Public Health Promotes Flu Vaccine to Avoid "Twin Pandemic"
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) is urging the public to get a flu vaccine to avoid a "twin pandemic" with the ongoing COVID-19 virus.
County Supervisor Gregg Hart and PHD Director Van Do-Reynoso demonstrated how easy it is to receive the flu vaccine by both getting the shot during Thursday's live press conference.
PHD is encouraging the community with their message of "don't wait, vaccinate" to avoid overloading the healthcare system with increased hospitalizations that typically occur during the fall and winter, also known as the flu season.
PHD Deputy Director Paige Batson stated nine people died in Santa Barbara County due to the flu last season, all over the age of 65 years old, and over 700 people died statewide. She explained that getting the flu vaccine will help save critical medical resources necessary for the care of COVID-19 patients.
Contrastingly, there have been 109 deaths related to COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County thus far and 14,764 deaths in California.
Batson explained that people will need to be tested for both the flu and COVID-19 since the symptoms are similar.
People over the age of 65 years old, with underlying health conditions, caregivers, essential workers, and pregnant women are at higher risk of having serious complications due to the flu.
Free vaccination clinics will take place from October 8 -19 throughout the county.
PHD continues to encourage community members to get tested for COVID-19 so they can capture the asymptomatic cases who may have been exposed but don't know it that are within the community.
"Testing has been a focal point of our broad strategy to box in the virus. the importance of testing is to ensure we know the prevalence of COVID in our community and our ability to assist those impacted cannot be underscored enough. The state has shown us this time and time again by tying testing rates directly to greater allowances for reopening," said Do-Reynoso.
Testing appointments are available in Goleta, Buellton, and Santa Maria. Residents can make an appointment by visiting lhi.care/covidtesting or calling 888-634-1123.
PHD is reporting 19 new cases bringing the grand total to 8,803. Of those, 172 are currently active.
There are 28 hospitalizations including 7 in the intensive care unit.
More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/.