Pasadena has qualified to advance to the less-restrictive orange tier of the state’s COVID-19 business-reopening blueprint, but will not ease restrictions until Monday. Qualifying for the orange tier requires L.A. County, where Pasadena is located, to have an average daily rate of new COVID infections of 3.9 per 100,000 residents, along with a testing-positivity rate of 4.9% or less, and maintain those levels for two consecutive weeks. The county, including Pasadena, fell into the orange-tier range last week, with a case rate of 3.7 per 100,000 residents, and a testing-positivity rate of 1.8%.
After months of seeing a steady flow of COVID-19 patients through its intensive care units, Huntington Hospital’s ICUs contained zero coronavirus patients on Friday. Fourteen patients were being treated for the virus at the hospital, but none required the extra level of care provided in ICUs, according to hospital data. At the height of the pandemic in December and January, the hospital saw more than 200 total patients, with dozens being cared for in intensive care units.
As of Monday, April 5 at 12:01 a.m., many sectors in the City of Pasadena will be able to open or increase capacity due to movement of the Pasadena Public Health Jurisdiction into the Orange Tier 3 (Moderate COVID-19 disease transmission) of the state of CA Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the city said Wednesday morning.
At that time the following activities will be permitted to occur in strict adherence with the updated Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) protocols:
- Restaurants may open for indoor dining at a maximum of 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer, in compliance with the protocol for restaurants, bars and breweries;
- Bars that are not able to provide a sit-down, bona fide meal with each alcohol transaction may operate outdoors with modifications including closing for on-site consumption at 10 PM, and in compliance with the protocol for restaurants, bars and breweries;
- Breweries that are not able to provide a sit-down, bona fide meal may operate indoors at a maximum of 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, with modifications in compliance with the protocol for restaurants, bars and breweries;
- All retail may operate indoors at 75% capacity and with physical distancing in compliance with the protocols for retail operations;
- Museums and galleries may open for indoor operations at a maximum capacity of 50%, in compliance with the protocol for museums and galleries;
- Movie theaters may operate indoors at a maximum of 50% capacity or 200 people, per auditorium, whichever is fewer, in compliance with the protocol for movie theaters;
- Hotels and lodging may operate with modifications in compliance with the protocol for hotels and updated protocols for restaurants, pools, and fitness facilities where applicable;
- Fitness facilities, gyms, yoga and dance studios may operate indoors at a maximum of 25% capacity, in compliance with the protocol for fitness facilities, and indoor pools may open at a maximum 25% capacity in compliance with the protocol for public pools;
- Offices may reopen indoors, in compliance with the protocol for office workspaces, but telework is strongly encouraged;
- Places of worship may operate indoors at 50% capacity, in compliance with the protocol for places of worship;
- Family entertainment centers may reopen for indoor operation at 25% capacity for naturally distanced activities including bowling, in compliance with the protocol for family entertainment centers.
Continued adherence to public health COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing can help keep cases low and prevent another surge, particularly as more indoor activities are permitted, more infectious variants become prevalent, and travel increases over spring break and the holidays, officials said.
A revised Health Order and industry protocols will be posted to the City's COVID-19 Information page over the next few days. Please continue to check the website for the latest information.
The following have been updated on the Pasadena COVID-19 website:
Statewide: (From PasadenaNOW) In a major advancement in the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery, California health officials announced changes Friday that will allow a resumption of indoor activities such as concerts, conferences and theater performances — and a return of fans to indoor sporting events.
The rules, however, include strict capacity mandates based on counties’ tier placement within the state’s economic-reopening blueprint, along with requirements for attendees to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID- 19 tests.
The new rules will take effect April 15 — subject to the approval of local health authorities, who are permitted in each county to impose stricter regulations than the state allows.
For private events such as receptions or conferences:
- Counties in the most restrictive purple tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy can permit outdoor gatherings up to 25 people, or up to 100 people if all attendees show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
- In the red tier, the outdoor gatherings can be 50 people or up to 200 with vaccination/testing proof, while indoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted with vaccination/testing proof.
- In the orange tier, outdoor gatherings can be 100 people or up to 300 with vaccination/testing, while indoor activities are permitted for 150 people with vaccination/testing.
- In the yellow tier, outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 200 people, or 400 with vaccination/testing, and indoor events allowed up to 200 people, with vaccination/testing of all attendees.
For indoor live events and performances, which state officials said includes sports arenas, theaters and other event venues, such events are banned in counties in the restrictive purple tier, but permitted in other tiers, with varying capacities, advance ticket purchases, physical distancing, designated eating/drinking areas and in-state guests only.
For venues with a capacity of up to 1,500 people:
- in the red tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 100 people, and capacity increases to 25% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination;
- in the orange tier, capacity is limited to 15% or 200 people, increasing to 35% if all guests are tested or vaccinated; and
- in the yellow tier, capacity is limited to 25% or 300 people, increasing to 50% with testing/vaccination of all guests.
For venues with capacity of 1,501 or higher:
- in the red tier, capacity is limited to 20% with testing or vaccination proof required for all guests;
- in the orange tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, increasing to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination; and
- in the yellow tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, increasing to 50% if all guests are tested or vaccinated.
Keep Our Shops on the Block! New Grant Funding Available for Small Businesses: Retail & personal care service businesses are encouraged to apply for the LA Regional COVID-19 Fund grants. Additional funding has been received and will be dispersed to eligible brick and mortar businesses that meet minimum criteria and complete an application by April 11th. Grants of $10,000 will be awarded through an online, random application system. For more information about the program and to apply, click here. Businesses can attend an information webinar about the grant program. The next webinar will take place tomorrow, Friday, April 2nd at 2 pm. To register, click here.
The county added new eligible business categories under this grant program. Please see full list of eligible businesses below:
- Hair salon
- Beauty salon
- Nail salons
- Esthetician office
- Skin care office
- Electrology office
- Shoe repair shop
- Dry cleaners
- Flower shop
- Party supply store
- Donut shop
- Variety discount store
- Community grocery store/market
- Apparel or clothing store
- Automotive or appliance repair shop
- Acupuncturist office
- Personalized gift store
- Video game store
- Jewelry store
- Tattoo shops
- Music stores
- Accessory store
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline extended to May 31, 2021. Congress authorized and the president signed legislation extending the deadline to apply for a PPP loan to the end of May. Please contact your lender if you haven't already. If you don't have a local bank you work with, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you find a financial institution you cna work with. These loans are 100% forgivable as long as funds are used for appropriate expenses such as employee salaries, rent and utility payments.
Shutered Venue Operators Grant from the Small Business Administration Opens April 8, 2021: The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Click Here to Learn More or Click Here to Access Application Checklist.
Vaccines: Vaccine eligibility expanded April 1st to all residents aged 50 and over, but with vaccine supplies still relatively limited, getting an appointment could prove difficult. The city of Los Angeles’ appointment system through Carbon Health was accepting appointment slots for the 50-and-over group on Monday, but the state’s MyTurn site was not.
More than 49,900 Pasadenans over the age of 16, amounting to 42.4% of the city’s population, have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Wednesday. Nearly 28,500 city residents, or 24.2% of Pasadena’s population over 16 years old, which is the minimum age for which the vaccines are currently approved, have been fully vaccinated, according to city data. Additionally, just under 90% of the city’s residents over 65 years old have received at least an initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Officials also announced Wednesday that Pasadenans 50 years old and up are eligible to fill out the city’s online vaccine information inquiry form to be notified when supplies are available, Derderian said. The form can be accessed at https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/#covid-19-vaccine-inquiry. Groups including health workers, first responders, residents over 65, long-term care facility residents, teachers, and food and agriculture workers have already been declared eligible to fill out the form, which does not immediately result in an appointment for vaccination.
Eligibility will expand to everyone aged 16 and up on April 15.
LA county this week was set to receive its largest weekly allotment of vaccines to date — 338,100 doses — and tens of thousands more doses will be sent directly to other local vaccination providers, such as pharmacies and health care centers. But when eligibility expands to those 50 and over on Thursday, it will add an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people to the pool of residents competing for limited doses. That’s on top of the millions of people who are already eligible for the shots. Noting that case totals are typically low on Mondays due to weekend reporting lags, the county on Monday reported seven new COVID-19 deaths, lifting the countywide total from throughout the pandemic to 23,084.
With Spring Break upon us, LA County's Department of Public Health encourages everyone to remain close to home and adhere to the State travel advisory which recommends no recreational travel outside a 120-mile radius. Recreational travelers and residents coming to LA County are required to self-quarantine for 10 days after returning from out-of-state or out-of-country travel. It is recommended that resident travelers who are exposed to crowds and/or unmasked individuals in close proximity get tested upon their return. There is a heightened risk if traveling to places with high rates of community transmission, like Miami, which is recently reporting a 9% test positivity rate; this is 6 times higher than the test positivity rate in LA County. Remember how easily this virus can spread, and take every action you can to protect yourself and others until we all can get vaccinated. To see when it's your turn for a vaccine, go to: VaccinateLACounty.com.
A clinical trial found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was highly effective in adolescents aged 12 to 15, the companies said today. The trial found no infections among the children who received the vaccine, and the vaccines produced even stronger antibody responses in the children than they did in young adults. The children experienced no serious side effects. The findings have not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, but they excited experts.
From the New York Times: Answers on vaccine side effects. Tara Parker-Pope, the founding editor of Well, recently asked readers to send in their questions about vaccinations. Here are some answers, condensed.
Q: I’ve heard the Covid vaccine side effects, especially after the second dose, can be really bad. Should I be worried?
Short-lived side effects like fatigue, headache, muscle aches and fever are more common after the second dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. People interviewed by The Times reported a wide spectrum of responses, from no reaction at all to symptoms like uncontrolled shivering and “brain fog.” They are a sign that your own immune system is mounting a potent response to the vaccine.
Q: Is it true that women are more likely to get worse side effects from a vaccine than men?
It’s true that women may be more likely to report side effects, which has a biological explanation. Estrogen can stimulate an immune response, whereas testosterone can blunt it. In addition, many immune-related genes are on the X chromosome, of which women have two copies and men have only one. These robust immune responses help to explain why 80 percent of autoimmune diseases afflict women.
Q: Are the side effects worse if you’ve already had Covid-19?
Research and anecdotal reports suggest that people with a previously diagnosed Covid-19 infection may have a stronger reaction and more side effects after their first dose of vaccine compared to those who were never infected with the virus. A strong reaction to your first dose also may be a sign that you were previously infected, even if you weren’t aware of it.
Q: What about taking a pain reliever after the shot?
While most experts agree it’s safe to take a pain reliever after you get vaccinated, they advise against taking it as a preventive or if your symptoms are manageable without it.
Read Tara’s full F.A.Q. about vaccine side effects.
The Economy: According to the Financial Times, the US economy added 916,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate edged down to 6 per cent in a sign that the recovery was accelerating in the month that Joe Biden signed his $1.9tn stimulus into law.
The non-farm payrolls data released on Friday exceeded economists’ expectations and marked a sharp improvement from the upwardly revised 468,000 jobs created in February and 233,000 positions created in January.
From the Wall Street Journal: U.S. hiring surged in March as the economic recovery accelerated, the start of what economists say could be a sustained run of job growth to industries, regions and workers hardest hit during the pandemic. U.S. employers added a sea- sonally adjusted 916,000 jobs in March, the best gain since August, the Labor Department said Friday, and the unemployment rate, determined by a separate survey, fell to 6%, a pandemic low. Still, as of March, there are 8.4 million fewer jobs than in February 2020 before the pandemic hit.
The jobs rebound is gaining renewed momentum as more people are vaccinated against Covid-19, states lift restrictions on business activity, and consumers grow more comfortable dining, shopping and traveling outside their homes.
President Biden Releases American Jobs Plan, $2 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal: President Biden announced the American Job Plan, a $2 trillion proposal to address the nation’s aging infrastructure, and utilize infrastructure to reduce economic inequity, and mitigate climate change. The initial proposal includes:
- $621 billion for physical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and public transit;
- Delivering 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations nationwide, and increasing tax incentives for consumers to purchase electric vehicles;
- $100 billion to expand broadband internet access;
- $100 billion to update the electrical grid;
- $213 billion for building upgrades in disadvantaged communities, such as schools and VA hospitals;
- $400 billion for “care infrastructure” to expand community and in-home care;
- $100 billion for workforce development, specifically targeted at underserved and low-income communities.
The American Jobs Plan’s proposed pay fors are an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and an incentive for corporations to onshore and repatriate funds. The Chamber is actively monitoring the proposed plan, and the White House released this fact sheet.
From Kevin Smith at the Pasadena Star-News: With hopes rising for a powerful rebound in hiring this year, today’s jobs report for March will provide crucial insight into whether those rosy expectations may prove true. The most optimistic economists are predicting that the government will report that as many as 1 million jobs were added in March — a blistering gain that would help recover a decent chunk of the 9.5 million jobs that remain lost to the pandemic. Still, the increase might not be quite that large: Overall, economists surveyed by data provider Fact-Set have forecast an increase of 615,000.
After a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections, and small business closures, numerous trends are brightening the outlook. Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified. Americans have increased their spending as the latest stimulus checks have been distributed. More states and cities are easing restrictions on restaurants, bars and indoor gatherings. Vaccinations are being increasingly administered, although new confirmed infections have risen from lower levels in recent weeks.
Spending had begun to rise in March even before the stimulus checks arrived as viral case counts have tumbled from their heights in January. Americans are increasingly willing to venture out from home to travel and eat out, though not yet at their prepandemic pace. Roughly 1.5 million people traveled through airports on March 28, according to the Transportation Services Administration. That was roughly eight times the figure of a year ago, although it was still down sharply from 2.5 million on the same day in 2019.
The transportation analytics firm Inrix has calculated that daily car trips returned to prepandemic levels late last month. Many of those trips have likely been to restaurants, where the volume of seated diners was just 25% below pre-pandemic levels, on average, in the last week of March, according to OpenTable, a restaurant software provider. That’s up from 50% below pre-pandemic traffic just six weeks earlier.
The burgeoning economic activity is showing signs of translating into more jobs. Karen Fichuk, CEO of Randstad North America, a recruiting firm, said the company is seeking to fill 38% more permanent jobs than it was at the end of last year. Demand for workers is particularly strong in manufacturing, information technology, logistics, and health care.
The Biden plan is opposed by most Republicans in the House and Senate. Democratic members are pushing for inclusion of provisions favorable to their states, as well.
Unemployment: Filings for unemployment benefits rose last week but remained near their lowest levels since the pandemic’s onset, amid signs of a broader U.S. economic recovery. Workers filed 719,000 initial jobless claims, on a seasonally adjusted basis, in the week ended March 27, the Labor Department said Thursday. The increase followed a downward revision to 658,000 initial claims the prior week, the lowest point since the pandemic hit in March 2020. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the numbers, fell to 719,000, also a low during the pandemic. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, remain well above pre-pandemic levels—the weekly average in 2019 was 218,000—but have trended downward since the start of the year.
The labor market has shown other signs of gaining steam, which economists expect will be captured in the Labor Department’s March employment report that will be released Friday. Economists forecast the U.S. economy added 675,000 jobs last month, compared with a gain of 379,000 in February, and that the jobless rate ticked down to 6% from 6.2%.
Travel: (From PasadenaNOW) Southland residents anxious to travel got some good news Friday from federal health authorities, who issued new guidance stating that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel domestically. “You do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You should still follow all other travel recommendations.”
People who are not vaccinated are still urged to delay any travel, “because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
Despite the CDC’s relaxing of its guidelines, many local jurisdictions still have travel rules in place. Los Angeles County requires travelers who enter or return to the county from other states or countries to self-quarantine for 10 days.
It was unclear if the county plans to revise that requirement in light of the CDC’s new guidance.
According to the CDC guidance, people who are fully vaccinated do not need to get tested for COVID-19 before or after travel “unless their destination requires it,” nor do they need to self-quarantine.
Vaccinated travelers, however, still must follow safety guidelines while traveling, including wearing a face covering, maintaining six feet of social distancing and frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizer.
What you’re doing (a little fun from the New York Times online):
A is for absolutely nothing getting done.
B is for boredom.
C is for the covidiots.
D is for “doing our best.”
E is for extra time at home.
F is for my father who died without a visit from me.
G is for grim milestones.
H is for heart-heavy numbers.
I is for inoculation, a word misused.
J is for Jack in the Box drive-through, the only place we eat out now.
K is for knowing someone who died of Covid.
L is for living simply.
M is for meals at home.
N is for never going out unmasked.
O is for outdoor eating in the cold.
P is for pandemic.
Q is for quirky Zoom weddings and funerals.
R is for relatives who don’t understand my fear.
S is for sick and tired of this.
T is for ticking time bomb.
U is for unprecedented.
V is for vaccines versus variants.
W is for wanting my shot.
X is for X-rays of Covid lungs.
Y is for yelling at strangers who get too close.
Z is for zoonotic.
— Margaret “Page” Kakowski, Portland, Ore.