To view the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s April 9 press conference, please click here

Vaccine Update 

  • As of Friday, the county has received 222,910 vaccines and administered 83.9% of them. In addition, 117,703 of those vaccines have been administered as first doses and 63,124 as second doses. Of the total vaccine count, 5,956 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have also been administered. The county has designated 16.1% of the remaining doses for future appointments. 
  • The following demographics are eligible to get a vaccine: Phase 1A healthcare workers, emergency service workers, education/child care workers, agriculture and food service workers, 16 to 49-year-olds with severe comorbidities and residents ages 50 and older. As of April 15, all community members ages 16 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine at any vaccination site; however, residents ages 16 and older in Santa Barbara County were able to get a vaccine at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort a week earlier. Appointments for that clinic have all been taken.
  • Residents between ages 16 and 49 can schedule an appointment using the state’s scheduling website My Turn beginning April 12. The appointments, however, will have to be booked for April 15 or later.
  • Mobile vaccination clinics will begin visiting vulnerable communities within the county starting April 15. There will be three teams based out of the Santa Maria Health Care Center, one team based out of the Lompoc Health Care Center and one team based out of the Santa Barbara Health Care Center. Each clinic will visit a couple locations to serve vulnerable communities and will have the capacity to vaccinate 100 to 200 people per day. They will be running until the end of July. 
  • Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, said that 45% of residents ages 16 and older in the county have received at least their first shot and that 15% are waiting to be vaccinated. Ansorg said that 85% of county residents would have to be vaccinated in order for the county to have herd immunity and he expects 60% of the county to be vaccinated by the end of April. “We need to convince the people who are not yet decided on whether or not they want to be vaccinated to make up their mind and get the shot. If you had your shot, please talk to your friends and neighbors about your experience with the vaccine. Please encourage them to follow your example,” Ansorg said. 
  • UC Santa Barbara students can use their Access Cards as proof of county residency to receive the vaccine. 

COVID-19 Numbers and Data Update

  • In order to advance to the orange tier, the county needs to have fewer than 28 cases per day. That number currently stands at 25 — a number Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department director, called “really good news.” Though the county currently remains in the red tier, Ansorg said he’s glad the county’s case metrics are back on the decline, in contrast with the past few weeks’ plateauing case rates. Ansorg added that he expects the county to reach the orange tier in 10 days. 
  • UCSB and Cottage Health’s joint variant research has shown that within their sample size of 67 cases in March 2021, 42% of COVID-19 cases were of the California variant and 30% were of the U.K. variant. None of the cases were of the variants first detected in South Africa or Brazil. 
  • Of the cases reported this week, 65 were the result of backlogged cases from January 2021. These cases, according to Do-Reynoso, will not impact tier assignment for the county now. 
  • Having seen other jurisdictions, Do-Reynoso said she is expecting an uptick in cases because of spring break and Easter weekend. 

Public Health Official Statements 

  • Beginning April 15, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed in Santa Barbara County. Once the county reaches the orange tier, that number will become 50, and then 100 in the yellow tier. 
  • In addition, April 15 also marks the day when private meetings, such as receptions, can resume under new modifications like pre-purchased tickets, defined guest lists and assigned seating. For private events in the red tier, 50 people can gather outdoors; however, if guests are either fully vaccinated or have been tested prior to the event, then that number can increase to 200. Indoor private events are allowed with 100 people in the red tier if guests are fully vaccinated or have been tested prior to the event. 
  • Live indoor events and performances can resume in Santa Barbara County beginning April 15, albeit with new limitations on seating and capacity. 
  • Ansorg said that the county should be able to operate outside the tier system altogether sometime around mid-June.
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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.