SB County Public Health operates testing sites; new jury trials suspended
Hospitalizations in the U.S. reached a record high Monday as the omicron variant spreads rapidly across the nation.
More than 132,646 people were in the hospital Monday. This surpassed the record of 132,051 set in January of last year.
According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, this number currently is more than 141,000.
It is unclear whether all of these hospitalizations are due to COVID-19-related symptoms or if people tested positive for COVID-19 after being admitted for other reasons.
Hospitalizations have increased since December when omicron overtook delta as the dominant variant.
In the past two weeks, hospitalizations have doubled.
According to a Reuters analysis, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., have reported record levels of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
While the strain has the potential to be less severe, officials are concerned with the effects these numbers have on hospital staff.
Around a quarter of hospitals are reporting critical staffing shortages.
As the omicron variant spreads, the impact is being felt nationally and locally.
In Santa Barbara County, new jury trials were suspended as of Monday. Last week the city of Goleta announced that City Hall’s usual counter service would be conducted by phone, email or online.
And the county Public Health Department is emphasizing COVID-19 vaccinations and a variety of testing options.
The testing sites are a trailer at the campus that includes the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, 267 Camino del Remedio, Santa Barbara; a mini-bus outside Direct Relief, 6100 Wallace Becknell Road, Goleta; a testing trailer at the Lompoc Health Care Center, 301 N. R St., Lompoc; and the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 Thornburg St., Santa Maria.
For the days and hours, go to publichealthsbc.org/testing.
All COVID-19 testing sites require an appointment.
At-home COVID-19 tests are no longer available at Public Health Department Care Centers. The health department will announce when more at-home COVID-19 tests become available.
The Public Health Department told the News-Press it is working closely with state and federal partners to procure more testing options. This includes expanded testing capacity at existing sites and more at-home rapid test kits.
According to the Public Health Department, any testing site closures are planned far in advance based on utilization and outlook.