News of the week
Monday’s update of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency’s COVID case count showed 294 active cases. That’s 34 fewer 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 has also declined. Both Santa Cruz and San Benito counties have fallen into the “moderate” tier of community transmission, which means they are recording between 10 and 50 cases per 100,000 people. The neighboring counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo and Monterey remain in the “substantial” tier of community transmission, which means all are recording more than 50 cases per 100,000 people. Currently, Santa Cruz County is seeing 49 cases per 100,000 people — down 23 from last week.
Meanwhile, wastewater data for the county shows virus levels plateauing — a possible effect of the spring season commencing, leaving cold, flu and now COVID season behind.
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.
About a month ago, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education relaxed some of its COVID guidelines. That included allowing students to return to school on day 5 of having COVID if they’ve tested negative with a rapid test and have symptoms that are improving. The guidelines also apply to students who still have active symptoms, but at least 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without medications and the student has received a negative result from one PCR test or two rapid tests.
On Monday, Oakland Unified School District followed suit with some of their own adjustments, which include allowing students to return to class six days after a positive test with no further testing required — though the student will have to wear a mask through day 10. The same applies to staff, except they must test negative to return to campus on day 6.
We’ll keep an eye on the changing guidelines as the next phase of the pandemic continues.
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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.
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 294 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.
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.
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.
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.