This week, COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County hit an all-time low for the past six months.
In the county’s final regularly scheduled COVID-19 virtual press conference, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county public health director, announced that the county had a total of 38 new cases this week.
“That is amazing,” Dr. Do-Reynoso told reporters Friday. “While this is very encouraging, we have to pause and acknowledge that nearly one in three community members who are over 12 years of age are not yet vaccinated.”
She said 68.9% of the eligible population in Santa Barbara County has received its first vaccine dose. The director also shared the percentages of vaccinated individuals according to age group, with the highest percentage of vaccinated individuals in the 75-plus and 50-to-64 age groups and the lowest percentage in the 12-to-15 and 16-to-29 groups.
In addition, the highest percentage of vaccinated individuals according to ethnicity is among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and the lowest is among American Indian/Native Alaskan.
“You can see that (with) vaccinations by race and ethnicity, we do have some groups lagging,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
The county recently launched an online platform that provides optional digital vaccine records for those who are vaccinated. To create an account and access a digital vaccine record, visit myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.
The county’s public health officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg, is encouraging unvaccinated people to get their shots.
“We now see that almost all patients who are requiring hospital care and ICU admissions are unvaccinated people,” he told reporters Friday.
“In Santa Barbara County, we currently still have 12 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and three in the ICU fighting for their lives,” Dr. Ansorg said. “None of these patients were vaccinated.”
While this was the final regularly scheduled press conference, the public health officials said they will continue to provide updates on the county website through media and social media, weekly reports via email to subscribers and reports to the County Board of Supervisors.
“When we had our first press conference on March 12, 2020, we really had no idea what was to come,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said. “Over the past 15 months, it has taken a whole team of people to bring you 88 press conferences.”
In addition, they reminded viewers that in the event of more outbreaks or a certain variant gaining momentum, the county will “again implement necessary measures to prevent its spread,” according to Dr. Ansorg.
Santa Barbara County reported three new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 34,596, with 34,106 recovered, 455 deaths and 35 still active in the region.
One of the cases came from the Santa Ynez Valley. The other two cases were reported in the North County areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe.
Under the state’s new guidelines that took effect Tuesday:
Fully vaccinated individuals can go maskless in most settings — excluding public transit, indoors in schools and childcare facilities, health care settings, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals will still be required to wear masks in all indoor public settings.
Businesses can choose one of three options: Make masks optional for vaccinated patrons and allow customers to self-attest their vaccination status; create a vaccine verification system; or require all customers to wear masks.
The state has disbanded all capacity and social distancing restrictions. Vaccinated people, meanwhile, can access a digital record of their shots. To do so, visit myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.