Pictured: Ventura County is seeking input to prepare for sea level rise. 

by Kimberly Rivers

County vaccine appointments full

As of Jan. 19 Ventura County had no available appointments for coronavirus vaccines for any group that is currently authorized to register for vaccines. That announcement came on the heels of the county announcing that people 75 and older could register to be vaccinated. 

The county reported that vaccine quantities are limited and that more appointments will be available as more doses arrive in the county. 

Vaccines are allocated to the county by the state, and they are received weekly. 

Information about groups authorized to register for the vaccine and other vaccine information is online at: www.venturacountyrecovers.org/vaccine-information/prioritization/

673 new cases

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Ventura County reported 673 positive cases since the county last reported case results the day before. 

26 people died in one day from COVID-19, including a 28-year-old man.

Santa Paula Parks and Recreation closed in wake of surge

This week the city of Santa Paula reported it would be implementing additional measures within city limits in response to surges in hospitalizations and deaths. The city cited data showing Santa Paula has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the county, behind Oxnard and Simi Valley. 

Citing the need to protect residents, Dan Singer, city manager announced the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will be closed and all recreation classes, park and facility rentals are suspended. The department will be promoting online programs and activities through its social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Home delivered and drive-thru meals will continue to be provided to seniors. The coordinator for the senior meal program can be reached at 805-933-4226, ext. 356. 

Santa Paula skate park hours have been reduced to 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

Parks and Recreation staff can still be reached at 805-933-4226 ext. 350.

Brownley, Carbajal push for federal funds for farmworker protection 

On Jan. 12, 70 federal legislators, including Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Ventura) and Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) and, issued a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the allocation of funds for essential farmworkers as H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 is in the process of being implemented. That act, signed by former President Donald Trump, after bipartisan approval in the Senate, in Dec. 2020, directs the Secretary of Agriculture to use at least $1.5 billion to purchase and distribute agricultural products and to provide grants and loans to protect agricultural workers from COVID-19. 

In early Jan, 2021, the USDA stated its plans to spend those funds in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, but funds for farmworker safety were not yet committed. 

“Agriculture workers are at an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19, which is why I worked hard to ensure they are protected in the latest COVID-19 relief package. I urge the Agriculture Secretary to move quickly to protect our workers, food supply chain, and public health from COVID-19,” said Carbajal, whose father was a farmworker. “Growers, ranchers, and vintners in my district want to protect their essential workers from the virus, but they need our help.” 

Garcia joins House Committee on Appropriations

On Jan. 14, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) announced his appointment to the House Committee on Appropriations (HCA). 

Garcia is one of 23 Republicans and 30 Democrats on the HCA, which is chaired by Democrat Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. The HCA oversees funding for the federal government including education, health care and infrastructure. 

More information at: https://appropriations.house.gov/about

Air Pollution Control district statement on emergency use of generators

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) has stated that using a generator temporarily during a power outage qualifies as emergency use, which in rare circumstances requires a permit. 

A permit from VCAPCD is required for diesel powered generators that are not portable-rental units or over 50 bhp. Generators powered by natural gas, gasoline or propane do not require a permit. 

The California Air Resources Board provides several options for back up power including those with zero emissions: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/community-air-protection-program/emergency-backup-power-options-residential

Public input sought on sea level rise planning

Ventura County has 29 miles of coastline that will be the first to be impacted by sea level rise. County planners are seeking public input as part of a pre-planning effort to develop long term resilience to the expected changes. 

The county has launched a survey to receive public input. The survey is available in English at www.surveymonkey.com/r/slr-eng and in Spanish at www.surveymonkey.com/r/slr-span

Information on the county’s sea level rise resiliency project visit: www.vcrma.org/vc-resilient-coastal-adaptation-project or contact Aaron Engstrom at (805) 654-2936