Appointments open Monday for certain residents in Phase 1B
First-dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments will be available starting Monday for certain residents in the county’s Phase 1B, and additional special vaccine clinics are planned for others in this phase next week.
Starting Monday, appointments will be available to Santa Barbara County residents that are emergency services workers, grocery workers, and Phase 1A health care workers. Additional outreach for separate clinics for educators and childcare, and the agricultural and food industry are also taking place at clinics next week.
According to health officials, approximately 2,800 total first-dose appointments will be available at vaccination sites in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.
Starting Monday morning, eligible residents that are in emergency services, grocery and Phase 1A health care workers can schedule an appointment at https://publichealthsbc.org/covid-19-vaccine-appointment-registration/.
Appointments will only be available beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, officials said.
Those who are eligible and need assistance with appointment registration can call 211 and select option 4. The call center is available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
The county will also be holding vaccination clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday for food bank and grocery workers and emergency services employees.
On Thursday, priority groups in TK through 12 will be vaccinated by Lompoc Valley Medical Center. Additional clinics are being planned for the other sectors and additional details are expected to be released next week.
At least 1,000 vaccines have been dedicated to childcare and education workers, said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, director of the county Public Health Department.
With vaccine supply still limited, she urged patience as the county continues its vaccination rollout.
The county Public Health Department is continuing to vaccinate residents in the Phase 1A, which includes frontline health care workers and residents over 75. Vaccination efforts are also continuing for residents between 65 and 74.
The county, in following state guidance, will be allocating 70% of its vaccine allocation to health care providers for those age 65 and up. Public Health will keep 30% for community clinics for the eligible sectors.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, health officer for the county Public Health Department, discussed the importance of continued adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines, such as social distancing, mask wearing and limiting large gatherings. He went on to explain the purpose of the current vaccines being offered.
“The vaccination is meant to prevent death and severe illness, for right now, but it will not stop the pandemic at this point unless we have 90% of people getting vaccinated,” he said. “The vaccines are protecting the most vulnerable of us, mainly the elderly, from getting seriously ill. However, at our current level, unless the 13 to 16 year olds mainly, start or continue with social distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing masks, that’s how we can stop the pandemic.”
Dr. Ansorg was asked about the county’s plan to vaccinate elderly residents rather than younger people who are more active, and said that the county had to cut down on the number of deaths and severe illnesses.
“If you want to avoid that, you have to vaccinate the most vulnerable first,” Dr. Ansorg said.
Emergency-use authorization may be granted early next week for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the state anticipates getting 380,000 initial doses, which would then be distributed to the county. It was unclear approximately how many J&J vaccines the county would be allotted.
The state’s uniform vaccine distribution system, operated by Blue Shield of California, was initially slated to begin on Monday, but is now likely to be in place by the end of the month, Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
Until then, the county Public Health Department will continue to vaccinate the community, and Dr. Do-Reynoso said the county’s supply chain “has not faltered.”
Bob Nelson, chair of the board of supervisors and 4th District supervisor, was part of Friday’s press conference to discuss the resumption of youth and adult sports. The county remains in the purple tier and is not permitted to begin sports due to the current guidelines, though Mr. Nelson shared that “there is hope on the horizon” for local youth and high school athletes.
“This could not come at a better time,” he said. “We are seeing escalating suicide rates nationwide and a mental health crisis event among our youth, and it is essential to get back to athletics not only for the physical health, but the mental health of our children and our future leaders.”
The county’s current adjusted case rate is 16.9 per 100,000, and needs to be below 14 per 100,000 to resume sports.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported two additional COVID-related deaths on Friday. Both were over the age of 70 and had underlying health conditions. Neither death was associated with an outbreak at a congregate care facility.
One individual resided in the city of Santa Barbara, and the other in the Lompoc area, officials said.
The county has now reported 409 deaths associated with the virus, as well as a total of 31,876 cases.
A total of 104 new cases were reported on Friday, including 30 in the city of Santa Maria (10,743 total, 113 active).
The city of Santa Barbara reported 19 cases on Friday and has now reported a total of 5,908 cases, 86 of which remain active.
Orcutt reported 16 new cases (1,680 total, 20 active), and Lompoc reported 12 new cases (3,333 total, 46 active).
Other daily cases reported Friday included: Unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota, four new cases (1,099 total, 19 active); Santa Ynez Valley, four new cases (943 total, 11 active); Unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama, and the city of Guadalupe, four new cases (1,228 total, eight active); Goleta, two new cases (1,640 total, 20 active); and the South County Unincorporated area including the communities of Montecito, Summerland and the city of Carpinteria, two new cases (1,272 total, 11 active).
No new cases were reported at the federal prison complex in Lompoc. The geographic region for 11 cases was pending on Friday.
A total of 76 people are receiving treatment at local hospitals, including 18 in the Intensive Care Unit. The county’s ICU availability was 25% as of Friday.