Santa Barbara County is Back in the Purple Tier
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara County is officially back in the purple tier as of Tuesday morning and the Public Health Department (PHD) breaks down what that means.
During Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso explained that after Governor Newsom ended the regional stay at home order on Monday, every county reverted back to the color-coded tiers of the "Blueprint for a Safer Economy."
The state projects most of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacities will exceed 15% in the next four weeks. The projections are based on current ICU availability, measuring community transmission, regional case rates, and hospital admissions.
Dr. Do-Reynoso feels the Regional Stay at Home order helped to limit the disease transmission during the toughest time of year, the holidays. It helped the state avoid even higher hospitalizations and fatalities and it could have been much worse without the order, she said.
From January 11-25, there was a 23% decrease in active cases, 42% decrease in hospitalization, 13% decrease in ICU cases, and a 34% increase in cumulative deaths. Over the last two weeks, there has been a decrease in most areas throughout the county except in Santa Barbara where the data was static, and an increase in Isla Vista.
The "Blueprint for a Safer Economy" is designed as a gradual reopening process as we're still in a precarious moment within the state and our county, said Dr. Do-Reynoso.
While Santa Barbara County is now back to the strictest purple "widespread" tier, the guidelines are less stringent than the recent stay at home order.
Dr. Do-Reynoso confirmed a new Health Officer Order has been enacted where private gatherings are now allowed but limited to three households, outdoor only, with masks and social distancing. Restaurants are able to serve outdoor meals again, bars and breweries can reopen outdoors as long as food is served, and wineries can reopen for outdoor tastings only. Museums, fitness centers, and faith services can open outdoor. Personal care services can open at 25% indoor capacity and tourism/individual travel is now allowed.
Currently, the county is reporting a 49.5 adjusted case rate per 100,000 population, a 13.3% testing positivity rate, and 19.3 health equity metric. To reach the less restrictive red "substantial" tier where more businesses will be allowed to reopen indoor operations, the county must be below 7 case rate per 100,000 population, and 8% or lower for testing positivity and health equity.
On Tuesday PHD reported 256 new cases and 8 deaths. Seven of the individuals were 70+ years of age and one was 50-69 years of age. Seven individuals had underlying health conditions and two were associated with outbreaks at congregate care facilities. Four resided in Santa Maria, two in Santa Barbara, one in Goleta, and one in Lompoc.
There have now been 275 COVID-19 deaths in the county.
Currently, there are 2,063 active cases including 192 hospitalizations with 51 patients in the ICU.
Regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, Dr. Do-Reynoso confirmed 65-75% of vaccines have been administered throughout the county. The remaining vaccines are not available as they all have upcoming appointments attached to them.
The COVID-19 vaccine is released from the federal government, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), to states and to national pharmacy chains. Some local pharmacies (CVS and Walgreens) have been engaged in a federal partnership to specifically vaccinate long-term care residents including those in Santa Barbara County.
The county receives vaccine allocation from the State of California and PHD receives an allocation from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on a weekly basis. The amount of vaccine that can be requested by a county is determined by the state and is based on a formula that considers the unique demographics of each county. Vaccine that is allocated from the state to a county is distributed in several paths.
Vaccine from the state is allocated to Multi-County Entities (MCEs) which are health care providers that function across county lines. In Santa Barbara County, the only MCE is Dignity Health. Allocations given to MCEs are intended to then be allocated to regional hospitals. In the case of Santa Barbara County, this is Marian Medical Center.
Allocations are also given from the state to the PHD. These allocations are then distributed to local partner health providers. These include all health care facilities that have signed up as providers and registered to receive the vaccine conduct community vaccination clinics at various locations and facilities.
Currently, there are 38 local health care provider sites, which include hospitals, clinics, providers, and pharmacies within our county that are receiving vaccine allocations. These partner providers have the capacity to vaccinate community members as we continue moving forward. Hospitals received the largest allocation of 22,525 followed by clinics at 18,700, then pharmacies at 32,00, and health care providers at 400.
In addition to allocating received vaccines to area providers, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department also provides vaccinations at community vaccination sites called PODs, as well as at county health centers.
The County’s Public Health website has a vaccine page which includes information about the vaccination process, including how to sign up to schedule a vaccination appointment. Community members may also call 2-1-1 for personalized assistance in scheduling a vaccination appointment.