COVID 2021

COVID PM: Stay-home order might be over soon, event wrap-up

Happy Friday, Santa Cruz people,

Our update on all things COVID doubles as a breaking news alert this evening: The stay-at-home order might be lifted within two weeks. More on that in a bit.

Thursday night’s big Lookout event went very well, and I want to thank those of you who reached out to me and said so yourself. A bigger thank you to panelists Dr. Gail Newel, Marm Kilpatrick and Erica Padilla-Chavez.

As our Patrick Riley details, there was a very strong theme focused on the equity of the vaccine distribution process here and statewide. That theme got more attention on Friday when county health leaders held what is becoming a weekly state-of-the-state address on the pandemic.

Here’s the skinny on that, the latest COVID numbers locally (including 10 new deaths) and the usual selection of partner content and important reads from elsewhere. Be sure to tell those who should be in the know to sign up for this newsletter and my text alerts here. They can also just text “Covid” to (831) 508-7524.

Stay-home order might be lifted within 2 weeks, but...

Health experts

County health officials said the state of the pandemic locally is improving but is still worse than much of the state. They also warned that the current pace of vaccination remains slow, mostly due to limited supply — which could impede plans for ramping up what could be a large-scale vaccination hub at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.

County health officer Gail Newel said, despite improvements in the Bay Area Region (yes, she’s hearing an end to the stay-at-home order is near) she remains very concerned about what lies ahead here: “At a local level we very much remain at a surge, our hospital census data and our ICU capacity remains very concerning. We jumped from 56 cases per 100,000 [people] per day to 71.”

READ MALLORY PICKETT’S STORY HERE

COVID TODAY: Ten new deaths were reported Friday, bringing the county total to 130 — and there continued to be no available ICU beds at county hospitals. Go here for more of those details.

VACCINE WATCH: Dignity Health announced Friday it has now given 5,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to phase 1a health care workers in Santa Cruz County. See more new details here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s a race between how fast we can get the people vaccinated, and how fast the virus is getting between us,” Marm Kilpatrick said during our Lookout event. Watch it here.

More from here & elsewhere

Laura Smith, a special education teacher at the El Dorado County Office of Education gets vaccinated for Covid-19 on Jan. 15.
(Courtesy El Dorado County Office of Education)

‘Tedious, stressful’: Why older Californians are still struggling to get vaccine (CalMatters)
Inconsistent vaccine supply, lack of state coordination complicate teacher vaccinations (EdSource)
State activates MyTurn vaccine clearinghouse website (CalMatters)
As COVID soars, so does unemployment in California (LA Times)
California now ranks dead last in administering COVID-19 vaccines (SF Gate)
Vaccine update: What we know in the 9 Bay Area counties now (SF Gate)
Moderna and Pfizer need to nearly double COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to meet goals (NPR)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: What about people who are high risk because of health issues such as leukemia? Will they have any higher priority? — Kim

(We were able to ask the county for their interpretation of this and spokesperson Jason Hoppin told Lookout the following.)

A: Unless they are over 65, those individuals are currently in phase 1C. However, the state is shaking up the system as far as we know, so we will have to wait and see what comes forth.

Have a question for us to try and get answered? Submit it here or just reply to this email.

Have a safe — and great — weekend!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor