COVID 2021

COVID PM: Trying to make some sense of the foggy vaccination situation

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It was a day for trying to find clarity in the mud that is vaccine distribution. And there were, of course, steps forward and backward in the process.

Our content partner Cal Matters dug in deep on the issues that continue to plague the state, and those issues were reflected in the information we received from the local health systems we’ve been touching base with. In short: The vaccine scramble continues, with sometimes conflicting messages. This newsletter is a bit later than usual tonight because we were awaiting responses to our questions.

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To the headlines...

Cutting through the vaccine cloud

Vaccine decisions.
(Via Pixabay)

As California state health officials continued to struggle with supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Santa Cruzans and others eager to get them, the three major health systems that serve patients here were scrambling to set realistic expectations amid the unreliable supply. Dignity Health Medical Group-Dominican is offering vaccines to any patients 65 and older, a contrast to both Kaiser Permanente and Sutter/PAMF, who are only vaccinating those 75 and older at this time.

Late in the day Sutter/PAMF sent an email to patients saying that “we anticipate opening vaccination to patients who are age 65 and older later this week. . . . We’re doing everything we can to meet demand, but we expect wait times on our phone scheduling line will remain high.” More from Mallory Pickett on that topic here.

VACCINE WATCH: Those latest developments above plus everything else you might need to know about getting vaccinated in Santa Cruz County can be found here.

Local trend continues, but variants provide pause

A scene at a Seneca Diagnostics testing site in Santa Cruz County.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID TODAY: In all, 55 new cases were confirmed on Monday, according to county statistics. This is much less than the high of 336 cases confirmed on Dec. 31, but is still significantly higher than the average of about 30 new cases per day that the county was seeing in the summer.

The improving local picture comes amid concerns that, statewide, more variants of the virus are being detected. A coronavirus variant from Brazil has been detected in a sample from the Bay Area, underscoring the urgency of ramping up inoculation efforts as researchers try to learn whether it, as well as others circulating in California, could undermine the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. More from Mallory and the LA Times here.

More about the music

Bill Welch.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

SPECIAL REPORT REDUX: Wallace Baine detailed the muddled present and anticipatory future of the local live music scene because of the pandemic yesterday — one that will go on without Moe’s Alley owner Bill Welch, who is calling it quits after 28 years. But we wouldn’t let him go without running down his favorite acts. He did that for Wallace and Lookout here.

A LITTLE COVID RELIEF: In the wake of Wallace’s pandemic music story, we asked for your favorite local music memories. Here are a few — including two from musicians. After the ’89 earthquake, Bobby McFerrin brought Voicestra to the Civic, and they offered a fundraiser with Tandy Beal dancers. Fabulous! Claire Paul ... Performing in the Coconut Main Ballroom. The old Good Times ball in particular 🎵🎶Toby Gray ... The Banana Slug String Band had a major blast with our sold-out Rio show for our 25th Anniversary. Slugs and Roses had a Peak experience performing & jammin with the Merry Pranksters @ Don Quixotes for the 1st annual commemorative celebration of the First Acid Test! The Puffball Collective had a funky good time playing at the awesome Mountain Sol Festival a few years back. — Doug Dirt Greenfield

OK, enough with the fun stuff

Coronavirus variant from Brazil found in California (LA Times)
Anti-mask Councilman Tito Ortiz keeps Huntington Beach mayor pro tem title (LA Times)
UC San Diego will open a COVID-19 vaccination superstation on campus (LA Times)
Biden Administration will ship COVID-19 vaccines directly to pharmacies (NPR)
NFL to allow 22,000 fans at Super Bowl LV, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers (CNN)
The NFL is providing free PPE kits to Super Bowl attendees upon arrival at the stadium (CNN)

#BOLO

We received word late this afternoon that the first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic specifically targeted to agricultural workers in Santa Cruz County will be held at Casserly Hall in Watsonville on Wednesday. The clinic is a partnership between Dignity Health Dominican Hospital, the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau, and the California Strawberry Commission.

A farmworker at Lakeside Organic in Watsonville on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

They anticipate vaccinating approximately 1,000 local agricultural workers over two days and, according to a press release put out by Dignity, “helping to create 1,000 new ambassadors within the farm worker community who can speak to the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine.” As Lookout reported last week, one of the primary concerns about farmworker vaccination is a mistrust within the community. Be On The Lookout for information about how this effort at Casserly Hall goes.

Until next time...

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor