[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 

» Last week, Santa Barbara County passed 600 deaths due to COVID-19. As of Tuesday, the death toll is 606.

» The Food & Drug Administration fully approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Monday for individuals age 18 and older — making it the second fully approved vaccine after the Pfizer version. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has emergency use authorization from the FDA.

» COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county have been decreasing significantly, indicating “we may have passed the peak” for the surge in cases and hospitalizations, according to Santa Barbara County Public Health Department officials.

» On Tuesday, 380 new cases and 116 coronavirus-positive hospitalizations were reported. One week earlier, the county reported 837 new daily cases and 146 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

» Public Health Department officials extended the order requiring masks to be worn indoors in public spaces, regardless of individuals’ vaccination status, through March 3.

Decrease in Cases, Hospitalizations

In the week ending Tuesday, 4,828 new coronavirus cases were reported throughout the county, down from 7,080 cases the week before. In addition, 16 deaths were reported in the latest period.

(Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk illustration)

The Public Health Department data dashboard shows the number of new cases declining for all regions of Santa Barbara County.

The number of coronavirus-positive hospital patients has significantly declined in the past week.

Read my Monday story: Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Show Significant Decline.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

As of Monday, 70.6% of eligible Santa Barbara County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 79% of those eligible have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

(Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk illustration)

About 66.4% of all county residents, including children under 5 who are not yet eligible, have been fully vaccinated. County providers have administered a total of 755,508 doses of the vaccines, including 142,707 booster doses.

Got Questions?

Readers have sent us scores of questions about COVID-19, vaccination, in-person school, and other 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 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 and the county’s COVID-19 recovery page, with resources for business reopening, rental assistance, food assistance and more.

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

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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.