|Carlsbad, CA –July 21, 2021 As I am hearing more and more about breakthrough cases (people fully vaccinated testing positive), the Delta variant, increasing hospitalizations and new mask guidelines, I went back to some of key data sources for reference. Unlike in the early days of the pandemic, today you can easily find not just statistics, but data visualizations (okay, let’s just say charts and maps) that compare data across different variables with just one click. |
I am sharing links to these tools below so you have them handy, but here are some of my key takeaways:
Cases are increasing again, but vaccines are effectively preventing serious illness. The CDC said yesterday 97% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are among those unvaccinated. As expected, a small percentage of people fully vaccinated are contracting COVID-19.The more COVID spreads, the more likely new variants could emerge, such as the Delta variant, which is the most contagious strain so far. So, even if we don’t need to be worried about getting seriously ill from COVID, we should still do everything we can to reduce the spread.
San Diego County data
San Diego County weekly tracker (compilation of the week’s data)
CDC data tracker (includes state and local breakdowns + national data)
California Department of Public Health data portal
I’ve pulled a few charts and graphs below that caught my eye. This first one shows how the increases we are seeing in San Diego County compare to previous surges. It’s concerning that cases are going up, and we’ve seen by now how case numbers can grow exponentially, but right now they are about where they were last spring. Under the state’s color-coded tier system, which is no longer being used, San Diego County would be in the purple tier right now. Our case rate is 9 per 100,000 in population.
The map below shows how our region compares nationally. The CDC’s color scheme uses reds, oranges and yellows, which could be confusing for us Californians. These colors do reflect the level of spread, but not using the same case number triggers as our now retired blueprint used.
When it comes to vaccination rates, San Diego County is doing much better than many parts of the country and even the state.
Variants This chart shows how the Delta variant has become the dominant strain over the past several weeks nationwide.
San Diego County tracks variants locally. Because not all cases undergo testing to identify the variant, the total number may be less important than the percentages. You can see that, so far, the Delta variant is responsible for more hospitalizations and deaths overall. Again, the numbers are low, but this information does track what health experts are saying about the Delta variant worldwide.
What about Carlsbad? Carlsbad’s overall case rate continues to be the lowest among cities with at least 50,000 in population.
Vaccine status The North County coastal area has always had lower vaccination rates than other parts of the county.
But when you dig into the numbers just for Carlsbad, three of our four ZIP codes have a vaccination rate (first dose, not fully vaccinated) higher than the county average. The 92008 ZIP code is lower than the county average.
Antibody tracking In reviewing the latest data, I came upon a new word (or, I guess, new to me). Seroprevalence measures the percentage of people in a population who have antibodies for the virus that causes COVID-19. People who have antibodies were either infected with COVID-19 at some point in the past or may have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Carlsbad is in the “Southern Border” region for the purpose of this data:
I thought this was important data because having antibodies in general offers protection from COVID-19 infection, whether they were obtained through a vaccine or having had COVID-19 in the past.
New restrictions coming? As of today, 16 counties in California have started to recommend indoor masking for everyone. San Diego is not one of them. Los Angeles County is the only county so far to require everyone to once again wear masks indoors. That new rule started July 17.
As a reminder, the CDC and state guidance is that masks are optional for those fully vaccinated and required for those unvaccinated. Cities and counties can be stricter than the state but not less strict.
Of course, there is a lot of speculation about what will happen next. I don’t have any specific insight to share, unfortunately. But we here at the city are closely monitoring any potential changes at the state or county level that could affect Carlsbad.
Travel updates I know many Carlsbad residents are looking forward to traveling after more than a year of staying close to home. Here are a couple of sites to check so you know what is required in different parts of the country and the world.
State Department travel site (for international travel)
At both of those sites you can enter your destination and pull up details on testing, masking and quarantine requirements. Below is a summary from the CDC, but keep in mind these rules could change, so it’s best to check the latest information before traveling:
In other news …
You may have seen that we put out a notice to the public Monday evening that a vaccinated person who later tested positive for COVID-19 was at last week’s City Council meeting while potentially contagious.
There is a formula for determining when someone could be contagious, and that includes a few days before symptoms first appear. Because current rules do not require a person who is fully vaccinated to wear a mask indoors, it’s possible for someone to follow all the rules and still potentially spread COVID-19.
Although the city was notified of this potential exposure, information about the person’s identity can’t be shared due to health care privacy laws.
Asymptomatic spread has long been a reality of COVID-19. Now that health restrictions have eased, it’s still a good idea to take steps to protect yourself, such as avoiding crowds and close contact with others.
We will continue to provide outdoor seating at our City Council meetings so people who want to come in person have that option. And, you can always submit comments via email up to 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting and watch online or on our cable channel. All comments are considered by our City Council, whether provided in person or via email.
City Council meeting recap Here are a few updates from last night’s meeting:
Vacancy The City Council decided to proceed with an appointment process to fill the remainder of the term for the District 1 City Council vacancy. An election was estimated to cost between $450,000 and $650,000 and could not take place until next April. The City Clerk’s Office will put out the application and more information on the selection process shortly.
Historic house The city will explore options for preserving a house at the corner of Oak and Highland that is considered a sister of the famous Twin Inns because it was built by the same person and even used some of the left-over lumber. If you’re not familiar with the Twin Inns history, you can read about it here. The owner of the property on Highland passed away recently, and the family has decided to sell it.
Village and Barrio plan The City Council was scheduled to discuss potential changes to the Village and Barrio Master Plan last night but decided to postpone that until the District 1 City Council vacancy is filled.
Avenida Encinas parking restrictions The City Council approved new overnight parking restrictions along both sides of portions of Avenida Encinas, Macadamia Drive and Raintree Drive. A change like this requires two votes of the City Council and then would go into effect 30 days following the second vote, currently scheduled for next Tuesday.
New police chief Last Friday we announced Assistant Police Chief Mickey Williams will become the City of Carlsbad’s next police chief following the retirement Sept. 6 of Police Chief Neil Gallucci. Chief Williams is a 26-year department veteran who has played key roles in the department’s transition to a new era of law enforcement focused on crime prevention through community collaboration, diversity and trust. We are planning several informal community meetings in August where you can meet the new chief and share your ideas and priorities. You can read more about Chief Williams here.
Dates and locations will be announced next week.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. As you enjoy our beautiful summer, please continue to stay alert to any COVID-19 symptoms, even if you are vaccinated. Many symptoms could seem like a “regular cold,” allergies or sinus problems. When in doubt, check with your health care provider. We are not totally out of the woods on this thing, and your continued vigilance is needed to keep our community safe.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager
City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008