COVID Dashboard: Finally, a welcome dip in COVID, statewide and in Santa Cruz County

A man receives a COVID booster shot at a drive through clinic
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
An graphic image for the Lookout COVID Dashboard

News of the week

Cases on the Santa Cruz County dashboard have decreased yet again, going from 1,492 active cases last Monday to 1,248 this Monday.

County health officials have recently advised us to take those numbers with a grain of salt due to the popularity of at-home tests, many of which go unreported. However, recent data shows that these declining numbers could finally be an accurate reflection of the county’s and the state’s situation, they say.

Per the Los Angeles Times, California reported an average of 138,000 daily cases over the past week, a 12% dip. Though still a high count, any dip is a welcome sight.

Further, the “test to treat” program is accessible at two locations in Santa Cruz and one in Felton. The service offers consultations with a health care provider who will prescribe COVID-specific antiviral medication, if deemed necessary.

County health spokesperson Corinne Hyland confirmed that the locations are a one- stop shop for testing and treatment.

“When you go to one of these locations, you will be able to get a test and meet with a health care professional whether it be a physician, a physician’s assistant, or a nurse who will be able to authorize and provide you with the medication right away,” she said.

Currently, the locations are offering Paxlovid, which shows an 89% reduction in hospitalization and death. Medication must be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms to be effective.

Find the nearest “test to treat” site here.

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 1,248 active cases logged by the county. This does not include unreported rapid tests taken at home, so this number is not exact.

One new death was reported in the past week, raising the pandemic total to 263.

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
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

The sites below offer free PCR tests via LHI.care. 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.