January 2022
Andy's Updates shares news about all aspects of the Anaheim community. Thanks for tuning in!

This week's issue includes:

  • COVID-19 case update
  • Testing
  • Vaccines
  • Redistricting
  • Dusk to dawn lights

Find more about the city of Anaheim at Anaheim.net.
The omicron wave: what to know
The omicron wave is here, with Anaheim and Orange County seeing record cases.

Anaheim is averaging 750 cases a day, quickly surpassing the delta surge in August and even topping the 650 daily average of the winter 2020-21 surge.

The omicron variant is conservatively estimated at 60 percent and likely more of new cases locally with the figure at 95 nationally.

The variant is highly catchy, including among the vaccinated. But, so far, it has not driven the severe illness seen in prior waves, largely thanks to vaccines.

Optimistic forecasts predict a fast, hard wave that fades quicker than prior surges.

That was the case in South Africa, where omicron first played out. Cases there spiked in late November, peaked three weeks later and now are in sharp decline.

The pattern appears similar in Britain, which was next to see the omicron wave. Cases there spiked in mid-December and appear to have peaked in the first days of January.

The U.S. has yet to peak in cases, and California is at the trailing edge of the omicron wave nationally, following the Northeast and Midwest.

In Anaheim and Orange County, we saw the start of the omicron wave on Dec. 20, when local daily cases nearly tripled and have risen since then.

Given omicron’s rapid onset, the best practices from early in the pandemic may actually be more effective this time around.

Wearing masks, washing hands, limiting gatherings and staying home as much as possible for a short period of time could actually help you dodge infection and limit community spread.

And, of course, get vaccinated, boosted or tested as needed (more below).

We’re all tired of the pandemic. But some basic steps will help us through this wave, and, hopefully, make it our last.

Find more at Anaheim.net/coronavirus.
Getting tested
Testing is one of our first defenses against spreading COVID-19.

Yet, as anyone who’s tried to get tested recently knows, it is not easy amid a wave of new cases.

Stores are out of at-home kits, and lines at testing sites are long.

It’s a case of supply outstripping demand. In early December, you could get an at-home test kit at a drugstore or easily be tested in person.

But, right now, everyone is seeking testing all at once, whether it is kids needing a test before going back to school, travelers returning or going on trips, those who threw caution to the wind on New Year’s Eve and others who don’t feel well and need to know if it’s a cold or COVID.

Here’s what to know about testing.

City testing sites
Testing sites, including Anaheim’s, are seeing record demand, even at this late stage in the pandemic. We are meeting the challenge, going from some 100 tests on a slow day last year to more than 1,000 these days at Anaheim City Hall, our largest site.

Because of demand, we are focusing on appointments, which is only fair to those who have made appointments or who have paid for expedited testing.

Basic diagnostic PCR tests are free. You’ll be promised results in two to three days with results often within 24 hours.

Appointment availability and wait times continue to improve at Anaheim’s sites run by Covid Clinic.

To make an appointment, go to Anaheim.net/testing. Consider our other sites, which may be busy but not as busy as City Hall: East Anaheim Gymnasium, Brookhurst Community Center and ARTIC transit center. 

Other testing sites
With some exploring, you’ll find that urgent care sites, workplace healthcare providers and other clinics providing testing across Anaheim. They are likely to have lines as well, and testing may come at a cost.

Members of Kaiser Permanente in Anaheim are seeing hours-long waits at the provider’s Anaheim Canyon location. Please click here for more on testing at Kaiser.

At-home kits
At-home kits are an effective testing tool and are great to have on hand. But they are not readily available for someone needing a test right now.

It is best to order at-home kits and then use them strategically if you develop symptoms or need to know your status before seeing others.

You can order saliva test kits that come via mail and are mailed back for processing and results. The tests are available through the county of Orange here.

You can also order nasal test kits from Fulgent Genetics here. You will need to allow time for delivery, sending back and processing of results. 

Online retailers
You may not be able to find at-home test kits on store shelves, but you can also buy them online from large retailers such as Walgreens and CVS.
Vaccines remain our best defense
With COVID-19 cases rising to levels not seen since the winter 2020-2021 surge, vaccines remain our best defense against severe illness and death.

Statewide, unvaccinated people are five times more likely to get COVID-19, 14.5 times more likely to be hospitalized and 15 times more likely to die.

In Orange County, we know that 90 percent of severe cases and hospitalizations are those who have not been vaccinated. The case rate among those unvaccinated is 83, while the rate among those who are vaccinated is 21.6.

There may be some confusion about what we call "breakthrough cases" among those who have been vaccinated. We always expected these types of infections, especially with such high community spread as we are seeing now.

The short of it? Vaccines are doing their job. They are keeping people protected from severe illness and from needing to be hospitalized. Those who have been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot experience largely mild symptoms.

Vaccines and boosters are more important than ever. If you haven't gotten yours yet, now's the time. Even those who have been vaccinated but not yet boosted have reported experiencing slightly more severe symptoms than those who have received all three doses.

Find a vaccine or booster appointment at Anaheim.net/vaccines.
Redistricting: fourth public hearing
Anaheim is set to host its fourth public hearing on the redistricting process on Jan. 11, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 S. Anaheim Blvd.

We have collected draft map submissions from the community and all are available for review on our redistricting website now.

You can view draft maps online using our interactive tool here.

Even if you did not submit a map, we welcome your feedback. You can leave comments or suggestions on the website related to the draft maps submitted.

At the Jan. 11 public hearing, the City Council will discuss the draft maps and submitted comments.

A fifth public hearing will be held on Feb. 1, 2022. The City Council will adopt the final district map by April 2022.

Head over to AnaheimRedistricting.org to submit comments or draft maps, find details on how the redistricting process works, sign up for updates and learn how to get involved.
Light up your home
If home improvements are on your to-do list this year, don’t miss out on two free dusk-to-dawn LED lights from Anaheim Public Utilities.

Benefits of dusk-to-dawn lights include added visibility and security around your home and you don’t have to remember to turn them on.  

Anaheim Public Utilities offers free home utility check-ups that can tell you where best to place your dusk-to-dawn lights.

Call (714) 831-0025 to schedule a home utility check-up.

You may also purchase the dusk-to-dawn LED light fixtures on your own and seek a rebate up to $20 per light.

Free installation is available for income qualified utility customers.

Learn more here.
More at Anaheim.net