Pictured: A six gill shark as seen from the Nautilus exploration vessel in a previous mission in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo submitted. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

County COVID Update

As of Tuesday, Oct. 20, there have been 13,777 positive cases of coronavirus in Ventura County since testing first started. Of those people , 1007 have been hospitalized, 13,137 people have recovered, and 160 people have died who tested positive for the coronavirus. 

There are 27 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 are receiving care in intensive care units at area hospitals.

206,019 people in Ventura County have been tested, but it remains unclear how the county is factoring in people who have been tested more than once. County officials have not responded by press deadline to requests for details regarding how that is tracked. 

In addition, Ventura County is currently only reporting on the region of residence for those who test positive, not where those individuals work. Outbreaks at a place of employment are being reported, but that doesn’t include information on those who may be traveling for work. Many essential workers as well as service sector workers do not work from home, and some businesses have opened up offices. In many cases it is unclear whether those testing positive could have been exposed at their place of work, which may or may not be in another area of the county. Reported numbers show that certain areas of the county have high numbers based on where people live, not where they work. 

Learn more about the State’s COVID-19 metrics at: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/

Deep sea vessel explores marine sanctuary 

The deep sea exploration vessel Nautilus is visiting the depths of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the adjacent Santa Lucia Bank. The vessel, owned and operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, will be in the area through Oct. 26 and will be conducting seafloor mapping, visual surveys of the sea floor and sampling. On the evening of Monday, Oct. 19, at a depth of just under 4,000 feet, the team sampled a frond from a black coral. The mission of the expedition is to gather information to expand the understanding deep sea coral and sponge habitats. 

Recordings from the Nautilus’ explorations and live footage can be viewed online at www.nautiluslive.org.

County property taxes due Nov. 1

Secured property tax payments for the 2020-21 year are due on Nov. 1, 2020. Taxes not paid become delinquent on Dec. 10, and after that will be assessed a late payment penalty fee of 10 percent. 

Payments can be mailed to: Tax Collector’s payment processor, PO Box 51179, Los Angeles, CA 90051-5479. Payments may also be mailed to the Tax Collector’s main office, 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA 93009-1290. Check, cashier’s checks and money orders are accepted. The timeliness of mailed payments is measured by the U.S. Postal Service cancellation mark. Payments can be made online, with a fee, at www.prop-tax.countyofventura.org/. Pay in person at the public counters of the Tax Collector’s office at 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura. Hours are 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 805-654-3744 or email HelpingHand@ventura.org.

County allocates $10 million for pandemic relief to hospitals

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has allocated $10 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund that will be allocated to local not-for-profit hospitals to assist in recouping unanticipated costs associated with the pandemic. 

Hospitals slated to receive funds are Community Memorial Hospital, Ojai Valley Community Hospital, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital and Adventist Health Simi Valley.

“During this extraordinary event, local hospitals have experienced economic hardships and unreimbursed costs due to surge preparation, the assistance for COVID patients and loss of business from decreases in elective surgeries and emergency room visits,” said Mike Powers, CEO.The funding comes from the $147 million in federal funds the county is receiving. 

Application period for Section 8 housing opens Nov. 3

The Area Housing Authority (AHA) of Ventura County is accepting applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program from 8 a.m on Nov. 3 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 16. The program serves very low income households that live or work in the AHA jurisdiction. 

The AHA serves the cities of Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and the unincorporated areas of Ventura County. Applicants must live and work in those areas only.

Applicants are selected through a random lottery drawing from all applications received during the open period which meet the residency requirements. Waiting list placement is done by a random lottery system, not on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications submitted throughout the application period are weighted the same. 

Applicants must provide name, date of birth, social security number of each household member and annual household income. Applications are being accepted primarily online; an email address is required. The online application portal is at  onlineportal.ahacv.org. Those who require assistance with the application or other type of accommodations can call  805-480-9991 extension 300 or send an email to wl_info@ahacv.org.

Michael Walker named Acting County Counsel

Following the retirement of Leroy Smith earlier this year, who had served as County Counsel for 10 years, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors has appointed Michael Walker to serve as Acting County Counsel. Walker has served as Chief Assistant County Counsel for the past 10 years. 

Walker received his law degree in 1990 from Pepperdine School of Law and worked in private practice for 17 years prior to joining the county counsel staff in 2007. 

The supervisors have decided to conduct a nationwide recruitment effort, slated to start next month,  to permanently fill the county counsel position.