Public Health Focuses on Vaccine Equity
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) is focusing on equity as they roll out COVID-19 vaccine allocations throughout the county.
During a press conference Friday afternoon, PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated there are "concerning" data trends centered on vaccine equity at the local level.
Approximately 48% of the county's population are Hispanic but of those vaccinated, Hispanics only account for 20%. She continued to state PHD is committed to ensure all residents have equal access to get a vaccine and her department has partnered with various community groups to reach vulnerable populations.
The county has received 135,400 vaccine doses and 82.4% of those have been administered. A significant increase in vaccine allocation is expected next week.
Previously Governor Gavin Newsom stated the color-coded tier system, named "Blueprint for a Safer Economy," could be gone by early May as more people become vaccinated. Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg confirmed we are at a level where quite a few people have the opportunity to get vaccinated with more vaccines on the way. He feels optimistic about the May 1st projection that the vaccine could be available for anyone who wants it.
However, case rates are continuing to plateau and that has officials concerned. Dr. Ansorg said he would like the numbers to go down more continuously but it's not to a degree that alarms him. With the outbreak growing in Europe he said this is a reminder that we still have significant disease transmission in the community and everyone must still follow the guidelines.
On Friday, PHD reported 43 new cases and one death. The individual was 70+ years of age and had underlying medical conditions. The death was not associated with a congregate care site and resided in Lompoc.
There have been 435 deaths in the county since the beginning of the pandemic last year.
Currently, there are 195 active cases. Of those, 38 are hospitalized including 15 in the intensive care unit.
Santa Barbara County achieved Red Tier status earlier this week, read more about what this means here.
More data can be found at publichealthsbc.org/status-reports.