7 variant could become the dominant source of COVID-19 infections. According to this New York Times article, California is one of the states where the variant is most widespread. Here in San Diego County, B.1.1.7 is currently the most widespread variant, with 410 cases confirmed to date. Here’s the latest report on the COVID-19 variants published by the county yesterday. With the increase of this more transmissible strain, we can’t let our guard down yet. Please continue practicing the health precautions to keep case rates down and keep us in the orange tier, or better yet, beyond it:
- Wear masks when you go out
- Avoid crowds
- Stay 6-feet away from people you don’t live with
- Wash your hands often
- Limit gatherings to no more than three households and stay outdoors (in addition to following all the other precautions)
- Get vaccinated as soon as it’s your turn
Travel guidance for fully vaccinated Got the travel bug and fully vaccinated? New guidance from the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can now travel within the U.S. and do not need COVID-19 testing or quarantining post-travel as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, social distancing and washing hands frequently. If you’re considering international travel, here’s the guidance the CDC has provided:
- Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test before travel unless it is required by the international destination.
- Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the U.S. unless required by a state or local jurisdiction.
- Fully vaccinated people must still have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board a flight to the U.S. and get a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning from international travel.
- Fully vaccinated people should continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling internationally.
Remember, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine. Non-essential domestic travel is still discouraged for those who have not been vaccinated. If you’re unvaccinated and need to travel, you should still get tested one to three days before domestic travel and again three to five days after travel. You should also stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel or 10 days if you don’t get tested after travel.
The county released the following numbers yesterday:
- More than 2 million doses of the vaccine have been delivered to the region, and nearly 1.9 million have been logged as administered. This number includes both county residents and those who work in San Diego County.
- Of those vaccinated to date, more than 625,000 county residents, or 23.3% of San Diegans 16 and older, are fully vaccinated.
- Overall, nearly 1.07 million people have received at least one shot. That’s 39.7% of those eligible.
Update on local metrics
Additional stats are linked below:
Carlsbad once again has the lowest rate of COVID-19 cases in the region, among cities with 50,000 in population and larger. As you can see in the chart below, we are starting to flatten the curve. A lot has had to go right to maintain this low case rate, and it starts with you.
More students returning to college campuses Following the move to the orange tier, UC San Diego announced plans to resume operations at nearly full capacity when the fall quarter begins in September. Most students will take in-person classes, with remote learning options being made available to some. Under the plan, campus resident halls will be near full occupancy, with no more than two students per room.
The university announced its plans are based on the expectation that about 90% of the students and 85% of on-site faculty will be fully vaccinated by the fall quarter.
Face coverings will still be required in public spaces and students will be required to test for COVID-19 upon arrival to campus. Read the full announcement from UCSD.
SDSU also announced plans yesterday for instruction and activities to be held primarily in-person this fall, along with plans to move forward with hosting outdoor commencement ceremonies in May at Petco Park.
Theater among flowers If you’re a resident or frequent visitor of Carlsbad, chances are you have a love for the arts or our well-known Flower Fields. If both are up your alley, you’ll want to check out Carlsbad’s New Village Arts six-month outdoor residency at the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.
The residency will begin with small socially distant concerts, with hopes to expand to theatrical performances as COVID health guidelines allow. Policies and procedures are in place to ensure the safety of all in attendance, including digital-only programs and tickets, mandatory mask rules and social distancing guidelines.
The residency kicks off tonight with a trio of small-scale cabaret concerts at the 55-acre floral attraction. You can learn more and get tickets on the New Village Arts website and read the recent Union-Tribune article about the unique partnership.
The city’s cultural arts programs are also in full bloom this spring. Learn about our programming for both local artists and art lovers.
I’ll be back next Tuesday. As we enter our first weekend in the orange tier, the future is looking bright. Let’s work together to stay the course and continue to #Care4Carlsbad.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager
City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008