[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 for free every Wednesday to anyone who subscribes.
This is what we know
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department extended its mandate for indoor masks through Dec. 4. Currently, the benchmark to end the indoor mask mandate is a case rate of less than 6 cases per 100,000 people in the province for two weeks. This is equivalent to 27 cases per day for two weeks. At the end of October, the rate was 9.5 per 100,000 people.
» The Sheriff’s Department has reported a new COVID-19 outbreak at the main prison. On November 5, seven inmates tested positive.
» Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines are now available nationwide for children ages 5-11.
The Department of Health held its first pediatric vaccine clinic at Kermit McKenzie Intermediate School in Guadalupe on Monday. Appointments for pediatric vaccines can also be made through health care providers and pharmacies. For more information about providers, visit publichealthsbc.org/vaccine.
A presentation from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department shows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s thresholds for measuring community transmission of COVID-19.
» In the two weeks ending Tuesday, 745 COVID-19 cases were reported in the province. This is a decrease from the previous two weeks, when there were 767 cases.
» Eight coronavirus-related deaths were reported in the two weeks ending Tuesday, a slight increase from the previous two weeks with seven deaths. The county’s cumulative death toll from COVID-19 as of Tuesday is 528.
Vaccine clinics for children under 12 years old
With Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine now approved for children ages 5 to 11, several pediatric vaccine clinics are planned throughout Santa Barbara County.
The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for this age group is one-third the adult dose, with 10 micrograms of mRNA instead of the 30 micrograms in the vaccine given to individuals 12 years of age and older. Therefore, the following vaccine clinics only provide pediatric vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 years.
A pediatric vaccine clinic will be held on Saturday at Cuyama Elementary School, 2300 Highway 166, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Another pediatric vaccine clinic will be held Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Mary Buren Elementary School, 1050 Peralta St. in Guadalupe.
Beginning Wednesday, the Boys & Girls Club of Mid Central Coast hosts free pediatric vaccine clinics at the Santa Maria Clubhouse, 901 N. Railroad Ave every Wednesday and Friday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. They will be held weekly through January.
Also starting this week, the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, 1515 E. Ocean Ave., will host vaccine clinics every Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. especially for children ages 5 to 11.
The Lompoc Valley Medical Center also holds vaccination clinics for individuals 12 years of age and older from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM on Thursdays and from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM and from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM on Fridays. Both clinics will take place weekly until further notice.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Plateau
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 37 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, with 13 of those patients treated in intensive care units.
Last year around this time, Santa Barbara County saw nine to 15 hospitalizations a day.
Department director Van Do-Reynoso said at the Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 9 that the number of hospital admissions has been “very small declines” over the past two months, with only 5% fewer hospitalizations in the past two weeks.
“It is critical to secure our hospital capacity, especially now during the winter months as we will historically see an increase in hospital admissions due to respiratory illnesses,” Do-Reynoso said.
“We are concerned if we see an increase in the number of cases, because we can invariably anticipate an increase in hospitalizations within two or three weeks.”
Do-Reynoso also said that of the 611 COVID-19 hospitalizations from May to October, 81% of patients had not been vaccinated. In October alone, there were 113 hospitalizations, of which 82 were unvaccinated patients.
“The rate of unvaccinated cases is unacceptably high at 18.3 per 100,000,” she said. “That’s why vaccination is so important.”
COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
The public health department said 60.8% of all Santa Barbara County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Nearly 65% of eligible provincial residents have been fully vaccinated. Currently, this statistic only includes individuals aged 12 and over.
Director of the Public Health Department Van Do-Reynoso said the age group 5-11 will be added to calculations for the “eligibility group” from Wednesday.
This will add approximately 41,638 county residents.
As of Tuesday, 596,098 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the province.
Do you have questions?
Readers sent us dozens of questions about COVID-19, vaccination, business reopening rules, personal school, and other pandemic issues. Send yours to [email protected] and we’ll try to include them in future newsletters and Noozhawk Q&As.
Watch the latest Covid-19 briefing in the province
The Nov. 9 COVID-19 briefing for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors includes updates from Department of Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso.
Click here to watch the briefing on the province’s YouTube page.
Resources for Readers
» Find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you with the Vaccine Finder search from https://www.vaccines.gov/search/. You can search providers by location and by specific vaccine available (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). You can also find providers on the provincial website, publichealthsbc.org/vaccine, or at myturn.ca.gov. Some facilities offer both walk-ups and 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 throughout the province.
» Find more local pandemic-related information on the Department of Public Health website and the county’s COVID-19 recovery page, which includes resources for business reopening, rent assistance, food aid, and more.
» Click here for full coverage of Noozhawk’s Coronavirus crisis.
Help support Noozhawk today
Our team has worked hard to build Noozhawk into the trusted local news platform it is today. We are an essential part of this community.
We’re excited about what we’re doing, but we need your help to continue providing you with the in-depth local coverage you rely on.
Your paid membership to our Hawks Club ensures that we can continue to deliver the news you need and want 24/7. Will you help us today by making a financial commitment?
Click here to make an online donation.
Thank you for your support.
PS — Contributions to Noozhawk are not tax deductible. Checks can be mailed to Noozhawk, PO Box 101, Santa Barbara 93102. Please include your email address so we can contact you.