[Editor’s note: Noozhawk’s weekly COVID-19 email newsletter is delivered to subscribers on Wednesdays. You can sign up here. We are republishing the newsletters on the website so more readers have access to them.]

Welcome to Noozhawk’s Weekly COVID-19 Briefing. 

I’m Noozhawk staff writer Grace Kitayama with the latest COVID-19 news in Santa Barbara County.

This newsletter is a way for Noozhawk readers to get important updates in one place. 

It is emailed out every Wednesday, for free, to everyone who subscribes

Here’s What We Know

  • The weekly average of COVID-19 cases decreased by 14% for the week ending Friday compared to the previous week, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. This is likely an underreporting since rapid, at-home antigen tests are often not reported to the county.
  • BQ.1.1 is the dominant strain of coronavirus in California and throughout the southern West Coast.
  • According to the county’s community data dashboard, 229 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the week ending Friday, and one coronavirus-related death was reported. The previous week reported 327 new cases.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 752 Santa Barbara County residents have died of coronavirus-related causes.
  • On Monday, 32 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized in the county, four of them in intensive-care units.
  • Santa Barbara County remains in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s low COVID-19 community level.

FDA Proposes Shift to Annual Booster

The Food & Drug Administration released a proposal this week to offer annual COVID-19 vaccine booster shots that target circulating variants, similar to the strategy used for flu vaccinations.

That strategy could simplify the vaccination process since people would no longer need to count how many months it has been since their last shot to calculate booster eligibility, according to news reports.

The FDA will present the proposal to the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Thursday, according to NPR.

“Under FDA’s proposal, the agency, independent experts and manufacturers would decide annually on which strains to target by the early summer, allowing several months to produce and launch updated shots before the fall,” PBS reported.

“That’s roughly the same approach long used to select the strains for the annual flu shot.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

The California Department of Public Health reports that 69.8% of Santa Barbara County residents have completed the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, 60.8% have also received a booster dose and about 22.7% have received the bivalent booster.

Statewide, 60.9% of residents have received their primary and booster doses of the vaccine. In Santa Barbara County, 59.7% of residents have received their primary and booster doses of the vaccine.

Everyone over the age of 6 months is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Click here for more information on receiving the vaccine or getting a booster dose in Santa Barbara County.

(California Department of Public Health photo)

Got Questions?

Readers have sent us dozens of questions about coronavirus pandemic-related issues. Please send yours to news@noozhawk.com and we’ll try to include them in future newsletters and Noozhawk Q&As.

Reader Resources

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Avatar photo

Grace Kitayama, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Grace Kitayama is a Noozhawk staff writer.