One additional Malibu resident has been killed by COVID-19, according to information provided by the LA County Department of Public Health, bringing the total number of residents whose deaths are attributed to the viral disease up to nine.
Malibu saw its second week in a row with more than 20 new cases of coronavirus in the week from Aug. 3-9. In that time, an additional 26 residents tested positive for the virus. In total, 542 positive cases have been identified among Malibu residents since the coronavirus was first identified in early 2020. Increases are due to both the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus and a sharp increase in testing as cases rise and more workplaces and schools require testing.
“The high number of new cases reflects both continued high rates of transmission and significant increases in screening testing,” according to the county. Test positivity rates took a slight dip this week; however, since July 26, COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county have doubled.
Vaccine data provided by the county showed both a sharp increase in vaccinated residents and an increase in the county’s estimate for Malibu’s total population—a discrepancy that could not be explained by the time The Malibu Times went to print on Tuesday.
Over the past week, county records showed more than 250 additional residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total number of residents at least partially protected by the virus up to 6,897 (up from 6,643 the week before). If accurate, the increase would represent the highest one-week increase in new vaccinations among Malibuites since the county began releasing individual communities’ vaccine data. However, in the same week, the county’s estimate for Malibu’s population was revised up from 11,005 to 11,447.
As kids prepare to return to classrooms this fall, the county issued a reminder that teens between 12 and 17 years old are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, “a regimen of two doses given three weeks apart, and they are considered fully protected two weeks after their last dose.”
Vaccines are free to anyone in the county ages 12 and up, with many sites no longer requiring pre-registration. Home-bound residents may request an at-home vaccination that is also free of charge. Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft offer free rides to and from vaccination sites and eligible disabled people can request free rides through LA County. Pfizer vaccines are available at the CVS on Malibu Road, with appointments available online. Vaccines are also available in Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and all over the city of LA. More information is available at: publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/vaccine/hcwsignup.
City Hall COVID-19 cases reported
The City of Malibu announced on Friday, Aug. 6, that “several” staff members working at City Hall had contracted COVID-19 and were isolating at home. That number was later revised to two staffers, who reportedly did not work in the same department and did not have contact with one another.
When asked when the virus was first detected among staff members, City of Malibu Media Information Officer Myerhoff said it was “within the last few days.”
City Hall remained open to the public, with appointments available but not mandatory. Masks were required inside City Hall regardless of vaccine status, in accordance with LA County health department regulations.
“The city takes the health and safety of its staff and the community very seriously, at all times, and particularly during the pandemic, and has taken steps including contact tracing and reinforcing mandatory facemask use and social distancing inside City Hall,” according to a statement from the city. “Additionally, persons entering City Hall will undergo a screening process to ensure safety and occupancy limits.”
That process was not medical, but rather involved a staff member stationed at the front desk ensuring mask compliance, social distancing and keeping capacity “low.”
The city’s statement also suggested that those with “…concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant spreading rapidly … should consider using the city’s online, phone and Zoom services rather than in-person services.”