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by Joyia Emard

California Department of Consumer Affairs Waiver Update

Today, the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) issued two new waivers and four waiver extensions today.

Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-39-20, during the State of Emergency, the Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs may waive any statutory or regulatory requirements with respect to a professional license issued pursuant to Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code.

To date, DCA Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer has issued 157 waivers, including waivers to increase the state’s healthcare workforce, augment the number of COVID-19 vaccine administrators, expand access to COVID-19 testing and more.

To view the waivers and guidance documents, or to sign up for notification of waivers as they are issued, visit dca.ca.gov/covid19.

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VIDEO: The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) is celebrating its 8th Annual #SafeSandalSeason by providing consumers with an all-new pedicure safety video. With the weather warming up, you may be pulling out your sandals and getting ready to get your toenails done. But before you head over to the salon, make sure you are informed about pedicure safety.

For more information about BBC’s Safe Sandal Season, visit the Safe Sandal Season page at BBC’s website.

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California State Seal

$116.5 million vaccine incentive program – the biggest in the nation – to boost vaccinations as California prepares to fully reopen the economy June 15

$100 million in $50 prepaid or grocery cards for the next two million newly vaccinated people; $16.5 million in cash prizes for all vaccinated Californians

 

Editor’s note: this news release was distributed by the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. Click here to view a printer-friendly version of this news release on the Governor’s website.

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today launched Vax for the Win,” a new multi-faceted vaccine incentive program designed to motivate Californians to get their vaccination leading up to the state’s reopening on June 15. The incentives aim to give an extra nudge to those who still need to get vaccinated against COVID-19, especially those in hard-to-reach communities, while also thanking everyone who has already been vaccinated.

“Getting every eligible Californian vaccinated is how we bring our state roaring back from this pandemic,” said Governor Newsom. “California has already made incredible progress in the fight against COVID-19, with the lowest case rates in the country, while administering millions more vaccines than any other state. But we aren’t stopping there, we’re doing everything it takes to get Californians vaccinated as we approach June 15 to help us fully reopen safely.”

More than 62.8 percent of Californians aged 12+ are at least partially vaccinated, but an estimated 12 million people who are eligible still have not gotten a vaccine to protect their health and the well-being of their communities.

“Some Californians weren’t ready to get their COVID-19 vaccine on day one, and that’s okay. This program is designed to encourage those who need extra support to get vaccinated and help keep California safe,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer. “The State will work closely with our partners at local health departments and community-based organizations to ensure the program reaches families living in communities with the lowest vaccination rates, who might face language barriers and other obstacles.”

All Californians aged 12+ who are at least partially vaccinated are automatically eligible for the cash prize drawings taking place in June. Thirty winners in total will be selected for the “$50,000 Fridays” cash prize drawings on June 4 and June 11, totaling $1.5 million. On June 15, $1.5 million will be awarded to 10 lucky Californians – for a grand total of $15 million in cash prizes. Winners must complete their vaccination in order to claim their prize. If someone under 18 wins, the cash will be put in a savings account for them until they turn 18.

Beginning on May 27, the next two million people who begin and complete their COVID-19 vaccination will automatically be eligible to receive a $50 prepaid or grocery card, worth a total of $100 million. It gives them the option to select from a $50 Virtual Prepaid Card (which can be spent online, in-store where major debit cards are accepted, or added to a mobile wallet to be used to shop in stores that accept mobile wallets), or a $50 grocery gift card from Kroger (which includes Ralphs, Food 4 Less and Foods Co.) or Albertsons (which includes Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Andronico’s Community Markets), while supplies last. Californians will receive a text message with an electronic prepaid card redemption code sent to their mobile phone or email address 7-10 days after their two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson and Johnson. An incentive card will be held for those who start their vaccination at the launch of the program. Those who do not have a mobile phone or email address can receive a physical card by calling 1-833-993-3873, 7-10 days after receiving their final dose. Those without a permanent address can also call to coordinate delivery.

For more information, visit COVID19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win. To schedule an appointment to be vaccinated, visit MyTurn.ca.gov or call the CA COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255.

 

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A look back at a life-changing experience for this Northern California man who survived COVID-19 last year. Paul Cantelli shares his story and reflects on recovering from COVID-19 with the support of health care professionals. Many licensees under the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) played a role in his recovery. Watch as Paul Cantelli tells his story.

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BPPE Logo

On May 24, 2021, The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer appointed Melanie Delgado to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) Advisory Committee. Delgado will serve on the committee in the consumer advocate role, which is designated by statute.

We are excited to welcome Melanie Delgado as the newest member of the BPPE Advisory Committee,” said Director Kirchmeyer. “Consumer protection is the top priority for BPPE and the consumer advocate role is instrumental in representing student voices. Delgado’s experience and skills in advocacy are well-suited to further California’s consumer protection efforts.”

Delgado currently serves as senior staff attorney and director of Transition Age Youth Projects at the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law. Since 2006, she has conducted research, writing, and engaged in state and federal policy advocacy in the areas of transition age youth, foster youth, homeless youth, and commercially sexually exploited children. Delgado earned her law and bachelor of arts degrees from the University of San Diego.

The Advisory Committee examines the oversight functions and operational policies of the Bureau and advises with respect to matters relating to private postsecondary education. The committee also makes recommendations with respect to policies, practices, and regulations relating to private postsecondary education, and provides assistance as may be requested by the Bureau.

To learn more about BPPE, visit www.bppe.ca.gov.

To view a printer-friendly version of this news release, click here.

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Concerned about creepy-crawlies? Contact a licensed pest professional
A periodical cicada sits on a leaf.

Periodical cicadas like this one are part of the Brood X horde.

It sounds like something straight from a sci-fi movie poster: “Brood X Is Coming: Billions of Cicadas Set to Swarm.” But while the East Coast, South, and Midwest have cause for concern, California is in the clear from this bug-eyed insect horde.

Made up of a combination of cicada species—Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula—Brood X gets its alarming-sounding name from the Roman numeral for “10.” This particular insect group, also known as the less-scary “Great Eastern Brood,” is number 10 of more than a dozen broods of periodical cicadas to emerge every 17 years or so in the United States, primarily east of the Mississippi River.

These periodical cicadas spend almost all of their lives underground in a wingless larval form, feeding on sap from tree roots. What is known is that they emerge when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, but why they only emerge in unison every 17 years remains a major mystery. Once the periodical cicadas emerge, they molt and reach their winged form, mate, then lay their eggs in tree branches. The eggs then hatch after a few weeks, and the larvae drop to the ground and burrow to the roots, beginning the cycle again.

While periodical cicadas damage tree branches when laying their eggs and their molted husks drift across neighborhoods like unseasonable autumn leaves, they are most known for the males’ loud mating calls, which can reach a jackhammer-loud 100 decibels. Nevertheless, although they are noisy, periodical cicadas are definitely not destructive to homes or the environment.

A cicada rests on a large branch.

A California desert cicada rests on a tree branch.

In contrast to this periodical-cicada drama, California cicadas embrace our state’s chill, laid-back lifestyle. While California has more than 60 native cicada species, they emerge fuss-free every spring to molt and make much quieter rasping or clicking mating calls than Brood X types. But just like their Eastern cousins, California cicadas aren’t destructive creatures and do not require pest-control efforts.

However, if you see bugs in or around your home and don’t know what they are or what to do, don’t take matters into your own hands with potentially dangerous or unnecessary pesticides: Contact a licensed professional for assistance. Licensees of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Structural Pest Control Board are trained to help with questions, concerns, and safe and effective pest-control steps to take if needed. To check a professional’s license, visit https://search.dca.ca.gov.

Related Reading: Using Mothballs to Protect Your Sweaters?

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Following FDA Authorization, Federal and State Safety Review Experts Recommend the Vaccine as Safe and Effective at Protecting Young People 12+

Families can visit MyTurn.ca.gov, Call the CA COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255, or Contact Primary Care Doctor to Schedule a Vaccination Appointment 

Editor’s note: this news release was distributed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Click here to view a printer-friendly version of this news release on the CDPH website.

California parents and legal guardians can schedule appointments for young people in their families aged 12+ to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine using the statewide booking system starting Thursday morning.

California Department of Public Health logo

The more Californians who are able to get vaccinated, the better we can protect our communities and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Our efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of Californians are paying off, as we’re now leading the country with over 32 million vaccines administered and some of the lowest positivity rates in the entire country. Having vaccines expanded to teenagers is the next step in California’s path to safely reopening next month.”

This expanded eligibility comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine safety review panel and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup recommended on Wednesday that the vaccine is safe and effective in protecting this age group against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the Pfizer vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization to allow administration for 12- to 15-year-olds, following clinical trials that proved it safe for this age group with only non-serious side effects like fatigue and headache.

“Protection from COVID-19 is available for so many Californians already and now our 12- to 15-year-olds can join others in getting vaccinated,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “Young people have shouldered a significant burden during this pandemic. We look forward to now providing protection for this group to return to activities, especially as we look forward to the state fully reopening on June 15.”

About 2.1 million Californians are in this next eligible age group. California’s vaccine provider network has the capacity to administer about 6.6 million doses a week overall, including 2.5 million doses through providers who service this younger population. That is in addition to the doses available at local pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and other providers who receive allocations from the federal government.

“California is ready to safely deliver vaccines to young people aged 12 and up. We have streamlined the enrollment process to include more clinics and providers that can administer vaccines to this next age group where they can also catch up on other vaccines that may have been missed over the course of this pandemic,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan. “It’s important to remember that young people need protection against the severity and ongoing threat of COVID-19. California has had more than 500 cases of serious health outcomes among young people resulting from this virus, and cases are increasing among younger Americans and Californians who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated. I am grateful to be able to protect my own teenagers now.”

The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses taken three weeks (21 days) apart. It has already been safely administered to millions of California adults, including more than 30 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds.

Pfizer was the first vaccine manufacturer to submit clinical trial data on the 12-15 age group to the FDA for authorization. Moderna is expected to submit trial data for the same authorization in the coming months. Johnson & Johnson is currently conducting clinical trials for the 12-17 age group.

Clinical trials and approvals of vaccines commonly begin with older, more vulnerable populations and then extend to younger ages. Pfizer and Moderna have ongoing clinical trials in people younger than 12. Depending on the outcome of those trials, authorization for this next age group could happen later this year.

Vaccinate All 58 logo

Parents, legal guardians or emancipated young people can check vaccine availability and book an appointment at MyTurn.ca.gov or by calling California’s COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255. They can also contact their family doctor, local community health clinic or public health office for more information.

Please visit covid19.ca.gov for answers to questions on vaccinations for the 12+ age group. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit VaccinateALL58.com.

 WESTERN STATES SCIENTIFIC SAFETY REVIEW WORKGROUP STATEMENT

May 12, 2021

To: Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State

  • Governor Gavin Newsom, California
  • Governor Steve Sisolak, Nevada
  • Governor Kate Brown, Oregon
  • Governor Jay Inslee, Washington

From: Arthur Reingold, MD, Chair

Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, after a thorough review of the evidence from the clinical trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those 12-15 years of age, concludes the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and supports its use. Expanding COVID-19 vaccination to anyone 12 years of age and above will both protect those who are vaccinated and contribute to control of the COVID-19 pandemic in our states.

Respectfully submitted,

Members of the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup:

  • Arthur Reingold, MD, Chair, UC Berkeley School of Public Health

California Members:

  • Tomás J. Aragón, MD, DrPH, California Department of Public Health and State Health Officer
  • Eric Goosby, MD, UCSF School of Medicine
  • Rodney Hood, MD, UC San Diego Alumnus and National Medical Association
  • Nicola Klein, MD, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente Northern California
  • Grace M. Lee, MD, MPH, Stanford Children’s Health and Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Bonnie Maldonado, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Children’s Health
  • Mark H. Sawyer, MD, UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital
  • Robert Schechter, MD, California Department of Public Health
  • Peter G. Szilagyi, MD, MPH, UCLA Health and David Geffen School of Medicine
  • Matt Zahn, MD, Orange County Health Care Agency

Nevada Members:

  • Ihsan Azzam, MD, Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer, State of Nevada
  • Karissa Loper, MPH, Health Bureau Chief, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services

Oregon Members:

  • Laura Byerly, MD, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center
  • Louis J. Picker, MD, OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute

Washington Members:

  • John Dunn, MD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Washington
  • Edgar K. Marcuse, MD, MPH, University of Washington School of Medicine

###

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Turn it down and contact a licensed professional for assistance

A bassist and guitarist play onstage.

A movie chronicling a rock drummer’s hearing loss netted a pair of Academy Awards, but the situation facing fictional character Ruben Stone in “Sound of Metal” can be all too true for both musicians and music lovers alike.

As outlined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the inner part of the ear contains tiny and delicate hair cells (nerve endings) that change sound into electric signals. Nerves then carry these signals on to the brain, which recognizes them as sound. However, these hair cells are easily damaged by loud noise: While normal conversation is about 40 decibels loud, headphones at maximum volume are 105 decibels and a rock concert can run as high as 140 decibels—as loud as a jet engine. So it’s no wonder that those frequently performing in or attending concerts, working in music venues, or enjoying loud music can have negative hearing impacts.

Those experiencing music-related hearing loss are far from alone. Famous artists experiencing major hearing loss or significant dysfunction directly resulting from loud music include:

  • Who guitarist Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey.
  • AC/DC singer Brian Johnson.
  • Singer Ozzy Osbourne.
  • Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis.
  • Singer and guitarist Eric Clapton.
  • Electronica artist Moby.
  • Coldplay singer Chris Martin.

Many of these and other musical artists have had their careers directly impacted by their hearing conditions. For instance, AC/DC singer Brian Johnson’s hearing loss became so severe he had to go on hiatus when he had trouble simply hearing the band play, and when Oingo Boingo’s Danny Elfman began losing his hearing as a result of his band’s live shows, he turned to the quieter world of music composition.

Prevention can make a big difference in hearing health. According to the Library of Medicine, when going to or giving a concert, use foam or silicone earplugs or custom-fit musician earplugs. In addition, when listening to tunes, decrease the amount of time you use headphones and turn down the volume to the halfway point of your equipment.

But if, like these artists, you feel your hearing may have been impacted by loud music, the Library of Medicine says it’s time to seek professional help if:

  • Some sounds seem louder than they should be.
  • It is easier to hear men’s voices than women’s voices.
  • You have trouble telling high-pitched sounds (such as “s” or “th”) from one another.
  • Other people’s voices sound mumbled or slurred.
  • You need to turn the television or radio up or down.
  • You have ringing or a full feeling in your ears.

Professionals licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board are specially trained to help with numerous issues affecting hearing and speech. To learn more about these licensed professionals and their services, visit www.speechandhearing.ca.gov; to check a professional’s license, visit https://search.dca.ca.gov.

Related Reading: All About Audiologists

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Conserve resources, cut costs, and contact a licensed professional for help

The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water each day at home. Here are simple water-savings tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

A woman fixes a link under a household sink.FIX THOSE LEAKS

EPA says home water leaks can make up 12% of household water use a day, equaling nearly 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year. Don’t waste water with needless leaks—hunt them down and tackle them today:

  • Take a look at your water usage during a colder month, such as January or February. If a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, there are serious leaks.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.
  • Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Be sure to flush immediately after the experiment to avoid staining the tank.)
  • Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks.

A person washes dishes in a plugged sink.SAVE IN THE BATHROOM, KITCHEN, AND LAUNDRY

In the bathroom, where over half of all water use inside a home takes place:

  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Showers use less water than baths, as long as you keep an eye on how long you’ve been lathering up. EPA even has tips on how to shower better.

In the kitchen, whip up a big batch of water savings:

  • Plug up the sink or use a wash basin if washing dishes by hand.
  • Use a dishwasher—and when you do, make sure it’s fully loaded.
  • Scrape your plate instead of rinsing it before loading it into the dishwasher.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator overnight rather than using a running tap of hot water.
  • Add food waste to a compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal.

Be clean and green in the laundry room:

  • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • Save money on energy bills by setting your washing machine to use cold water instead of hot or warm water.

A man washes his car with a sponge and bucket.REDUCE OUTDOOR USE

Of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by U.S. households, nearly nine billion gallons, or 30%, is devoted to outdoor water use. In the hot summer months or in dry climates, a household’s outdoor water use can be as high as 70%.

In the yard, be beautiful and efficient:

  • Create a water-smart landscape that’s low on resources but high on curb appeal.
  • Know when and how much to water to keep your landscape growing strong.
  • Anytime’s a good time to check that your irrigation system is in proper working order.
  • Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off.
  • Wash cars with water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Keep swimming pools covered when not in use to reduce evaporation.

If you’re planning to work with a professional for home improvements, check the license at https://search.dca.ca.gov.

Related Reading: World Toilet Day Recognizes Clean Water, Sanitation, and Safety; Keep Your Lawn Green While Thinking Green With Rainwater Collection; Fire-Resistant Landscaping: Tough and Beautiful

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