While Malibu City Hall has been closed to the public for nearly two months, the city has hosted two COVID-19 testing events for the community.
Malibu Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members donated a total of 55 volunteer hours over the last two weekends to operate the testing event, joined by the Malibu Medical Group staff.
According to Media Information Officer Matt Myerhoff, 167 registrations were made for the two testing sites on January 22 and 29.
“We want to make people have the ability to make an informed choice for themselves,” Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “The important thing to remember is that people are less sick than they would be if they weren’t vaccinated. The survivability of COVID has been going up and up because of people who are vaccinated.”
Grisanti said while city hall is not able to organize a COVID-19 vaccination site, the CVS Pharmacy and Malibu Urgent care on Webb Way would be the primary location to receive the vaccine.
“I understand that some people believe that it’s not in their best interest to get vaccinated, but I’ve been in favor of getting vaccinated ever since they said they were going to be able to offer a vaccination and when they come around with this next booster, I’ll get that one too,” Grisanti said. “I am an older person, and I understand that some people don’t think it’s a good idea, but I think it’s a good idea, and I think it’s a good idea for younger people, too.”
According to the City Manager updates, as of January 18, 2022, there have been 1,698 confirmed positive cases and 13 deaths in the City of Malibu.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said to see the winter surge of COVID infections decrease, safety precautions should continue in order to slow the COVID-19 transmission.
“These include wearing a mask when around others until transmission is lower; testing, if possible, before gathering with others, especially if you’re gathering with people at high risk, including unvaccinated, or indoors or in a crowded outdoor place where masks are not always worn, and after being exposed to a positive case,” Ferrer said in the press release. “Staying home and away from others if you are sick or test positive.”
According to the LA County of Public Health, as of January, 30 out of the 11,975 eligible, 61.2 percent are fully vaccinated.
“There are a lot of benefits to living in Malibu, in addition to clean air and sunlight, the fact that we have more space between our houses is very good,” Grisanti said. “We have a very low rate of infection in Malibu.”
While restaurants have seen the most impacts of the pandemic, the city introduced the Restaurant Recovery Program in 2020. The ordinance allows restaurants to get a permit to temporarily expand seating areas to adjacent common areas or sidewalks to ensure that physical distancing and other public health protocols are in place.
“I think that every business that has survived so far has suffered a lot, and I can’t do enough to try to help them,” Grisanti said. “As far as shopping locally, not using Amazon, dining locally, remembering to tip more than I used to because this has not been an easy time for a whole lot of people.”
The city has been informing the community of COVID-related news such as the testing sites, vaccination sites, and the opportunity to order a home testing kit. While masks are required but not enforced in some restaurants and retail stores, the city continues to encourage following protocols.
“All I can say is that I hope people will utilize those test kits; the next time we offer one here (City Hall), it’s a big relief for a lot of people when they ask if you’re tested,” Grisanti said. “It would be good to know whether or not you’ve got an infection. It’s a good idea to have a test so that maybe if you’ve got it and you can’t tell yet, and you’re going to see some old people or something, nobody wants to be the one that passes so on to someone who was not prepared for this and, and can’t survive it.”
For more information on COVID-19, visit malibucity.org/coronavirus.