The Santa Barbara Public Health Department press conferences are now shifting their schedule to present every other Friday instead of every Friday. 

For any Isla Vista or Goleta resident looking to schedule a vaccine appointment, click here for more information. 

To view the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s May 7 press conference, please click here

Vaccine Update

  • As of Friday, the county has received 346,580 vaccines and administered 85.2% of them. In addition, 164,380 of those vaccines have been administered as first doses and 120,210 as second doses. Of the total vaccine count, 10,526 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have also been administered. The county has designated 14.8% of the remaining doses for future appointments. 
  • 61% of Santa Barbara County residents 16 and older have received at least their first shot. However, there is a distinction in various age demographics within that 61%. Within the age demographic of people 65 and older, 8 out of 10 people have been vaccinated. However, within the age demographic of people 16 to 29, only 4 out of 10 people have been vaccinated. Of that 61%, 45% of county residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated. 
  • As of the week of May 10, 12 to 15-year-olds are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at all locations in the county.  
  • Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, said that public health is collaborating with UCSB and other colleges in the county to help students get vaccinated before the fall quarter/next semester.
  • According to Van Do-Reynoso, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) director, the county is seeing a 7% no-show rate for people scheduled to get their second dose at public health vaccination sites. “That is remarkably less” than the countrywide rate, Do-Reynoso said the SBCPHD call center is calling individuals who don’t show up for their second dose appointment to reschedule for a later time.    
  • Do-Reynoso said the vaccine clinic at UCSB’s Parking Lot 25 was a success. “We were expecting about 300 appointments to be given; we came right under that. I think it was a lot of heavy lifting by UCSB to get the students to come and get vaccinated. I’m sure that moving forward, we’ll have more vaccination clinics and we’re also exploring doing mobile clinics in Isla Vista with other partners as well.” 

COVID-19 Numbers and Data Update

  • Ansorg said that county residents 18 and younger have had the most COVID-19 positive cases for the past two weeks. They are followed by 20 to 30-year-olds, who have the second highest amount of COVID-19 cases. Ansorg attributed the high number of cases in people 18 and younger to high school athletes. Ansorg noted that large, unsanctioned gatherings also played a factor. 
  • The COVID-19 variant circulating in India has been found in Santa Barbara County. Ansorg said that this variant is  “not very predominant here, but [they] have seen it.” 

Public Health Official Statements

  • “We are about to enter a transition phase in the pandemic where public health mandates and public health officer orders will be replaced by recommendations and advice on safe activities,” Ansorg said. “This change may feel uncomfortable to some, and likely couldn’t come early enough for others. Rest assured that we — as the public health department — will continue our efforts in monitoring our local virus activity very closely and we will continue to provide guidance on how to remain safe as a community.”  
  • Do-Reynoso said that though the county currently has mass vaccination sites, they might soon transition to smaller mobile clinics in different locations throughout the county. “The mobile clinics are needed now to make sure that it’s available in communities, in places that individuals are comfortable getting their vaccination. So I anticipate that we will go to a smaller clinic model more specific to communities,” she said.
  • Do-Reynoso said that SBCPHD has been working with UCSB to get out messaging that promotes student vaccinations. “I’m not sure if it’s hesitancy or if it’s a question of convenience,” Do-Reynoso said about getting more people in Isla Vista vaccinated. “I want to remove the barrier if it’s a convenience issue with our pop-up mobile clinics.” 
  • Ansorg said there is “absolutely” a concern that summer travels might bring back vaccine mutations to the county. “Unvaccinated people are really at great risk, especially if they travel overseas into areas where we see a lot of newer and more rapidly spreading variants of the virus type,” Ansorg said. “We would encourage you to get vaccinated before you travel. That will also relieve you of the need to quarantine upon return. So, it makes traveling really much safer and less cumbersome for the traveler and for the whole community.” 
  • Ansorg said that getting to the yellow tier is dependent on an uptake of people getting vaccinated, which would also get the county closer to herd immunity.
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Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer is the County News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs and loud prints.