Santa Barbara County is reporting an average of 22 new COVID-19 cases per day, and the region is still classified as having low transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s metric.

As of Tuesday, 20 patients in county hospitals tested positive for COVID-19, including two patients in intensive-care units.

Most recent COVID-19-positive patients have been admitted for something else and concurrently tested positive, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons said last week.

Pfizer reported this week that the bivalent booster vaccines are up to 13.2 times as effective in protecting against the Omicron variant as the original booster doses, according to news reports.

“Pfizer reports that one month after getting its new bivalent booster, trial participants ages 55 and older had antibody levels almost four times as high as those who received the original booster. But the test group was small, involving just 76 adults, and it’s unclear what effect the vaccine will have on a possible winter surge,” Kaiser Health News reported.

“When someone gets any vaccine, it can take a few weeks to build up immunity and generate its full protection,” Jen Christensen of CNN wrote. “The data showed that a month after study participants got the new booster, Omicron BA.4/BA.5 neutralizing antibodies increased 13.2 fold from pre-booster levels for the adults 55 and older, compared with a 2.9 fold increase in older adults who got the original vaccine. For adults ages 18 to 55, neutralizing antibodies were 9.5 fold higher than pre-booster levels.”

California Department of Public Health data continue to show that people who are unvaccinated report a higher rate of becoming infected, becoming hospitalized and dying of COVID-19 compared to fully vaccinated people.

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Noozhawk staff writer Grace Kitayama can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.