Hello and welcome to the TimesOC newsletter.

We are on Friday January 7th. My name is Ben Brazil and I bring you the latest summary of Orange County news and events.

Orange County hospitals are in crisis mode as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread in the community.

At least nine hospitals have set up emergency tents to treat more patients, and ambulances are waiting longer to drop patients off in emergency rooms, Gregory Yee and Rong-Gong Lin II reported this week.

In an effort not to overload hospitals, Orange County Deputy Medical Officer Dr Regina Chinsio-Kwong is warning residents to avoid emergency rooms unless they are actually in an emergency. .

“Our hospitals are full,” Chinsio-Kwong said. “Our emergencies are full. So if you are looking for a test, if you have mild symptoms, please consider a virtual appointment with your healthcare provider first so as not to overwhelm emergencies even more as we really want emergencies and emergencies. emergency care really takes care of urgent situations. “

A healthcare worker leaves UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

As of Thursday, 6,266 cases and two deaths were reported in the county. Meanwhile, the rest of the state is also suffering from a massive increase that has caused an extension of at least a month to the term of indoor masks. Hospitalizations are increasing statewide in all age groups.

Chinsio-Kwong said the positivity rate in Orange County is also on the rise, from 8.2% to 16.2%.

As of Thursday, 724 people were currently hospitalized in Orange County, more than triple the number from two weeks ago. However, as Yee and Lin II noted, the numbers are lower than last year’s winter surge. There were more than 2,200 COVID-19 patients in hospitals at the same time last year.

As has been said for many months, unvaccinated people are more likely to contract the virus. In Orange County, unvaccinated people are about four times more likely to test positive. Getting the vaccine has become all the more crucial in fortifying yourself against the extremely contagious variant of Omicron, according to health officials.

As of last week, the variant accounted for about 20% of cases in the county. As of Wednesday, this rate had risen to 82%.

The State Coast Commission has approved a development plan for downtown Laguna Beach.

The State Coast Commission has approved a development plan for downtown Laguna Beach.

(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

NO MORE NEWS

Downtown Laguna Beach will see some changes in the future. These changes will be guided by a specific plan that was approved this week by the state’s Coastal Commission. My colleague Lilly Nguyen wrote that updating the plan has been the subject of debate over the past few years, with residents concerned the downtown area will lose its “village” appeal. The plan also aims to rectify long-standing parking issues at Laguna Beach.

Residents of Huntington Beach are divided over the city’s potential plans to create new trails leading to the ocean for cyclists and pedestrians. The Trails to the Sea project would use the service tracks along the Talbert and Huntington Beach canals. City officials are currently seeking public input on the project, and some Surf City residents believe the trails would be dangerous and an invasion of the privacy of those who live along the canals.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will need a new leader after Sandy Morales, current President and CEO, announced her voluntary resignation this week. Morales’ decision came after she was recruited to be director of corporate relations for a global nonprofit, wrote journalist Andrew Turner.

The popular OC Swap Meet was canceled this Saturday as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Journalist Sara Cardine reported that the owner of the meeting said he had potentially been exposed to the virus. The exchange meeting takes place twice a month at the OC Exhibition Center and could return on January 22.

A man attacked workers at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Tustin last week, calling them “murderers.” According to an alleged victim of the attack, the man became enraged after being asked to wear a mask. He reportedly called the COVID-19 pandemic a hoax and said he was not a “sheep.”

An Able Coffee employee stamps the company logo on coffee mugs.

An Able Coffee employee stamps the company logo on coffee mugs.

(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

LIFE AND LEISURE

Adeel Asif and Anthony Palmeri met while working with children with special needs in Irvine. After realizing that it is very difficult for people with disabilities to find a job, they decided to start Able Coffee Roasters to provide jobs for their students and others who cannot find work. Asif said the store provides a safe space for families with disabilities. “We’ve been able to create a very unique environment that is inclusive and they feel safe and don’t feel judged,” Asif told my colleague Sarah Mosqueda.

The Orange County Museum of Art launched a new initiative this week to celebrate its 60th anniversary and the opening of a new building. The museum will acquire 60 new works of art to add to its more than 4,500 works. “You really only have this opportunity to build a new museum once in the history of an institution,” said director Heidi Zuckerman. “This is an opportunity to fill in the gaps of the past.

Chinese-American artists will take center stage at the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Some of the events, which will be held from February 1 to 15, will also be free to make them accessible to all families.

Classical music fans won’t get their fix at the Segerstrom Center this weekend after a series of shows postponed due to the recent wave of COVID-19. My colleague Gabriel San Román wrote that the Pacific Symphony concerts will take place from June 23 to 26. the program, ”said John Forsyte, President and CEO of Pacific Symphony. “We want to start the New Year by honoring our continued commitment to the well-being of our audiences, musicians and staff. We take this responsibility seriously.

New York Yankees third baseman Phil Nevin, left, watches the eighth inning.

Phil Nevin, left, will become an Angel trainer.

(Associated press)

SPORTS

The Angels are set to finalize their coaching staff after recently transferring Ray Montgomery from the front office to the bench coach. Journalist Mike DiGiovanna detailed the team’s various moves this week, including ongoing discussions with outfielder Adam Eaton to be the Angels’ first baseman coach. However, there is a dispute over whether Eaton will be barred from a coaching position due to the buyout of his 2022 contract with the White Sox.

Costa Mesa High School has named Gary Gonzalez as the new head coach of the Mustangs football team. Gonzalez was the team’s assistant coach for eight years. “I am very honored to have this title,” said Gonzalez in his first remarks as head coach. “It means a lot to me. I am very honored to lead you young men and women and it is my job to make sure that you have a great experience playing football and to create a culture where you thrive on academically and in the field as well.

Staying in touch

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