Educators and Food Workers Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccines Next Week
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) announced educators and food service workers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine next week.
During a press conference on Friday evening, PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso confirmed the next tier of childcare providers, educators, emergency service workers, agricultural workers, and food/grocery employees will be eligible to receive the vaccine along with healthcare workers and anyone over the age of 65 years.
As of Tuesday, the county has administered 87% of the doses received. The percentage is lower than normal due to last week's storm delay, but PHD fully anticipates being caught up by next week.
PHD stated it will follow the state's guidance of a 70/30 vaccine administration approach. Approximately 70% of all vaccines received will be allocated to people aged 65 and older while 30% will be allocated for all other eligible sectors.
For educators, local Superintendents discussed prioritization with PHD on who will get vaccinated first and determined they would start with special education teachers who work with medically fragile students. At least 1,000 vaccines are earmarked for this group next week.
COVID-19 Numbers Plateau
PHD officials stated they are somewhat worried about the recent plateau in COVID-19 case rates and testing positivity
Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg stated the case rates are dropping, just not as drastically as before and he would have liked to see them go down faster. He said the plateau of metrics appears to be a global phenomenon with cases being stalled after a decline, and at this level, even a small number of active cases is enough to keep the virus spreading.
Dr. Do-Reynoso attributed the plateau to pandemic fatigue, people getting tired of all the personal sacrifices made in the past year. She encouraged the community to stay vigilant until everyone is vaccinated.
Approximately 80% of all infections are caused by 10% of people who are socializing and not following proper guidelines, said Dr. Ansorg. He said this is happening on a global scale and keeps the pandemic going.
The PHD reports 2 deaths and 104 new cases on Friday. Two individuals were 70+ years of age. Both individuals had underlying health conditions. No deaths were associated with an outbreak at a congregate care site. The individuals resided in the city of Santa Barbara and the area including the City of Lompoc and the communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village.
There have now been 409 deaths within the county since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Santa Barbara County currently has 382 active cases. Of those, 76 are hospitalized with 18 in the intensive care unit.
More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/.