"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge title=
Ron Werft, President/CEO of Cottage Health System, speaking during Friday's COVID-19 press conference.
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By edhat staff

Health officials warn the surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are expected to continue through the end of January.

Ron Werft, President/CEO of Cottage Health System, stated "this is far from over" during Friday's press conference. 

While hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), and ventilators are in good supply, hospitals are most concerned about critical care staffing. The ability to identify, recruit, and expand staffing is very challenging for every hospital in the country, Werft said. 

Cottage Health's surge plans are underway but there's a "limit to what we will be able to do," he said.

The Public Health Department announced the COVID-19 data for Friday is delayed due to an issue with the state's CalREDIE reporting system but Director Van Do-Reynoso was able to provide an update based on the past two weeks. 

Santa Barbara County is seeing a 10-fold increase between Thanksgiving and the New Year, which is directly connected to gatherings and travel around the holidays, she said.

The data is "literally off the charts," said Do-Reynoso confirming they have had to adjust their graph displays to accommodate the surge in numbers. From December 27 through January 2, COVID-19 cases increased by 53%, active cases increased by 19%. "Testing positivity soared to 17% so that's approximately one positive for every sixteen test results," she said.

Additionally, there have been eight outbreaks in congregate care settings and six outbreaks in business settings: two in administrative offices, one in skilled labor, one in a grocery store, and one in retail. 

Werft stated Cottage Health is receiving two to four patient transfer requests every 24 hours as many hospitals have hit the wall at zero available intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

Federal laws govern how hospitals manage transfers where each one is reviewed based on the hospital's capacity, a higher level of care, and confirmation the requesting hospital has exhausted every possible solution between them and Santa Barbara. Werft confirmed Cottage Health will not compromise its ability to provide care for the local community when accepting a transfer.

The Public Health Department has received 16,775 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date and recently ordered 4,900 doses with an additional 7,200 doses to be requested next week. The Department hopes to vaccinate 5,000 people this month.

Beginning Monday, a mobile COVID-19 testing unit will be available to support the expansion of testing throughout the county. The mobile testing unit will be located at CenCal Health in Santa Barbara (4050 Calle Real) from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.  This test site will be available from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday thereafter for a minimum of two (2) weeks and available to all community members.

The mobile testing unit will then move to a new location which will be announced. To request an appointment, please go online to https://lhi.care/covidtesting. If you need assistance registering, call 2-1-1.

In addition to the new mobile testing site, expanded COVID-19 testing is also available in the Santa Maria and Isla Vista communities.

Isla Vista Theater  
(Beginning January 8, 2021)
960 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista
Fridays and Saturdays
12 – 5 p.m. 
Walk-In only (no appointments).
Santa Maria Health Care Center
2115 Centerpointe Pkwy, Santa Maria
Tuesday - Friday
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Online appointment registration opens the day before each testing date and closes at 5 p.m. or when all slots are full, whichever comes first. Appointment registration link will be found here. Walk-Ins are not allowed.

More information can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/

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SBTownie Jan 10, 2021 08:26 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Why are you calling being realistic "negative"? We don't need magical thinking right now. We need real plans of action and serious changes in how things are being done, such as massively increasing speed of vaccinations.

RHS Jan 08, 2021 06:33 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

They can and will vaccinate more in the immediate future. The delay is the fault of the current federal leadership. Using the mobilization laws available there is no reason why FEMA, the National Guard and other enterprises cannot be brought on line to deal with this just as we do with natural disasters. The present disaster is completely the result of dereliction or incompetence at the highest level.

a-1610162161 Jan 08, 2021 07:16 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Distribution within the state is up to the state. Newsom should have mobilized the national guard months ago to aid with testing, medical care and vaccine distribution, all of which we knew would be needed.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 08, 2021 09:01 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Stop complaining about the federal government. Does the concept of personal responsibility totally escape you? The present disaster is due to individuals who chose to act irresponsibly. With respect to vaccines, the federal government helped to speed that along as best they could, and we got several vaccines in record time. The simple truth is that few at our state, county and city level started planning for distribution of the vaccines, which is why CA ranks 48th in distribution. You can't blame the federal government for that one.

Shasta Guy Jan 08, 2021 08:06 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Starting today I will be wearing a face shield when I go to the grocery store. Yes, I will look like a dork, but with some many people now getting the virus I can’t expect everyone around me to follow proper cough or sneeze etiquette.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 08, 2021 08:41 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Hi Shasta, how have you been? I missed your update from your trip earlier this year. Hope you had a great time. Eye protection that wraps around is better than a full face shield, Something like lab goggles. Unless the shield is sealed around the periphery the eddies as you walk though the store will create vortexes that may pull air inside the face shield. Just saying.

Shasta Guy Jan 09, 2021 08:42 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

CSF: I’ve been managing like everyone else. People have gone COVID crazy here, so I have decided to pull pack a bit. No need jump into the anti maskers are terrorists vs masks are ineffective PPE fray. It’s a waste of time to me and no one is going to change anyone’s opinion.

With virus cases really ramping up now, and due an experience of a family member, I will be wearing a face shield at the store. The cough or sneeze someone does in a store now could be their first COVID symptom, and I want to minimize the probability of aerosol droplets with virus getting to my eyes. More people are among us who do not know they are infected, and they are coughing and sneezing among us. Call me paranoid, but I do microscopic particle control in clean room manufacturing and I’ve decided to up my PPE because masks do not protect your eyes.

TJTom Jan 09, 2021 09:51 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

giftedinSB - Yes. You are correct. I noticed that too and thought "How can we trust these information releases when they often contain obvious errors. Maybe they are tired from overwork but someone needs to check and verify the facts before release.
Strange that someone would down vote your comment.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 09, 2021 06:03 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

EDHAT STAFF: There was an error in the data on January 5, where there were more conclusive tests than tests reported. On that day the "% positive" was 17.8%. This status report has since been corrected and the "% positive" for this day is now 16.4%. It sounds as if the SBCPHD is stretched to their absolute limits, so this may explain why Dr. Do-Reynoso misspoke about the value for "% positivity" and also confused her fractions. Anyone with a calculator can verify that 1 divided by 16 is 0.0625, or 6.25%.

a-1610211801 Jan 09, 2021 09:03 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

For those who've commented, it's the "state's responsibility" for vaccine distribution in one of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history with over 360,000 dead and projected 500,000 deaths by June, should states now take over all disaster relief for massive fires, floods and tornados? Why should the feds not help the states try to protect the population from this natural disaster? The only answer goes back to the leadership at the top who've dumped the whole mess in the lap of state government from day one and then blamed the states when they struggled for resources. Enough of the blame game, let's work together as Americans, wear masks to prevent the spread, roll up our sleeves (literally), get the population vaccinated, and get us back to work and school.

Voice of Reason Jan 09, 2021 09:51 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Comments like this are what concern me about our future. Too many voters have no idea how our country and states work yet are allowed to vote. This leaves them susceptible to misinformation like how it’s so easy to blame whose in the White House for all our problems regardless of whether or not it was in the presidents power to control. The biggest problem with this is people will vote for a president thinking that will solve all their problems when really the problems are wide spread through the many layers of federal and state governments. Plus, please read a history book.

GeneralTree Jan 09, 2021 11:02 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

This isn't the first time ignorant republicans effed up vaccine distribution....
As David M. Oshinsky notes in his book “Polio: An American Story,” although Eisenhower was a political moderate, his secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Oveta Culp Hobby, was a fierce conservative from Texas. To her way of thinking, federal involvement in a polio vaccine was a step toward “socialized medicine......Thus, even after it became clear that the Salk vaccine was likely to be effective, Hobby made no distribution plans; indeed, the day after the April 12 announcement, she appeared before a congressional committee and said flatly that the federal government should not be involved. Oshinsky wrote: Neither the president nor his advisors viewed the distribution of polio vaccine as a legitimate governmment should not be involved. Oshinsky wrote: Neither the president nor his advisors viewed the distribution of polio vaccine as a legitimate government function. At a time when the very hint of federal intervention raised angry cries of “socialized medicine,” they fully expected the process to remain in private hands, with the vaccine going from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the druggist to the local doctor, who would inoculate the child three times in three paid office visits. As one administration official put it, “an allocation program for the Salk vaccine would constitute an undesirable precedent.” The result was nothing short of a crisis. People had been led to expect that millions of doses would be available on Day One. They weren’t. Instead, there were shortages. The companies manufacturing the vaccine more than doubled the price they had been paid by the foundation just months earlier, raising accusations of price-gouging. As it became clear that summer was going to arrive with few children vaccinated, parents were up in arms.

SBTownie Jan 09, 2021 03:12 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

I agree with VOR. However, I do think the federal government should have done whatever necessary to assist the vaccine manufacturers to secure the raw materials needed to fill orders. That is in my opinion a federal government failure. Regarding distribution, we have no one to blame but the state and our local government. They actually are boasting here about having vaccinated another 600 people this week as part of a "pod." These numbers are a pathetic drop in the bucket. Ramp it up now.

a-1610244468 Jan 09, 2021 06:07 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

6:03 pm -

Superspreading misinformation.
The provisions arranged by the federal government for supply of ancillary items for vaccination were woefully inadequate. As an example, instead of contracting with Becton-Dickinson for a huge increase in hypodermic syringe production, the contract was split, and a large order given to a company with ties to trump, even though they had never manufactured syringes.

SBTownie Jan 09, 2021 06:45 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Thanks, VOR. You're right it has not been mentioned much. I was able to find a one sentence reference in a New Yorker article to the government granting corning $200million back in June to make vials. Thank you for the information. I genuinely appreciate it. I am interested above all in facts, not feelings or politics.

SBTownie Jan 09, 2021 06:48 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

@6:07, I was able to find information that the federal government granted Corning $200million for the manufacture of specialty glass vials. That seems more than sufficient, especially considering the price we are paying Pfizer and Moderna per dose.

a-1610247402 Jan 09, 2021 06:56 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

6:48 - Did you also notice that it took a whistleblower suit against BARDA to even get them and HHS moving on anything but the vaccine. Their attitude was that they would worry about the other stuff, including distribution, once they had a vaccine.

Voice of Reason Jan 09, 2021 06:57 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

I think the bottleneck in vaccine production isn’t needles or vials but the vaccine itself. There was a large federal mobilization for testing resources. Little things ended up being very difficult like the gauze that goes on the end of the q-tip is only made in 2 factories throughout the world. I think that was what an early airlift from Italy was b/c they have a plant there.

a-1610248761 Jan 09, 2021 07:19 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

6:57 pm - You think. Vaccine bottles are primarily made with borosilicate glass. Few manufacturers and more expensive. Syringes require stainless steel needles. There were very few syringes in the national emergency stockpile. Nothing to do with testing, which was a whole separate screwup.

SBSand Jan 09, 2021 10:22 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

If only people would avoid gathering in groups, wear their masks, wash their hands, be thoughtful and take PERSONAL responsibility for themselves then maybe we can get past this surge faster... Just an idea on a sunny Saturday during a covid surge.

SBTownie Jan 09, 2021 11:20 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

For the first time, I am truly concerned. I strongly feel the new variant is not being taken seriously here for some reason (meaning in the US in general). Things are about to get catastrophic. I've anecdotally seen almost no change in behavior from neighbors, etc. since the partial lockdown. My street is inundated with screaming, maskless children who soon will be going back into classrooms part time. I checked the SBUSD website and it seems they are still planning on holding in-person classes for kids several days a week? They need to do better research. Children and schools are huge vectors for this disease, and sitting them 6 feet apart for hours on end is not the solution. It's proven that opening schools in the UK contributed to huge spread of the virus, which is why they had to shut them down given the grip the new mutation has on the country. For anyone who doesn't believe me, I am happy to give you the data to back this up. I am honestly very worried. Switching all of our shopping to curbside only given the infectiousness of the new variant which if not here yet, will be here soon. This is not the time to be relaxed. We had a relatively easy summer and early fall. Now we need to be vigilant again. Too bad we blew our real lockdown on last spring, when we had almost no virus but were flying blind and so went into excessively cautious overdrive mode. We could really use it NOW. We squandered it back then.

Voice of Reason Jan 09, 2021 12:21 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

The director of the CDC literally said schools are the safest place kids can be. Aren’t they the ones we should be holding up and protecting more than any other demographic in our society?

SBTownie Jan 09, 2021 12:38 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Oh, you mean the same CDC that said masks do nothing and none of us should wear them? Schools spread every other disease on earth. Explain to me the magical ability of COVID to be stopped dead in its tracks in schools. You're telling me indoor rooms of messy kids don't spread disease? Come on. A school is safer than a child being in his or her home? You can do better than that.

Seabird Jan 09, 2021 02:49 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

@Townie, kids in my town have been back in elementary and middle school for about three months now, nary an outbreak and no resclosures. If all of their parents and household members would really follow the lockdown and skip the trips to Target and BBQs with extended families, we wouldn't have to worry at all about kids being in school. I'm fully with VOR on this one - our kids should be our top priority. They have suffered more than any other population during this whole mess.

SBTownie Jan 09, 2021 03:10 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

SeaBird, with all due respect, I think you are suffering from parental myopia if you think children have suffered the worst from COVID. I agree with you that children have suffered - like everyone else - but to say they, who are naturally practically immune to the worst effects, have suffered worst? Would you really say that to the tens of thousands of seniors who died scared and alone from this? I sincerely insist you rethink your stance. Children's learning may have suffered, but children themselves are not truly suffering in the way many other vulnerable groups are. Putting their needs above others' safety is also rationally indefensible. Schools spread COVID. You will see once the new variant gets to our area. I will be vindicated and the schools will be closed once again.

dukemunson Jan 09, 2021 06:16 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

No... but many/most kids aren’t just sitting at home... they are at park, beach, friends, cousins house etc... so yeah... full lock down is safest... but in practice where and how we look... kids in school and being monitored IS safer. Think about it SBTOWNIe... logically... and what’s actually happening. In a vacuum, your right... in the world though... school is safer! Which is why Germany and most European countries prioritized schools being open as the best/safest option

a-1610255622 Jan 09, 2021 09:13 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

And the surge in cases is why countries that had opened up in-person schooling are now reversing that decision. It's just too dangerous for everybody. If you read the CDC guidance without ignoring the parts you don't like, you'll see that they do not advocate in-person schooling when local viral transmission is at high levels.

dukemunson Jan 09, 2021 09:21 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Possibly... but we still completely screwed up the entire fall... which included a lot of idiotic posts on edhat about keeping schools closed while private schools did 3.5 months of COVID spread free class work! So yeah... are numbers are up... but a lot of edhat and SB school board idiots closed us down for absolutely no reason... except of course to make everyone’s life worse (not to mention harm every single public school kid)... so... thanks anonymous edhat poster for being part of making our town worse !!!!!

SBTownie Jan 10, 2021 08:34 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

The private schools I'm aware of have insane (as in insanely GOOD) protocol that FAR surpassed anything possible within the public school system as far as screening, testing, space to spread out outside, etc. Not to mention the other glaring issue. Which is that the wealthy families who send their kids to these private schools are statistically far less likely to get COVID to begin with than kids from poorer families who will be in public schools. Wealthier families are far more likely to be able to work from home, not live in multi-generational households (extended beyond parent and child), not live in cramped quarters, etc. and as such have much lower rates of the virus. Kids going to a top-tier private school who hired nurses to do daily screenings, who test teachers weekly, who have massive campuses for kids to spread out, and who have the resources to deal with this is NOT the same as kids going back inside of public school classrooms. Sorry but that's the truth.

Andrea Smith Jan 09, 2021 01:20 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Can someone please help me understand something. Do we need to start wearing eye protection? I know you can get this through your eyes and I'm worried about my elderly parents, and also myself. No public health body has recommended this, yet I hear people saying they are going to start wearing it. I'm very concerned but don't want to spend unecessary money/stress/time if it's really not necessary. I only really go to grocery stores now, no where else for the most part unless it's necessary like picking up my new glasses which is stressing me out now. I see only 1 outbreak in a grocery store, and we have so many that I can't assess the risk.


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