Marquez says “a lot of people need our help” in Cypress

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Cypress city council member Frances Marquez

Confusion surrounding the Orange County app Othena has prompted a Cypress city council member to ask for greater understanding and coordination for older residents attempting to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I’m concerned about the quality of the process of vaccinations,” Council member Frances Marquez told the Council at its most recent meeting.

Marquez said she signed up on the county’s healthcare app Othena in an attempt to have her 87-year-old mom vaccinated. Although it appeared as though they had scored an appointment, once they arrived they were “turned away” after reaching the Orange County Super POD site at Disney.

“Apparently, you need to have separate emails,” said Marquez, citing the technicality and expressing concern for the very large senior population in Cypress who either don’t have access to or understand the technology required to receive an appointment.

“A lot of people need our help,” she said. Marquez requested the Mayor write to the county and ask for the opportunity for the local senior center to become a local vaccination site. The mayor has since written the letter (featured last week in the ENE) and received a response.

Marquez also openly wondered if a meeting could be set up with a representative of Orange County Healthcare Agency to discuss the situation.

Mayor John Peat said he had discussed the matter with Dr. Clayton Chau, head of the OC Healthcare Agency, and was informed the county wants to first focus on establishing its Super POD sites before looking at local sites. Peat said there could be some relief in the vaccine supply chain in March.

City Manager Peter Grant suggested that he or Peat could perhaps bring up the issue again in their weekly meetings between OC Healthcare Agency, mayors and city managers. Otherwise, Grant said he thought OCHCA “may not have the bandwidth for a meeting” until the crisis shows more improvements.

In related pandemic news, Grant said the city was making the adjustments to move from the stay-at-home order back into the Purple Tier. He said the city has been an overachiever on testing, but metrics indicate that it will be a while before the city moves out of the Purple Tier into Red.

Also, regarding vaccines, Grant emphasized the county was offering no “standby” appointments at either of its two Super POD sites, Disney and SOKA University. Residents attempting to get vaccinated at any site without an appointment “will be turned away by staff,” he said.

Currently, he said, there was a mobile vaccine site, and other Super POD sites were expected to be opened soon.

Howard Kummerman, Chairman of the Cypress College Foundation, told the council that more than 1,250 students were attending from the city and he invites city residents to participate in the virtual 46th Annual Americana Awards Feb. 27.

He said the event will honor all of the city’s past “Citizens of the Year” and will be a “professional live-streamed event” with an extensive online auction and will include VIP reception and watch party. “It’s always a great event,” said Peat.

In other action, the Cypress Council;
• Briefly reported on a closed session with the city attorney regarding negotiations with Los Alamitos Race Course.
• Heard from a frustrated citizen that police told him that without evidence of a crime, there was little they could do to help him after someone stole his catalytic converter. “Makes me regret having to live in Southern California,” he said.
• Accepted the concrete rehabilitation plan in the amount of $277,367 and approved the final payment of $10,653.40 to Onyx Paving Company, Inc.
• Accepted the Residential Street Resurfacing Improvements – CDBG, Project 253, in the amount of $213,067.94 and approved the final payment of $10,653.40 to Onyx Paving Company, Inc.
• Authorized the City Engineer to file a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder. The EFSP grant is awarded in phases, the current being Phase 38. The spending period for Phase 38 is January 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021 (17 months). The cost of the District’s senior nutrition program will be approximately $173,000 during this time period. This amount includes the cost of full and part-time staff necessary to administer the program as well as the amount paid to Meals on Wheels for food distribution. CRCSF will apply for $43,200 of funding to be applied to these programs, which is the maximum 25% available under the EFSP guidelines.
• Awarded a contract to Golden Star Technology, Inc. (GST) for audio/visual technology enhancements in the Community Center in the amount of $93,700.10 and authorize a contingency of $14,055.
• Awarded a contract for LED Street Sign Upgrades, to Crosstown Electrical & Data, Inc., for $80,236, and authorize a contingency of $12,000.
• Approved warrants, transfers, and wires issued (net of any voided payments) during the period of January 1, 2021 through January 15, 2021 totaling $1,292,661.90.