Local News

Local COVID-19 Update

County Resumes Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The county of Orange has announced that it will resume making appointments for the single shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination in OC following the lifting of a temporary pause in its use over concerns about blood clotting in women, primarily those between the ages of 18 and 49. Use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, each requiring a two-shot regimen, have continued in OC without interruption. Appointments are available to anyone age 16 and over who lives or works in OC.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the pause on April 13 because six women, most under the age of 50, out of over 6.8 million recipients of the J&J vaccine later developed blood clots. Nine more cases were eventually discovered; three of the women died. The CDC wrote: “Reports of adverse events following the use of J&J/Janssen vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old.”

Later in April, the CDC and FDA both recommended that the use of the J&J vaccine resume because its “potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks,” but the CDC advised that “women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available in which this risk has not been seen.”

The OC Healthcare Agency (OCHCA) and County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau said, “The County now offers three FDA-authorized vaccines from which patients can select when scheduling an appointment — Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J — so that individuals have a variety of options to choose from. All vaccines are proven to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization or death from COVID-19,” according to an April 29 OCHCA press release.

Appointments can be made through the County’s proprietary Othena platform through a mobile app or online at www.othena.com, or by calling (714) 834-2000.

COVID-19 test kits can be ordered online at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing. Both nostril swab and saliva kits are free to anyone who lives or works in OC. Return shipping is prepaid, but online patient registration is required.

OC Remains in Orange Tier

Orange County remains in the Orange, or “Moderate” Tier of the state of California’s Blueprint for a Healthy Economy. Two of the three Blueprint metrics would qualify OC to move to the Yellow, or “Minimal” Tier. Test Positivity rates are down to 1.4% over a 7-day average, and the county’s Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate has dropped to 1.9%; both figures are lower than the threshold needed to move to Yellow, but the Adjusted Daily Case Rate per 100,000 residents remains in the Orange zone at 2.6%. A rate lower than 2 is necessary to move to Yellow, which would allow for greater numbers of people to circulate in various indoor and outdoor venues, but not remove all COVID-19 restrictions.

Los Angeles County has achieved Yellow Tier metric levels but must maintain them for a week prior to moving into that tier. California hopes to open its economy entirely by June 15 if enough vaccines can be equitably distributed by that date. The statewide face-covering mandate remains in effect.

COVID-19 in Fullerton

With a population of 142,824, Fullerton has experienced 11,396 cumulative known cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began over a year ago. Of those, 1,360 have been in children, 455 of them have occurred in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs). Two-hundred and ninety-seven Fullerton residents have died from COVID-19, 93 of them in SNFs. Overall, 57 deaths have occurred in the 92831 ZIP code area, 41 in 92832, 81 in 92833, and 116 in 92835. ZIP code areas do not have equal populations.

Fullerton’s City Council has resumed in-person meetings, but with a limited number of seats available for attendees, who must be masked. Live comments can still be made via Zoom and telephone, a practice the Council has indicated may continue beyond the cessation of COVID-19 restrictions. The Planning Commission has similarly resumed in-person meetings, but other committees and commissions still meet virtually.