COVID 2021

COVID PM: Everything we learned Thursday — and there was a lot

Hello and happy almost-Friday everybody. It was a newsy day in COVID-Land locally, beginning with multiple updates from county officials who offered up the following:

➤ The release of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could increase the county’s allotment by 50% beginning next week.
➤ People between the ages of 16 and 64 with certain underlying conditions will soon be eligible.
➤ A previously defined Phase 1c is no longer, so what to make of who comes after Phase 1b?

More on all of that below, plus a closer look at what newfound freedoms are opening back up to those who have been vaccinated. Plus, news about what the vaccination of teachers countywide is beginning to make possible for individual school districts.

To the headlines...

County health officials deliver the kitchen sink

Deputy health officer Dr. David Ghilarducci speaks during Thursday's press conference.
(County of Santa Cruz)

In their weekly update, county health officials Thursday gave a varied rundown on every category most could want: Who is now eligible and how to sign up? ... Who will be next after phase 1b? ... What to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? ... When will COVID-19 restrictions end? ... What becomes safer once you’ve had the vaccine? These questions and more pulled together by Mallory Pickett here.

COVID TODAY: For the latest data on vaccinations, COVID-19 positivity rate, hospitalizations and more, check out our daily roundup here.

You’re vaccinated — so what can you do now?

Hug

PANDEMIC LIFE: With about 5% of Americans having received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, many are wondering: What activities are safe? There’s still a risk if one person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and another person hasn’t been, experts say. Our LA Times content partner dug into the details of what you can and cannot do. And if you want more on the topic, The Atlantic also weighed in with its take: “A guide to America’s awkward, semi-vaccinated months.”

Back to class: Timelines for all 10 counties emerge

A child learns in person at a Santa Cruz Montessori school.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID-K-12: The county’s 10 school districts have mapped out phased returns to at least part-time in-person learning for elementary school students beginning in March. Nick Ibarra tells you when your district plans to start here.

Since 2012, the Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) has made it a point to celebrate and uplift women behind, and in front...

More from here & elsewhere

COVID-19 vaccines prioritized for California educators will focus on struggling communities (LA Times)
San Francisco teachers and schools finally reach COVID safety agreement, but not a date on reopening (SF Gate)
Traumatized and tired, nurses are quitting due to the pandemic (CNN)
‘We have to fight this together as one,’ President Biden tells governors of pandemic response (USA Today)
Harris coaxes Black communities to get vaccines, but distrust remains high (LA Times)
Coronavirus spreads readily in gyms when people don’t wear masks (LA Times)
Best Buy expected to close even more stores in 2021 than usual as consumers buy more online (USA Today)
We Still Don’t Know How Well Covid Vaccines Stop Transmission (Wired)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: When vaccinations open up for younger people with specific health problems that put them at risk, how do they schedule appointments and prove they meet the eligibility requirements? — Amy F

A: As of March 15, people between the ages of 16 and 64 with certain underlying health conditions (listed here) will also be eligible, though these will be administered according to “clinician discretion.” Chief of public health Jennifer Herrera said the county is currently in the planning process of ensuring that those patients have access to the vaccine.”

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

See you all tomorrow!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor