President Joe Biden announced Thursday he is directing all states to make all adults eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.
“That’s much earlier than expected,” Mr. Biden said in his first primetime address since taking office. “And let me be clear: That doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1.”
The president, in giving remarks from the East Room at the White House, reflected on the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and said the only way “to get our lives back, to get our economy back on track, is to beat the virus.”
He affirmed that the United States would have enough vaccine supply for everyone over the age of 18 by the end of May, and also said that his administration is on track to reach 100 million vaccines administered by his 60th day in office. His previous goal was to reach that mark in his first 100 days as president.
Looking ahead, Mr. Biden said that the country could be on track to celebrate the Fourth of July in small groups.
“After this long, hard year, that will make this Independence Day something truly special,” he said. “Where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus. To get there, we can’t let our guard down. This fight is far from over.”
The president gave his remarks as COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Santa Barbara County. The county Public Health Department confirmed 47 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, which brings the county’s total to 32,519 cases. Officials deem 245 cases still infectious.
Public Health also recorded one death in which COVID-19 was listed as a significant condition or cause of death. The deceased was at least 70 years of age, had underlying health conditions and resided in the Lompoc area.
A total of 426 Santa Barbara County residents have been recorded as a COVID-19 death.
Santa Maria detected the most cases Thursday, with 20 cases. It has a total of 10,961 cases, and 72 cases are active.
Santa Barbara reported seven cases, increasing its total to 6,096 cases of which 60 are still infectious.
Lompoc confirmed six cases. It has a cumulative 3,410 cases, and 24 cases are active.
The following areas also confirmed daily cases: the South County area containing Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, four cases (1,306 total, 12 active); Goleta, two cases (1,693 total, 28 active); the Santa Ynez Valley, two cases (968 total, seven active); Orcutt, two cases (1,718 total, 14 active); Isla Vista, one case (1,248 total, nine active); the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota, one case (1,123 total, nine active).
The geographic locations of two daily cases are pending.
Santa Barbara County hospitals are treating 48 patients with COVID-19, and 13 patients are in critical care.
Thursday, 38.5% of the county’s ICU beds were available.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is treating 185 acute-care patients, and 15 patients are in isolation with COVID-19. Of those, six are in critical care.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital had a third of its ICU beds available Thursday, and a total of 88 adult ventilators and 13 neonatal ventilators are available.
News-Press Staff Writer Annelise Hanshaw contributed to this report.