To view the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s March 12 press conference, please click here.

Vaccine Update

  • As of Friday, the county has received 117,740 vaccines and has administered 81% of them. In addition, 61,295 of those vaccines have been administered as first doses and 33,561 as second doses. 352 doses of the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine have also been administered. The remaining doses are designated for vaccination clinics. Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD), said that the vaccine distribution numbers are probably higher than reported considering there is a three-day lag in the data. 
  • The county is currently vaccinating people in the Phase 1B category. This includes residents aged 65 and older, emergency services workers, food and agricultural service workers, and education and childcare workers. As of March 15, residents aged 16 to 64 who have severe underlying conditions will be eligible for the vaccine. Eligible residents will have to self-attest that they fall under this category. 
  • Henning Ansorg, SBCPHD public health officer, said that 10% of county residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated, and that another 15% have received their first dose. Ansorg also said that though the county has been receiving larger amounts of doses, the number of vaccines allotted for Santa Barbara County is likely to hold steady for the next few weeks. 
  • Blue Shield, the third party previously slated to take over vaccine distribution, will now only contract with health care system providers for vaccinations. Local public health departments will continue vaccinating residents as they have been doing thus far. 
  • Blue Shield will not provide UC Santa Barbara with any vaccines because it does not have a medical school. Upon reaching eligibility, students will have to use the county’s MyTurn program to schedule an appointment to receive their vaccine at a local clinic. 

COVID-19 Numbers and Data Update

  • Now that California has vaccinated 2 million people in underserved communities as of last Friday, the state is shifting its COVID-19 tier blueprint metrics. Under new guidelines, Ansorg said that the county will most likely be assigned to the red tier on Tuesday. 
  • Within the red tier, middle and high schools in the county will be able to re-open if they have an approved safety plan. “[Re-opening in the red tier] also presents us with a challenge to continue to be safe and not fall back into another virus surge. The only way to prevent another surge is by adhering to the good practices of mask wearing, social distancing and avoidance of crowds and other risky behaviors,” Ansorg said. “Please, everyone, let us stay with the program so that Santa Barbara County as a whole can progress to even less virus transmission and approach more normalcy.” 
  • The county currently has an adjusted case rate of 9.7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity rate of 3.6%. 
  • Do-Reynoso said that the winter surge of COVID-19 cases is officially over in the county. In fact, COVID metrics in the county have “substantially decreased.” 
  • SBCPHD is recommending that students avoid travel plans for spring break to ensure they do not bring back the virus from wherever they went. If students do travel, Ansorg recommends that they quarantine for 10 days upon their return and get tested. 
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Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs and loud prints.