COVID 2021

COVID PM: The vaccine news seems to be getting better for the 65-plus crowd

Happy Monday, friends.

While talk continued elsewhere about the challenges of opening schools back up for in-person learning, there were no big advancements here in Santa Cruz County. Lookout will continue to monitor the situation as teachers insist on being vaccinated before they return to campus.

The news was largely positive on the case positivity front and on the vaccination front. There was word of a new clinic opening in Watsonville, and word from plenty of you readers that the 65-and-up floodgates were slowly nudging open. More on both of those below.

I hope you’ve been finding COVID PM useful and want to thank you for your many questions and comments. This thank-you includes a special offer to become a Lookout member as, beginning later this week, access to a small amount of the content on our website will be limited. Don’t worry, COVID PM and all of our Lookout breaking news email and text alerts will remain free.

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To the headlines we go...

Data trend stays the course

Vaccine

COVID TODAY: Active case numbers for Santa Cruz County declined to 1,240 today. The most recent seven-day positivity rate is 5.6%, which is lower than the state average seven-day positivity rate of 10%. And the hospitalization numbers continued to improve as well. More from Mallory Pickett’s daily roundup here.

Hospital data

What we know about the OptumServe site

Vaccination.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

VACCINE WATCH: More doses are on their way via a vaccine program that mirrors the COVID-testing facility at Ramsay Park in Watsonville put on by OptumServe. This clinic will be taking 65-and-over patients, but for now will be limited to certain ZIP codes. Go here to find out which ones those are and all the other pertinent details.

#ICYMI ... meet Alexandra Rocha-Alvarez

Alexandra Rocha-Alvarez
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

PEOPLE IN THE PANDEMIC: If you haven’t yet read the story of Alexandra and her family, you should. The 20-year-old junior at Yale majoring in American Studies is well into her second semester of distance learning back home in Watsonville. To say that gives her Ivy League education a different look and feel would be a major understatement. Read Nick Ibarra’s story here.

More from here & elsewhere

Schools walk the tightrope between ideal safety and the reality of COVID (Kaiser Health News)
The battle over schools reopening heats up. What are the facts? (CNN)
U.K. coronavirus variant spreading rapidly through United States, study finds (SF Gate)
Why the U.S. is underestimating COVID-19 reinfection (Kaiser Health News)
As alcohol abuse rises amid pandemic, hospitals see a wave of deadly liver disease (LA Times)
My mother got vaccinated. Is it now safe to visit? (NPR)
Tom Brady’s parents watched him win Super Bowl in person after scary COVID-19 episode (LA Times)

Bradys
(Via Youtube)

I asked, you answered ...

If the emails and texts I’m getting are any indication, the 65 and older vaccination situation is improving rapidly. Here’s the latest from your fellow readers and residents...

This morning I was just able to go onto the site: https://myoptumserve.com/ And get an appointment in Watsonville for my first and second Covid vaccines one month apart. My first one is Feb.15. I got the same permission through the UC Women’s Club. Maybe this information can help others. — Marielle S

I just turned 65 and I received a call from The Women’s Clinic who I haven’t been a patient of for about a year and they said I could come in and get a vaccine. I didn’t even have to call them. They said I could also speak to a medical doctor if I had questions about the vaccine before getting a vaccine. Thanks for your news reporting! — Abbi D

I’m a Kaiser patient and their communication is that they are just opening up for 75 and over. Then I got the email from the county about Sutter offering vaccines for non-Sutter patients. My husband and I hopped on it and we got our first shots at the Flea Market location Saturday. It was quite an operation out there. Made me tear up thinking we’re having to go through this and that this is happening all over the country. Not sure if they’re happy tears or sad. It ran smoothly and just so many people involved. Crazy times! — Susan O

I called Sutter even though I’m not affiliated with them and secured an appointment in Tracy for my first dose for next Thursday morning! The wait was about 50 minutes. I would have never tried Sutter if I hadn’t read the stories you included in your email. Thank you. Thank you. — Janis O

I was on PAMF’s website Wednesday afternoon for an unrelated appointment, and I noticed a new option to schedule a Covid vaccination appointment. I just turned 65, so I’m eligible now. Clicked on the link, and the first time around, got a timeout response. Tried again, and saw many appointments available for Friday. Scheduled one at the old drive-in. It was very organized, and felt like an assembly line. It feels like vaccinations are finally kicking into gear. — Dieter R

Kaiser is still saying they are vaccinating health care workers and those over 75. They do not have enough vaccine to start with the over-65s. Kaiser Northern California apparently has almost 700,000 members over 65 and they just don’t have enough vaccine for them yet. They’re still vaccinating health care workers and 75+. — Lois S

Got my first dose on Saturday. PAMF communication was abysmal & contradictory; but the drive thru clinic was well organized & a pleasure. — Brenda B

Got more valuable insights to share? Pass them along.

That’s it for tonight. See you tomorrow! And THANKS.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor