An graphic image for the Lookout COVID Dashboard

News of the week

Locally, COVID cases continue to climb slowly. The county recorded 464 active cases as of Tuesday’s update from the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. That’s 63 more than last Monday. No new deaths were reported locally, keeping the county’s pandemic death toll at 276.

Hospitalizations are down across the country according to the Centers for Disease Control. Local transmission, though, hasn’t changed. Santa Cruz and its neighboring counties have remained in the “substantial” tier of community transmission, which means that they are all recording more than 50 cases per 100,000 people. Currently, Santa Cruz county is seeing 92 cases per 100,000 people — up from 11 last week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to end California’s COVID state of emergency on Feb. 28. That will mean a number of changes to the services we have grown accustomed to over the past three years. Mass vaccination and testing clinics will no longer operate, and after Nov. 11, health insurance companies will not have to completely cover COVID jabs, testing and medications.

Residents who do not have health insurance could lose access to free or low-cost care, as well as to COVID testing and vaccines.

The federal government is poised to end the national state of emergency May 11.

The updated, Omicron-targeting booster shot is now widely available at local drugstores and health care providers.

Walgreens is booked out about one week in advance at the Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz locations, but has openings at its Freedom location as soon as Tuesday. Safeway and CVS county locations now have immediate availability for people ages 5 and older who have received a primary series.

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Santa Cruz County’s three test-to-treat locations are still up and running. Click here to find the closest location.

Currently, Paxlovid is the available medication, showing an 89% reduction in hospitalization and death, and it must be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms to be effective.

Vaccinations and precautions are still strongly recommended.

The easiest way to schedule an appointment for second boosters is at local pharmacies including Rite-Aid, CVS and Walgreens.

Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health are still administering second boosters to eligible recipients.

Check our links below for quick access to the relevant websites.

Masking rules

Neither the state of California nor Santa Cruz County currently requires indoor masking. For county public schools, as of March 11, 2022, masks are optional though highly recommended.

As of April 10, 2022, masks are not required for most indoor settings at UC Santa Cruz facilities, though highly recommended. Masks will still be required for on-campus public transportation, in the Early Education Services centers, and in clinical settings.

On April 19, 2022, Santa Cruz Metro lifted its mask mandate for vaccinated passengers, following a federal judge’s ruling that mask mandates are not required on public transportation.

The latest numbers

How does Santa Cruz compare to California and the U.S. in vaccinations? Where are the most current COVID cases in the county, and how does that compare to population? Here is the most recent data.

As of Monday, there were 464 known active cases logged by Santa Cruz County’s Health Services Agency. This does not include unreported rapid tests taken at home, so this number is not exact.

No new deaths were reported, leaving the Santa Cruz County pandemic death toll at 276.

Wastewater COVID tracking data as of Sept. 27.
Wastewater COVID tracking data as of Sept. 27. Credit: Via California Department of Public Health

Where can I find a vaccine?

At this point, vaccines are widely available across the county. They are free for everyone, whether insured or not.

As of March 31, 2022, second booster shots are available to people aged 50 and older as well as people 12 and older who are immunocompromised or who have received Johnson & Johnson as their primary series and booster doses.

Rite-Aid, CVS, Horsnyder Pharmacy, Westside Pharmacy and Walgreens are currently offering second boosters.

Those wanting to get the shot through their primary care provider should check the company’s website, as availability may vary.

Health care providers

You can schedule appointments for initial doses and booster shots. Below are the local health care providers that offer the vaccine.

Kaiser Permanente
866-454-8855
Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation
844-987-6115
Dignity Health
831-288-6526
CruzMedMo
831-241-7501
Emeline Health Center
831-454-4100

Drugstores and supermarkets

Most pharmacies in the county have COVID-19 vaccines appointments available well into the future. Click the pharmacy of your choice to schedule an appointment.

Safeway
Rite-Aid
CVS
Walgreens
Costco
Horsnyder Pharmacy & Medical Supply
Westside Pharmacy

Getting tested

Citing declining cases, health officials have closed a number of testing facilities around Santa Cruz County. The table below lists testing resources around the county; almost all require appointments.

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