[Editor’s note: Noozhawk recently launched a weekly COVID-19 email newsletter that 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.]
I’m Brooke Holland, a Noozhawk staff writer.
This is Noozhawk’s second email newsletter dedicated to Santa Barbara County’s latest COVID-19 updates. Much has happened over the past week, and here’s our roundup of everything coronavirus-related in the county.
This newsletter is emailed out every Wednesday, for free, to everyone who subscribes.
Click here to read more about our plans for the newsletter and how you can help us make it helpful, informative and interesting.
Here’s What We Know
» As of April 9, about 45 percent of Santa Barbara County’s residents 16 and older had received at least one COVID-19 dose, according to Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer.
» Santa Barbara County-area vaccine providers have administered more than 260,000 doses so far.
» At the direction of the California Department of Public Health, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced Tuesday that it will pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until further notice. The county said clinics that had planned to use the J&J vaccine this week will use the two-shot Moderna vaccine instead. The decision came after federal agencies announced they are reviewing data involving “six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.” To date, nearly 7 million J&J doses have been administered nationwide.
» The county Public Health Department began its phased rollout of California’s myturn.ca.gov appointment site, which is intended to organize the state’s vaccination efforts.
» The list of local COVID-19 vaccination providers has expanded in Santa Barbara County.
» First-dose clinics will be released via the MyTurn system. People who need a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine will receive an email one week before their second dose due date, according to the county.
» When you return for your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, make sure to bring your printed COVID-19 vaccine card with you.
Who Can Get Vaccinated in Santa Barbara County
Everyone age 16 and older can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments now in Santa Barbara County.
For people younger than 18, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available. People age 16 or 17 are required to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to provide consent at the appointment.
Santa Barbara County is currently in the second-most restrictive red tier of California’s reopening framework, but on track to officially progress into the less-restrictive orange tier next week. The county has remained in the red tier for almost a month.
“We have made significant progress in lowering our local case rate and test positivity,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer.
The graphic below explains California’s color-coded, four-tier COVID-19 system.
Public health officials estimate Santa Barbara County could enter the orange tier as soon as April 20 if the region maintains the low figures, and that means new tier assignment rules would kick in shortly after.
Under the orange tier, restaurants and entertainment venues can expand outdoor and indoor capacity, and restrictions are eased for other industry sectors and indoor activities.
New state guidelines for outdoor and indoor gatherings will go into effect starting Thursday. In the red tier, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed, while that capacity number increases to 50 in the orange tier.
By the Numbers
Twenty-one coronavirus patients were recovering in local hospitals Tuesday, including four in intensive-care units.
The county has averaged slightly more than 23 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations during the past seven days, which is nearly 6 percent less than the week prior, according to data tracking by Noozhawk.
The winter surge in cases resulted in the highest-reported numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in Santa Barbara County.
Once You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated …
More than 21 percent of the county’s population was fully vaccinated as of Monday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose is administered and two weeks after Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.
The CDC provided recommendations for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces,” the agency said.
2-1-1 Call Center Can Help with Scheduling
Santa Barbara County expanded its 2-1-1 call center by staffing more operators who can answer questions about COVID-19 vaccine appointments, testing and other questions related to the public health crisis, according to the Public Health Department.
The call center can be reached at 2-1-1, or at 800.400.1572 for out-of-area cell phone numbers, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call center staff offer services in English, Spanish and Mixteco. The county’s expansion comes after some residents expressed confusion with scheduling online.
Watch the Latest County COVID-19 Briefing
The April 9 virtual briefing includes updates from Santa Barbara County Public Health director Van Do-Reynoso and Dr. Henning Ansorg.
Want to Know More About Variants?
Click here to watch Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons, a Cottage Health infectious disease specialist, discuss the latest information on COVID-19 variants.
(Cottage Health video)
Have Questions about the Vaccines?
Readers have sent us dozens of questions about COVID-19, vaccination, business reopening rules, in-person school and other pandemic-related issues. Please send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to answer them in future newsletters and Noozhawk Q&As.
» Need a second dose? Here’s what you need to know.
» Find more local pandemic-related information on the Public Health Department website and the county’s COVID-19 recovery page, with resources for business reopening, rental assistance, food assistance, and more.
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