Local News

COVID-19 Cases and Vaccinations in Decline

In early May, Orange County officially passed the mark of 5,000 of its residents dead from COVID-19. Deaths reported daily on the County’s COVID-19 Dashboard site are now in the single or low double digit range.

Fullerton’s mortality rate reached its own milestone with 302 deaths now officially attributed to the virus, 94 of them in Skilled Nursing Facilities. Since the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago, 11,428 cases have been recorded in Fullerton, a case rate of just over 8,000 per 100,000 residents.

On May 12, OC’s Adjusted Daily Case Rate per 100,000 residents dropped to 1.8, becoming the last of the three measurements to reach the Yellow or “Minimal” Tier in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Yellow is the final and least restrictive tier in the framework.

The County must maintain this Case Rate figure below a value of 2, as well as maintain its already Yellow level Test Positivity Rate (now at 1%) and Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate (now 1.2%) to officially ascend to the Yellow Tier. Doing so will allow outdoor social gatherings of up to 100 people, a maximum of 50% capacity in indoor gatherings where capacity limits exist (up to 50 people), and a maximum of 200 people for private events, with mitigation measures including full testing and proof of vaccination for all guests.

Indoor seated live performances would still be limited to in-state patrons with advance tickets, with significant limitations on capacity depending on the size of the venue.

Most businesses, including amusement parks, will be allowed to increase to the number of patrons allowed inside at one time.

Gov. Newsom has indicated that the statewide mask mandate could be lifted as early as June 15. Last year, just prior to the announcement of the California mandate, Fullerton, like many cities, adopted its own limited mandate requiring masks for many businesses and public activities.

The Orange County Healthcare Agency (HCA) reports that the number of persons fully vaccinated is now nearly 1.3 million, However, demand for vaccinations has dropped so much, at least among adults, that the HCA has announced the closure of all of its Super Point of Dispensing (POD) sites, where mass vaccinations have been offered to County residents and workers on June 6, and will concentrate its efforts in smaller, more dispersed clinics and other more accessible venues for those with limited transportation options. Vaccines are now available for those aged 12 or older.

The difference between receiving the first of a two-dose vaccine regimen at the Anaheim Convention Center site in mid-April and a second dose in mid-May was startling. An April appointment required waiting in a short series of well-managed lines with dozens of other socially distanced individuals before advancing to a station for a vaccine. The mandatory observation area for recipients following the shot contained at least 100 others at any given time. A month later, no lines at all were visible anywhere, and just a handful of people waited in the same observation area. The site no longer even requires advance appointments.

The reduced demand for vaccines is not exclusive to Orange County, and is worrying to healthcare officials across the country, raising serious concerns that “herd immunity” may be a lost cause because so many Americans simply refuse to get the vaccine, providing the potential for a steady supply of host individuals within whom the virus may mutate into new and deadlier strains. Booster shots could become necessary for those already vaccinated.

City Committees and Commissions to Resume In-Person Meetings

Fullerton’s various committees and commissions who are not already meeting in person are preparing to do so, many for the first time in over a year.  The City Council has previously indicated that it will continue the practice of accepting public comments via Zoom.

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