The Centers for Disease Control gave its approval this Friday to the Moderna vaccine being developed for COVID-19, following the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the vaccine earlier this week for people 18 and older. This means that two vaccines will be fully approved for adult use – and no longer on emergency use authorization – in the United States: Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the latter having been approved for people 16 years old. and more last August.
As the Omicron variant recedes, COVID cases in California have fallen to just under 70,000 new infections per day as of February 4, from 110,000 on January 19. In Santa Barbara, 447 new cases were reported today and had peaked on January 13 when 1,493 new cases were counted. By comparison, the state’s numbers reflect a population of 40 million, while Santa Barbara has a population of 460,000. In the county, a total of 619 people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 18 deaths occurring this week alone.
The county still has a high number of active cases — 3,564 this week — and hospitalizations reflect that number. Of all the staffed hospital beds available, 118 are in use for COVID patients and the overall patient load at Cottage, Marian and Lompoc hospitals is 74%. For staffed intensive care beds, 17 are occupied by COVID patients, eight of whom are on ventilators. Intensive care units are at 79% capacity. These two statistics put the county in a red zone with less capacity for an emergency or disaster.
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Vaccination among those ages 5 and older has reached 79% in the county, and “full” vaccination is close to 70%. With the decline in cases, however, testing and vaccination have become more available.
Testing delays have dissipated with wide availability at the county’s free testing sites on Camino del Remedio and in the Direct Relief parking lot when they next open on Monday, February 7. Testing is also available through doctors’ offices, urgent care, and some fee-based labs. All test sites are listed on or via publichealthsbc.org/testing.
Vaccinations remain free and are available from most county medical providers, pharmacies and vaccination clinics. This month they will be in Santa Barbara at the following locations – appointment is advised via MyTurn.ca.gov:
Wednesday, February 9 – Roosevelt Elementary School, 1990 Laguna Street; 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 12 — SBCC, Student Services, 721 Cliff Drive; 9am-noon.
Thursday, Feb. 17 – Washington Elementary School, 290 Lighthouse Road; 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 18 – Girls Inc., 5315 Foothill Road, Carpinteria; 9h-12h..
Friday, February 18 — Community West Bank, 5827 Hollister Avenue, Goleta; 4-7 p.m.
Saturday, February 26 – SB Junior High, 721 East Cota Street; 9am-noon.
Walk-in vaccinations for a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine are available at a number of pharmacies on the south coast. The full list is available at publichealthsbc.org/vaccine/. Local vaccination sites can also be found by texting GETVAX on 438829.
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