Oct. 29, 2020
Tuesday’s state update on county tier assignments brought some good news for San Diego. Thanks to a high testing rate and efforts to support those most vulnerable to COVID-19, the state adjusted San Diego’s case rate down from 7.4 per 100,000 in population to 6.5. This is important because a case rate of 7 or higher would have starting the clock on potentially getting moved down to the most restrictive tier, purple, and having to close indoor operations at restaurants, among other businesses and activities. The next tier update will be Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Case data update
Here are the latest key metrics (increases shown are since my update Tuesday):
More Carlsbad-specific information is available on the “North Coastal” dashboard, including
  • COVID-19 rate by sex, ethnicity and age
  • Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths

The county also tracks:

The chart below is something we’ve created to show cases per capita. Carlsbad is continuing to do an excellent job containing COVID-19 spread. Please keep it up!
Here is a link to all the updated charts and graphs from San Diego County.

Community setting outbreaks
  • 13 new community outbreaks were reported yesterday: four in grocery settings, three in restaurant settings, two in business settings, two in health care settings, one in a day care setting and one in a government setting.
  • In the past seven days (Oct. 21 through Oct. 27), 31 community outbreaks were confirmed.
  • The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
  • A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

Helping students succeed
Although there is not a lot of agreement about how school districts should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, I think everyone shares the concern about how the disruption in learning is affecting our kids. At last night’s Carlsbad Unified School District board meeting, statistics were shared showing a notable increase in the number of students with Ds and Fs compared to previous academic years.

The city is a separate government entity from the school district, but our goals overlap in that we want to do everything we can to help Carlsbad kids succeed. Carlsbad City Library offers access to thousands of live, online tutors through a partnership with Tutor.com. (Career tutors are also available to help job seekers navigate a job search, work on a resume and prepare for an interview.) The service is free for Carlsbad City Library cardholders.
  • Tutors provide homework help for students in grades K – 12, as well as support for college-level work, resume writing and test preparation for SAT, GRE and more.
  • Feedback on writing assignments, including college and scholarship applications and cover letters, is available within 24 hours.
  • Princeton Review test prep materials are available for review and download.
  • Live tutoring in foundational subjects is also available in Spanish.
  • Live tutoring hours are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily.

Please share this resource with your friends and families.
P.S. If you don’t have a library card, you can get one free online.
Power Plant coming down
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you – some parts of the old power plant are actually see-through. At least enough pieces of the outer shell have been removed to allow light to shine through from side to side. The slow and careful dismantling of the Encina Power Station started before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. Following a short hiatus, crews are back at it, and it’s becoming more and more noticeable to the naked eye.

Due to environmental concerns and the plant’s location, there won’t be a massive implosion. But the results will be just as dramatic. This large industrial building has been a prominent feature of Carlsbad’s coastline since the 1950s. The plant had to stop operating a few years ago because it uses ocean water for cooling, which is no longer allowed because it harms marine life.

A new, more efficient and smaller “peaker” power plant has already been built on the eastern portion of the property. As part of an agreement with the city, the property owner, NRG, will launch a community outreach process on the future use of the site once the old plant is torn down. It’s going to be a while still – removing the physical structures is just part of the process of restoring the site for future uses. I know the reuse of this site is a topic of major interest in our community, and I will keep you posted on next steps.
Stay healthy on Halloween
County health officials are reminding the public that traditional Halloween celebrations are not advised, and large gatherings are not allowed, under the state or local health guidance. Halloween celebrations – such as parties and in-person, door-to-door trick-or-treating – pose a high risk of spreading COVID-19 and are strongly discouraged. Here is what the county’s health officer had to say yesterday:
“These activities involve face-to-face interactions with people from different households,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “If a COVID-19 infection is detected among a participant, it will be very difficult to find and notify those who may have been exposed.”
Dr. Wooten recommends the following safe Halloween activities to make sure children have a fun and safe celebration:
  • Online parties/contests such as costume or pumpkin carving.
  • Drive-through events and car parades.
  • Dressing up homes and yards with Halloween-themed decorations.
  • Movie nights with your own household or at a drive-in theater.
  • Pumpkin patches where people use hand sanitizer and maintain 6-feet of distance from others.

The city has compiled the county’s guidance as well as tips from the state and CDC on our website, and information about the city’s virtual event ideas.

Fall back this weekend
As long as you’re changing your clocks this weekend, City of Carlsbad public safety officials recommend making a few other quick changes around your home (Daylight Savings Time ends Nov. 1).

  • Smoke/CO detectors: Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Batteries: Be sure to recycle old batteries by putting them in a plastic bag and setting them on top of your recycling cart on trash day. Better yet, consider using rechargeable batteries.
  • Test and replace: Test your smoke detectors monthly to make sure they work. According to FEMA, smoke detectors last about eight to 10 years. Check the unit for a purchase date.
  • Timers: Adjust the automatic timers controlling lights inside and outside your home. If you are not already doing so, consider putting lights on timers so your home looks occupied. A house sitting in the dark is a sign no one is at home. Watch a video about preventing burglary.
  • Home emergency kit: Make sure your home emergency kit is up to date. If you don’t have one, put one together this weekend
  • Sprinklers: Check your automatic sprinklers to make sure you're only watering between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Voting information
If you’ve set aside this weekend to fill out your ballot, here is a link to details about the General Election, including ballot drop off locations, poll dates and hours, and other information. Remember, polls are open for four days, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3. Because more space is needed to provide distance between voters, the Registrar of Voters has changed most polling locations to larger venues. This means you need to double check your assigned location before heading out, if you prefer to vote in person. It’s probably not the usual garage down the street.

I want to end by acknowledging that we are in a grueling marathon when it comes to COVID-19. Each of us is affected differently, but we are all affected. I really could not be more proud of how our community has adapted. Our relatively low numbers are evidence of this, and so are the many acts of kindness we see, week in and week out. Carlsbad is a city where people care for each other. The Great Kindness Challenge was created right here in Carlsbad. Next time you feel a little down, please watch this video, and I guarantee you will be filled with hope again.
I’ll be back next Tuesday. In the meantime, please remember:
  • Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from people not from your own household.
  • Cover your face when you leave home.
  • Stay at home as much as possible. When you leave, avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands often or use sanitizer if soap and water aren’t handy.
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have any reason to think you may have been exposed, stay home and away from others until you know for sure.
  • Get your flu shot.

Scott Chadwick
City Manager
City of Carlsbad | Website