Santa Barbara County Public Health officials reported a downward trend in COVID-19 cases Friday, expressing hope that Santa Barbara County could move into the orange tier within the next two weeks.
During a press conference Friday, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, public health director, said the county has a seven-day average of 25 new cases per day. The county must stay below 28 cases per day to qualify for the orange tier criteria.
The county will likely meet the first week of orange tier criteria this coming Tuesday, and Dr. Do-Reynoso said this is “really good news.”
To officially move into the orange tier, the county must meet the criteria for two consecutive weeks. If current trends remain steady, officials project the county could officially shift tiers by April 20.
As vaccine efforts are ramping up in the county, officials reported that nearly 117,800 people have received their first vaccine dose, more than 63,100 have received the second dose and 5,956 people received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at county vaccine clinics. These totals do not include individuals vaccinated at participating pharmacies.
Vaccine appointments at the county’s Santa Barbara clinic site have been completely filled for next week, but Dr. Do-Reynoso said appointment slots for the vaccine distribution in Santa Maria will open on Monday. In addition, on Thursday, participating pharmacies will open vaccine appointments for all Californians ages 16 and older.
The county will also transition to using MyTurn on Monday, which is a tool created by the state to find available vaccine slots. For more information, visit myturn.ca.gov.
On Friday, vaccine sites in North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Iowa briefly paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after multiple people faced “adverse effects,” according to media reports. However, Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, said these types of reactions are rare and not seen across the spectrum when people receive the vaccine.
“To my knowledge, (the adverse effects) are at particular sites and not across the spectrum with people getting J&J vaccine,” Dr. Ansorg said during Friday’s conference. “We will have given 4,000 of the J&J vaccines this week, and we had one well-managed reaction after vaccination. The person is doing well. It’s not anticipated to be a widespread problem with (the) J&J vaccine.”
The county Public Health Department also reported 119 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths on Friday. The department noted that 65 of the new cases were backlogged from January 2021 and are now being reported “due to reconciliation at the state level.”
Officials reported 62 new cases in Santa Maria, 18 cases in Lompoc, 12 cases in Orcutt and 10 cases in Santa Barbara. All other areas reported fewer than five new cases.
Both the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota and the federal prison complex in Lompoc reported no new cases on Friday.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reported two active cases in the county jail Friday, bringing the Main Jail’s case total to 217 cases total throughout the entire pandemic.