COVID Dashboard: Santa Cruz County health says cases are plateauing, but diligence still necessary

A man receives a COVID booster shot at a drive through clinic
(Irfan Khan / Los Angles Times)
An graphic image for the Lookout COVID Dashboard

News of the week

COVID cases have been steadily increasing locally, with 14-day rates ranging from 30% to over 100% in early May. That could be changing.

On Monday afternoon, Santa Cruz County’s Health Services Agency said cases have plateaued over the past week. Last Monday, the county reported 1,717 active cases. This Monday, that number was down to 1,715.

For full coverage of this week’s developments, please see what county health officials had to say.

Still, this does not account for unreported at-home positive tests that could contribute to an undercount.

The Bay Area remains the state’s hotspot, though, with nearby Santa Clara and Monterey counties showing seven-day positivity rates of 8.2% and 5.8% as of May 18, last Wednesday. California’s positivity rate stood at 5.5% as of Saturday.

Locally, cases dropped from 1,717 to 1,715, a notable change of direction from the previous month’s curve.

No new deaths were recorded locally in the past week.

The United States recently surpassed 1 million COVID deaths — the worst loss of any industrialized nation and 10 times the death rate of Australia.

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, masks are optional though highly recommended.

As of April 10, 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, 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 1,715 active cases logged by the county. This does not include unreported rapid tests taken at home, so this number is not exact.

No new deaths were reported in the past week, keeping the pandemic total at 262.

14-day average; data as of May 17.
(Via Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency)

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, 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
Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Dignity Health
Emeline Health Center

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.

Horsnyder Pharmacy & Medical Supply
Westside Pharmacy

Getting tested

The sites below offer free PCR tests via Turnaround is typically three to five days.

Mountain Community Resources
6134 Hwy. 9, Felton
Depot Freight Building
119 Center St., Santa Cruz
Watsonville Testing Site
500 Westridge Dr., Watsonville

The table below lists additional testing resources in Santa Cruz County. However, almost all require appointments.


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