To view the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s Feb. 19 press conference, please click here

Vaccine Update

  • Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD), said that individuals with appointments at vaccination clinics need to bring documents showing their county residency and full names — which should match the name listed for the appointment. Examples of accepted documents include: driver’s license, business card, work ID, library card, a letter from an employer or school, bank/ATM card or bills. The document does not need to be government issued. 
  • SBCPHD has currently administered 93% of its given allotments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Total doses currently stand at 68,250. 42,576 vaccines were given as first doses and 20,832 were given as second doses.
  • The county is currently vaccinating people who fall under the Phase 1A categories: healthcare workers, community health workers, emergency medical personnel, long-term care facility residents and staff, and residents aged 75 and older. SBCPHD just began administering doses to residents aged 65 and older, who are in the Phase 1B category.
  • Current weekly allocations of the vaccine show that 70% are going to people aged 65 and older, and 30% are going to educators/childcare and flood/agriculture/emergency services.
  • On Feb. 18, The Lancet medical journal said that an Israeli study suggests that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is stronger than originally thought; additionally, Pfizer found data suggesting that their vaccine might not have to be stored in extreme temperatures to maintain its efficacy. Henning Ansorg, the Santa Barbara County health officer, said that the first study regarding first doses has not yet been peer-reviewed and is only representative of preliminary findings.
  • According to Do-Reynoso, SB County is one of the few counties receiving a federal partnership for vaccinations, meaning it will receive at least 500 vaccines a week from the federal government starting in two weeks, in addition to the supply it receives from the state.
  • During the Feb. 12 SBCPHD press conference, Do-Reynoso said that any county resident who wants a vaccine should be able to receive one in five weeks. But this week, with shipments of the Moderna vaccine being delayed due to winter storms and slowed mass production,, that deadline may be extended.

COVID-19 Numbers and Data Update

  • “We are seeing positive trends in our county. Our case rates are trending downwards. Our active cases are trending downward. I want to encourage everyone to continue to be vigilant in being effective,” Do-Reynoso said. “So please, vaccinate when it is your turn and remember the four Ws: please continue to wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and wait on gatherings.” 
  • “We are really excited about this new development because we know how important it is to get our kids back into school,” Ansorg said. He added that in the last three days, SB County’s adjusted case rate has been below 25 per 100,000; if this trend continues into next week, elementary schools will be able to provide in-person education as early as next Wednesday, so long as they have an approved plan for ensuring safe instruction. As of Feb. 16, six public school districts and one charter school in the county have had their safety plans approved.
  • Ansorg said that the state issued new guidance for organized youth and adult sports,  which will go into effect on Feb. 26 and allow for outdoor high-contact and moderate-contact practices and competitions in red and purple tier counties that have an adjusted case rate no more than 14 per 100,000.
  • “[The Isla Vista Theater testing site] is very unique; it is not on an appointment basis, it’s on a walk-up basis. We have seen the community respond to that framework of being able to show up, get in line and get tested,” Do-Reynoso said when asked about the success of the Isla Vista Theater as a permanent testing location. “We are seeing a tapering off somewhat in utilization, and we hope that the Isla Vista community will continue to use that as a testing opportunity.” Calling the I.V. Theater’s framework successful, Do-Reynoso added that SBCPHD is duplicating it in Santa Maria.

Public Health Official Statements

  • Do-Reynoso said that although SBCPHD is not expecting another holiday-induced surge in cases, she hopes that by the time the spring holidays arrive, the community will have “learned quite a bit from the last two major surges and that we can practice personal responsibility and continue the downward trend in cases and testing positivity.” 
  • “I know and I am certain that we have the infrastructure [for fast vaccinations]. The only limitation is the receipt of vaccines in our county so that we can vaccinate, and our partners can also vaccinate,” Do-Reynoso said when asked about how quickly the county can vaccinate residents. “We started our vaccination efforts in the early part of December, and we have gained a lot of valuable lessons and we have the infrastructure in place. Public health, the county, we can ramp up to offer at least 15,000 vaccine administrations a week… We have the infrastructure in place, we have the partnerships in place, we have the will in place, we just need the vaccines.” 
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Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer is an assistant news editor. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs, and loud prints.