Masking, Van Nuys Airport, SPF-Recall & Valley Olympians
July 22, 2021
I believe in telling it straight. I am as disappointed as you are that we must resume wearing masks indoors, even if fully vaccinated. However, it is the correct call by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Case numbers are up and the highly contagious Delta variant is now the dominant strain. Masking indoors is the least restrictive means to tamp down on further infections. I know some of you are irritated that you followed the rules and got vaccinated, to ensure a return to ”normal” life, and feel “penalized” due to people who have refused the jab. I understand your emotions.
However, the new masking order still enables everyone to do things like shopping, visiting amusement parks and eating at restaurants. This is not a lockdown. Nor is it solely a means to protect those who refused to protect themselves. Masking indoors protects the vaccinated against breakthrough infections. It also protects children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccination. Moreover, it protects the immunocompromised, who, while fully vaccinated, did not develop robust antibodies. It is in our collective interests to contain the spread, so that variants more dangerous than Delta cannot find hosts. Thus far, while fully vaccinated people have tested positive for the Delta variant, they rarely end up hospitalized or worse. The vaccine is doing its job - preventing severe illness and death.
When I have been at indoor venues, since California reopened a little more than a month ago, most people I have seen wear masks. Therefore, for the majority of us, this is not a change. Let us try to take care of loved ones, each other and ourselves. Follow the new masking requirements, and get the vaccine. If we do so, soon the dimmer switch will turn back towards fewer restrictions.
We have a lot of important information to share with you this week, including an FAA briefing on Van Nuys Airport operations, in-home vaccinations, summer safety tips, a sunscreen recall, free Wi-Fi for kids, and much more. Please take a few moments to scroll through the stories below. As the Olympics begin this week, we highlight Team USA athletes with Valley ties, including five-time Olympic runner Allyson Felix. Let us root for our Valley Olympians.
Stay safe and be well,
L.A. COUNTY SEES INCREASING COMMUNITY SPREAD
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reports a significant increase in the number of people hospitalized each day for COVID-19 illness. Unfortunately, because cases increased exponentially since June 15, we are now beginning to see corresponding increases in hospitalizations. Test positivity jumped more than 10-fold from 0.7% on June 21, to Wednesday's test positivity rate of 5.2%. Yesterday, Public Health confirmed 2,551 new cases of COVID-19 - an increase of nearly 10,000 new cases in the last five days. Thus, while on June 21, there were 213 people hospitalized here, this week began with 528 COVID patients in-hospital and increased to 585 by Wednesday.
Public Health reinstated indoor masking due to the significant increased circulation of the more infectious Delta variant, the intermingling of unmasked individuals whose vaccination status is unknown, and the risks to the nearly 4 million L.A. County residents who are ineligible for the vaccination, including 1.3 million children younger than 12.
Masking for everyone while indoors, regardless of vaccination status, became effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m. in all enclosed public places, venues, gatherings, and businesses (including offices, retail, restaurants, gyms, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, and state and local government offices serving the public). Children younger than two, people with certain medical conditions or disabilities that prevent masking, and those whose job does not permit masking are exempt.
Public Health is working closely with worksites and businesses so that they have the tools needed to ensure that their employees and customers are adhering to the indoor masking requirement. Public Health inspectors continue to visit sites regularly to address questions and concerns, ensure compliance with Cal/OSHA standards and the masking order, and respond to complaints of non-compliance. Public Health utilizes education and information sharing as the primary vehicles to secure compliance. Noncompliance enforcement may include issuance of a notice of violation or a citation. Report violations of safety requirements and dangerous conditions anonymously, to Public Health by phone at 888-700-9995 or online at LA County Public Health.
VIRTUAL FAA BRIEFING ON PROPOSED VAN NUYS AIRPORT DEPARTURE PROCEDURES
On Mon, Aug. 9, from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) hosts the FAA for a briefing on the proposed redesign of the Van Nuys Airport departure procedures. This briefing is a result of the Southern San Fernando Valley Airplane Noise Task Force (SSFVAN Task Force) recommendation number two, to modify VNY area navigation (RNAV) flight paths for departures to the south of the airport. LAWA and the Burbank Airport Authority created the SSFVAN Task Force to address BUR and VNY noise issues. You must register to participate.
VACCINATIONS AT HOME/RIDES TO VACCINES
If you or a family member, friend or neighbor is unvaccinated, due to lack of mobility, transportation or the like, the State offers free in-home vaccinations and transportation to vaccine appointments. Visit My Turn or call 1-833-422-4255 to schedule your appointment today. If you schedule via the My Turn site, select yes on the question “I need help with transportation to a vaccine clinic, or I need a home appointment.” It is that easy to protect yourself and others.
REAL ID WITHOUT VISITING THE DMV
If you need a Real ID, you will soon have a new option to secure one. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) are working together to provide members with additional venues that can process Real IDs, including at least one in the Valley. The AAA has long offered vehicle registration and other select DMV services. Visit the AAA website to learn more.
SMALL BUSINESS GRANT AND LOAN WEBINAR
On July 22, “Together for LA” will host a webinar about small business grant and loan opportunities. The webinar will discuss new stimulus measures offered by both the state and federal governments to assist small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The hour-long webinar begins at 11:00 a.m., and covers eligibility and the application process for small business grant and loan opportunities. Register here.
NOHO NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL SEEKING APPLICANTS
The NoHo Neighborhood Council is looking to fill vacancies, including a non-Board Member Parliamentarian, who must have expert knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order, the Ralph Brown Act, and the NoHo Bylaws and Standing Rules. The Council also seeks applicants for several board seats. If you live in NoHo and are interested in shaping your community, go to the Neighborhood Council website for details and eligibility.
LAUSD PLANS FOR FULL RETURN TO SCHOOLS
In a few weeks, LAUSD schools will open their doors for full, five-day-a-week, in-person instruction. To ensure the health of all students, teachers and staff, LAUSD implemented extensive safety measures. To learn more about LAUSD’s plans, please watch this three-minute video featuring the District’s Medical Director, pediatrician, and LAUSD parent, Dr. Smita Malhotra. Visit LAUSD’s Health and Safety webpage for additional information.
FREE WI-FI HOT SPOTS
Your family may be eligible to receive a free WiFi hotspot, if your household includes a K-12 student, or a youth, who is:
- Living in or attending school in the City of Los Angeles OR receiving services from any one or more Angeleno Connectivity Trust (ACT) partners, including, but not limited to:
- City of Los Angeles YouthSource Centers
- City of Los Angeles FamilySource Centers
- Brotherhood Crusade
- Coalition for Responsible Community Development
- North Valley Caring Services
- School on Wheels
- And also meet at least one of the following:
- Homeless or residing in a City or County shelter or Project Roomkey OR
- In foster care OR
- A student with a disability OR
- A student who has dropped out of school or is having trouble staying in school this year at least in part to lack of internet connectivity
- And have not already received a T-Mobile (Project 10 Million) hotspot provided by LAUSD
You can request one through the ACT Program. For more information, call the L.A. Public Library ACT Hotline at 213-228-7393 or click here for details. Students who do not meet the qualifications, but still need free or low-cost internet, can visit Get Connected Los Angeles or call 3-1-1 to learn about available options.
FREE AND LOW COST SUMMER PROGRAMS FOR KIDS AND TEENS
If you are looking for tutoring, arts, virtual field trips or enrichment for your child, the City of Los Angeles has a webpage, dedicated to helping you find opportunities for your children. After you click on the link, enter your zip code. The webpage will ask you if you want to look at “earn,” “learn,” or “play” activities. Click on your choice. The site will generate a list of opportunities with registration links. While some programs are already underway, or concluded, others are ongoing.
EARN activities include, career exploration and paid internships for young Angelenos between the ages of 14 to 24: Students can find summer job placements in their career fields of interest and earn a paycheck, while learning valuable skills.
LEARN activities are opportunities to learn beyond the classroom: Through a range of enrichment programs offered both virtually and in-person, students can catch up and prepare themselves for the 2021-22 school year. From STEM to literacy and more, these programs will turn Los Angeles into an academic playground for young people.
PLAY options encompass sports, arts, and day camps to explore and play: Young Angelenos of all ages can enjoy the great outdoors, play recreational sports, and discover new worlds through engagement in the arts.
STAYING SAFE THIS SUMMER
As we enter the dog days of summer, the Red Cross reminds us that before going in, on or around the water, you should become “water smart.” Everyone should be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely. The Red Cross also offers helpful hints on grilling safety, bee stings, burns and heat emergencies, along with resources and trainings. Check out the following tips to help keep your family safe, whether near a pool, lake, river or ocean, or at a barbeque or campground.
If you follow recommendations to apply sunscreen before outdoor activities, check your product to make sure it is not among those recalled last week. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary recall of certain brands of sunscreen, due to the low-level presence of benzene. According to the FDA, “[b]enzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure.” Among the recalled products are: NEUTROGENA Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, NEUTROGENA Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen, NEUTROGENA Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen, NEUTROGENA Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen, and AVEENO Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.
Allyson Felix from Los Angeles. Attended school in North Hills. (Track and Field)
Felix is in her fifth Olympiad. She has won nine Olympic medals - six gold and three silver - in track and field. Felix graduated from Los Angeles Baptist High School in North Hills (now Heritage Christian School.) Felix’s mother was a longtime teacher at Balboa Magnet Elementary. Her father taught for years in Sun Valley at the Master’s Seminary. Felix started running track in ninth grade. In short order, she became a CIF five-time winner, and “Track and Field News” named her 2003 High School Athlete of the Year. Felix attended USC, and ran in her first Olympics at age 18 in 2004. Now, as a 35-year-old mother, Felix will try to claim a final two Olympic medals - in 400m individual and relay events.
Jrue Holiday born in Mission Hills. Attended high school in Studio City. (Basketball)
Holiday played college basketball with the UCLA Bruins for a season, before his selection in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Holiday played four seasons with Philadelphia, where he was an NBA All-Star in his fourth season, before his trade to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013. He now plays for the NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks. He is a three-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. Holiday attended Campbell Hall in Studio City.
Tara Davis from Agoura Hills. (Track and Field)
Davis attended Agoura High School, and competed at the University of Texas Austin. She was the American junior record holder in the indoor long jump. Davis also hurdles. She is the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Long Jump Champion and Collegiate Indoor and Outdoor Record Holder.
Johnny Hooper from Los Angeles. Attended high school in Studio City. (Water Polo)
Hooper attended UC Berkeley, where he was nicknamed “Hoopstar” and “Buckets.” He also attended Harvard-Westlake High School. Hooper competed for the men’s water polo team at UC Berkeley. He finished his Cal career as one of the all-time great scorers in program history. He was an All-American every year while at Cal.
Ben Hallock from Studio City. (Water Polo)
Hallock is a two-time Olympian, having also competed previously at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janero. He participated in the World Championships in both 2017, and most recently in 2019, where he earned at top finish in 9th place. Like his teammate Hooper, Hallock also attended Harvard-Westlake.
David Smith from Saugus. Born in Panorama City. (Volleyball)
Smith is a graduate of the UC Irvine, and a three-time Olympian, competing in London, Rio and now Tokyo. In 2018, he earned a Bronze Medal.
REMEMBER, WE ARE A TEAM
I appreciate hearing from you. If you have a specific question or concern or story about the Valley to share, please click here to send me an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.