"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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Bene Jan 10, 2021 05:21 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Andrea, why don't you just do curbside grocery pick up for awhile? I've been doing it and its great. Then you wouldn't have to worry about buying goggles and also would lessen your chances of catching it.

Andrea Smith Jan 09, 2021 04:32 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Had to pick something up downtown today, restaurants in La Arcada serving folks outdoors, I thought the restaurants were supposed to be takeout delivery only? People were outside eating, right outside the restaurant and they had the propane gas fire things running to keep them warm. Of course it's far from over. Also saw an open hair salon too.

LooseCannon Jan 09, 2021 05:12 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

What have these local health authorities been doing for the last year? Sitting on their asses? I give the Trump administration a failing grade, but the vaccines have been delivered to California, and most of them, from what I understand, are sitting in storage, while people bicker over which group should go first. It's pathetic. I blame the local health authorities, too, for failing to have a plan in place to get the vaccine administered swiftly and efficiently.

PitMix Jan 09, 2021 06:32 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

In case you hadn't noticed, our local medical people who have the freezers needed for the vaccine are pretty busy taking care of pandemic patients. Should we pull the nurses from the ICUs to give people shots? Each patient has to fill out paperwork, I'm thinking 5-10 mins/shot at best, 6-12/hr, 100/day/nurse. This gives you an idea of the logistical nightmare of vaccinating the 240,000,000 people that want the vaccine.

PitMix Jan 10, 2021 09:02 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Duke, your ignorance is showing again. Vaccines have to be administered by nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and trained medical assistants. All of those people are busy now- haven't you noticed? Google can be your friend, if you could learn how to use it.

dukemunson Jan 10, 2021 09:38 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

As per my post... ICU nurses aren’t needed to monitor the vaccine shot. You seemed to indicate that they were. They are administering these vaccines at a long list of places that obviously don’t involve icu nurse (pharmacies and grocery stores in some states). You will probably end up getting your shot at CVS in town. What’s interesting is that you use google, but you then change the data you receive to fit your narrative.

dukemunson Jan 10, 2021 09:42 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

How busy are pharmacists these days...probably a good amount less than usual!!! Your commitment to misinformation is pretty remarkable. At least you didn’t use any numbers or stats this time... we’ve all see what happens to those numbers when you do! Still passionately sure that the mortality rate is 3% and anyone who argues against that is COVID Denier?

dukemunson Jan 10, 2021 09:57 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

But do me a favor pitmix, teach me how to use Google. I must be doing something wrong (ignorance as you say) because I keep getting that no icu nurses in any capacity are giving shots... unless of course they moonlight at cvs and Walgreens. Help me out... What am I doing wrong... ?

SBgal74 Jan 09, 2021 05:29 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

Why aren’t they able to disclose which grocery store had an outbreak? Shouldn’t the public have the right to be informed? Obviously, if it happened at one it could happen at another but it would be nice to have more transparency.

PitMix Jan 09, 2021 06:28 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

The businesses are already in trouble and they don't want the government putting the finger on them as having an outbreak. Contrary to what most people think, government is acutely aware that they need the tax revenues from the local businesses.

SBTownie Jan 10, 2021 08:37 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

They do disclose it in other counties. In SB, you must make a specific enquiry about a specific business by name and then the county will either confirm or deny the outbreak occurred there. It makes me very anxious not to know where these outbreaks are occurring.

yacht rocked Jan 09, 2021 07:50 PM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

I implore SB County Health Dept to use National Guard and volunteers to set up multi-lane drive-thru vaccination sites in places like Earl Warren, the old Sears lot, and a downtown parking structure, following CDC guidance here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/mass-clinic-activities/curbside-vaccination-clinics.html

This is being done in a number of other states including NY and FL. Caltrans and County public works can assist in setting up cones, and Cottage/Sansum can help set up stations and staff. I'll volunteer to help - anything from setting up cones to managing the entire project. :)

sandy1 Jan 10, 2021 06:46 AM
"This is Far From Over" Says Hospital CEO of COVID-19 Surge

In terms of sheer numbers, California wins the title as the most dangerous state in which to contract COVID-19.
You would think that with the vaccines now available, every elected official would be working 24/7 to get the shots into as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible.
Why aren’t they...


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