State Extends Rent and Utility Relief; CDC and FDA release joint statement on vaccine boosters 

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Following the State of California’s extension of its COVID-19 eviction moratorium and rent relief program, the County of San Luis Obispo is encouraging tenants and landlords who have fallen behind on rent during the pandemic to apply for assistance. The state’s Rent Relief Program allows eligible tenants and landlords to now receive up to 100 percent of past-due rent and utilities dating back to Apr. 1, 2020. 

The online application process has been streamlined to encourage claims, and local application assistance is now available through Five Cities Homeless Coalition, Salvation Army, and United Way. 

“This assistance can help renters and landlords stay on top of their bills and in their homes as our community recovers from the pandemic,” said Assistant County Administrative Officer Rebecca Campbell. “We have local organizations here in SLO County ready to help with the application process. If you or your renters have fallen behind on rent during the pandemic, now is the time to look into this program and apply if you are eligible.” 

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Residents are eligible to receive assistance for current or past due rent and utilities if their annual 2020 income was less than 80 percent of SLO County’s median income. Landlords may also apply for financial assistance to support income loss if their renters are income-eligible and payments are used toward payment relief dating back to Apr. 1, 2020. 

Residents may apply for rent and/or utility relief online at housingiskey.com or schedule an application appointment by calling (833)687-0967. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until Sept. 30, and priority assistance will be given to income-eligible households most at-risk of eviction. For information on the Rental Relief Program and COVID-19 assistance in SLO County, visit RecoverSLO.org/RentRelief.  

SLO County Report COVID-19 Deaths  

On Tuesday, Jul. 13, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department reported that three SLO County residents have passed away due to COVID-19. These are the first confirmed COVID-19 deaths since May 17, 2021. One resident was in their 50s, one was in their 60s, and one was in their 70s. 

“It is heartbreaking to lose valued members of our community to COVID-19, and even more painful now that we have the tools to protect each other and prevent this kind of tragic loss,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “I extend my sincere condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones who are mourning today.” 

These deaths follow an increase in cases and hospitalizations statewide as California more fully reopens and as the more highly transmissible Delta variant takes hold. The Delta variant now accounts for more than 43 percent of cases sequenced in California.

Dr. Borenstein did not comment whether or not the individuals were vaccinated or not. 

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated persons can still get COVID-19.  

“COVID-19 vaccines are a critical tool in overcoming this pandemic,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “Findings from the extended timeframe of this study add to accumulating evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are effective and should prevent most infections — but that fully vaccinated people who still get COVID-19 are likely to have milder, shorter illness and appear to be less likely to spread the virus to others. These benefits are another important reason to get vaccinated.”

The findings come from the four weeks of additional data collected in CDC’s study of health care workers, first responders, frontline workers, and other essential workers. These groups are more likely to be exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 because of their occupations. Preliminary results from this study were first announced in March 2021.

CDC and FDA Release Joint Statement 

On Friday, Jul. 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a joint statement that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. 

According to the statement, fully vaccinated people are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country, such as Delta.

Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. The process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data—which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies. The study is currently ongoing due to all vaccinations are not approved by the FDA and are still in the experimental stages. All studies are ongoing as individuals receive the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. 

The CDC and FDA will continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed.