News of the week
Monday’s update of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency’s COVID case count showed 307 active cases. That’s 35 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. Santa Cruz’s neighboring counties of San Benito, Santa Clara and San Mateo are now in the “moderate” tier of community transmission, which means they are recording between 10 and 50 cases per 100,000 people. Santa Cruz County, however, is still in the “substantial” tier, which means the county is seeing 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 people. As of Monday, the county was recording 61 cases per 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, wastewater data for the county shows virus levels mostly plateauing — an expected trend as the weather warms up and cold, flu and COVID season winds down.
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.
What we’re reading
More than three years after COVID’s emergence, it’s easy to forget that there is still much to be learned about the virus. A Reuters article on new research from the University of Miami speaks to that reality. Researchers reported what they believe are two confirmed cases of the virus crossing a mother’s placenta and causing brain damage in utero.
The infants quickly showed signs of developmental disabilities, and both suffered from seizures immediately from birth. One child died at 13 months and the other remains in hospice care.
Health care professionals had hypothesized that COVID could affect infants in the womb, but these are the first two confirmed instances of the phenomenon. Doctors believe this is a rare occurrence, but recommend women infected during their pregnancy tell their children’s pediatricians so that they can monitor for developmental delays.
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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 307 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.
Sutter/Palo Alto Medical Foundation
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
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.