A week after small businesses were up in arms due to the Small Business Administration indicating it was out of money to continue the Paycheck Protection Program due to running out of funds, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to inject $310 billion back into the program.
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-24, sent a note to his Central Coast constituents to break down the bill and what it means for small businesses:
- Adds $310 billion to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and sets aside billions in funding specifically for small and medium banks and community lenders to ensure that those in our communities who need the funding receive it.
- Includes $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funding for small businesses. This infusion of money will allow for more than $350 billion in disaster loans for small businesses. On top of that, this bill provides an additional $10 billion in disaster grants.
- Allots $75 billion to add assistance and resources to health centers and hospitals working on the frontlines of this crisis, including more personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.
- Dedicates $25 billion to increased testing and contact tracing to stop the spread of the virus and set us on a path to safely reopen our economy. The administration has also agreed to creating a national testing plan that will focus on increasing our nation’s capacity to test and ensuring we have enough testing supplies.
According to Rep. Carbajal, a next phase is already under discussion.
“In the next phase of relief legislation, we are focused on providing more funding for state and local governments on the front lines of this crisis. Communities like ours desperately need an infusion of funds to pay the workers who keep us safe. We will also be looking ahead to ensure our communities have the tools to keep slowing the spread and re-open as soon as we are able to do so safely,” Rep. Carbajal said.
Santa Barbara County, by the numbers
In a dramatic overnight update, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department deemed 63 people having moved from recovering to fully recovered from bouts of COVID-19, putting more cases in the rearview mirror than ones that are active for the first time.
There are now 257 fully recovered, while 189 remain in recovery, including 39 in the hospital, with 13 of those in the intensive care unit. The latter number did grow by one overnight.
The number of healthcare workers having tested positive for COVID-19 grew to 57, while Santa Barbara saw more cases revealed on Thursday with five than it had seen over the past week combined.
It is unclear how many healthcare workers have recovered at this point, nor the area that they were working in at the time of infection, with public health officials citing privacy laws for not being able to give out that information.
The number from the outbreak at the Lompoc federal prison grew by two and now sits at 101.
COVID-19, by the numbers
A look at the nationwide and worldwide update through Thursday:
- In the United States, there are now 886,709 confirmed cases, with 50,243 deaths and 85,922 fully recovered.
- Worldwide, there are 2,709,408 confirmed cases, with only one other country outside the U.S. to be over 200,000 cases, with Spain reporting 213,024 confirmed cases. There are 190,861 deaths and 738,490 fully recovered.
Cottage Health partners with Vitalant to collect blood plasma
Cottage Health unveiled a new partnership Thursday, indicating that it will work with Vitalant in Santa Barbara to acquire blood plasma from those that have recovered from COVID-19.
According to the news release, it is known as “convalescent plasma,” and “this blood component contains antibodies that may give hospital patients an extra boost in their recovery.”
According to Cottage, three patients “have received convalescent plasma transfusion as part of this emergency investigational new drug research.”
“Convalescent plasma is an exciting option for patients, especially as we struggle to find effective medications for those with severe COVID-19,” said Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons, Chair of Division of Infectious Disease, Medical Education Director of Quality and Research, and Chair of the Institutional Review Board at Cottage Health.
“With this treatment, we hope to harness the wisdom of the immune system from those who have successfully beaten this disease, and use this wisdom, in the form of antibodies, to help the next patient suffering from this infection. I’m so grateful for the kindness of our wonderful donors, who in the wake of their own illness are offering to help those currently experiencing the severe forms of this disease.”
Vitalant is looking for plasma donors, indicating the following criteria:
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test
- Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days
- Meet all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma
Cottage Health also offered an update on its numbers through Thursday:
- Cottage Health is caring for a total of 195 patients across all campuses.
- 145 are acute care patients; 228 acute care beds remain available.
- Of the 145 patients, 9 patients are on ventilators; 59 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators)
- Of the 145 patients, 22 are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms; 8 are confirmed COVID-19 positive.
- Of 22 patients in isolation, 8 patients are in critical care.
- Cottage has collected 2,634 cumulative test samples: 186 resulted in positive, 2,254 resulted in negative, and 194 are pending. In most of these tests, patients did not require hospital admission.