[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 Serena Guentz 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 

» According to Santa Barbara County’s weekly COVID-19 summary for Oct. 14-20, the weekly average of reported PCR-confirmed cases declined by 19.23% over the previous seven days.

» One coronavirus-related death was reported last week, with 726 such deaths reported in the county since the beginning of the pandemic.

» Santa Barbara County remains in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s low COVID-19 community level based on new cases and positive hospitalizations.

» In the week ending Oct. 17, the county Public Health Department reported 129 new COVID-19 cases. Officials say the number is underreported since results of rapid antigen home tests generally are not reported.

» As of Monday, there were 23 coronavirus-positive patients hospitalized in the county, with four in intensive-care units, according to the data dashboard.

» Everyone age 5 or older is recommended to get the new bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine, which targets the coronavirus and the Omicron variants. The shots are available at pharmacies and health-care providers, or appointments can be scheduled at https://www.vaccines.gov. Some locations also accept walk-ins.

» Public Health Department officials also recommend that everyone 6 months and older receive the influenza vaccine, “ideally by the end of October” for protection in the winter months when flu cases typically surge. Click here for more information about the seasonal flu.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

According to the California Department of Public Health, about 69.5% of all Santa Barbara County residents have completed the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is slightly lower than the state’s vaccination rate of 72.4%.

Additionally, about 58% of county residents have received both the primary series and a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and about 10.5% of residents have also received the bivalent booster.

As of Oct. 20, Santa Barbara County providers have administered a total of 904,412 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Got Questions?

Readers have sent us dozens of questions about 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

» Find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you on the Vaccine Finder search function of https://www.vaccines.gov/search/. You can search for providers by location and by specific vaccine available (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson). You can also find providers on the county website, publichealthsbc.org/vaccine, or at myturn.ca.gov. Some facilities offer walk-ups as well as appointments.

» Text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) for a list of vaccine providers in English, or text your ZIP code to VACUNA (822862) for a list in Spanish. 

» There are free COVID-19 testing facilities around the county.

» Find more local pandemic-related information on the Public Health Department website.

» Click here for Noozhawk’s complete Coronavirus Crisis coverage.

Help Support Noozhawk Today

Our team has worked hard to build Noozhawk into the trusted local news platform it is today. We are a vital part of this community.

We’re excited about what we do, but we need your help to continue bringing you the thorough local news coverage you rely on.

Your paid membership in our Hawks Club ensures that we can continue to deliver the news you need and want, 24/7. Will you help us by making a financial commitment today?

Click here to make an online donation.

Thank you for your support.

P.S. — Contributions to Noozhawk are not tax-deductible. Checks can be mailed to Noozhawk, P.O. Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. Please include your email address so we can contact you.

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com.