COVID 2022

COVID PM: Much relief to go around for renters, landlords, athletes and ICU workers

We’re almost through yet another Monday, folks, and it’s been a busy one on many different fronts of this ongoing COVID recovery season:

RENTAL RELIEF: Struggling Santa Cruz County renters and landlords got much-needed news that $16 million in federal relief funds have been made available.
TEEN RELIEF: An already abbreviated and out-of-season high school football schedule was in jeopardy late last week when COVID testing protocols were in dispute. New guidance was handed down by the county office of education that clears the path back to the gridiron.
HEALTH SYSTEM RELIEF: Watsonville Community Hospital reported zero COVID-19 patients for the first time since November. Zero!

All that news and more in tonight’s headlines...

Rental relief on way for county tenants, landlords

File image of a door with a key
(via Pixabay)

COVID ECONOMY: Beginning today, Santa Cruz County tenants and landlords struggling financially amid the pandemic will be able to apply for a share of more than $16 million in federal funds to help pay their rents and utilities. The money is “available to low-income renters and landlords.” Patrick Riley has all the details, including how to apply, here.

No more high school football interruptions

St. Francis football players shake the rust off on their campus in Watsonville earlier this week.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID K-12: The Santa Cruz County Office of Education, like other school systems, has decided that once-a-week testing — as opposed to daily — testing of football players complies with state guidelines. Other key developments on Monday: Testing can cease for football if we move back into the orange tier and immediate household members will be able to attend games, rendering the empty bleachers of last Thursday’s Scotts Valley-St. Francis affair a thing of the past. I’ve got more for you on all these developments here.

A beautiful number: Watsonville’s hospital has zero COVID patients

Watsonville plaza on Dec. 15, 2020.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID TODAY: Watsonville Community Hospital reported no COVID-19 patients today for the first time since November, according to county emergency services director Dr. David Ghilarducci. Dominican Hospital has seven COVID-19 patients, Ghilarducci said, including an elderly couple who apparently had been eligible for vaccination. “We don’t know exactly who they are, what the barriers were to getting vaccinated,” he said, adding that the county has vaccinated about 84% of the 75 and older population. Mallory Pickett has the rest of the county details and data here.

Presented by Santa Cruz County Bank

Wild Poppies – a small local olive oil business – was created by two sisters, Kim Null and Jamie de Sieyes. Their...

More from here & elsewhere

Don’t freak out about ‘weird’ COVID-19 vaccine side effects. They may actually be a good sign. (SF Gate)
Latinos grapple with opioid overdose rise as pandemic triggers surge in U.S. use (NBC News)
WHO Points To Wildlife Farms In Southwest China As Likely Source Of Pandemic (NPR)
All nine Bay Area counties issue joint statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (SF Gate)
Covid vaccines and blood clots: Experts warn little evidence for concern (NBC News)
COVID-19 Data Miss A Lot Of People — Raising Questions (NPR)
Biden White House would welcome Trump’s help in promoting vaccine (CNN)

WE ASKED DR. G: And he answered...

(Yes, we flipped our normal script for a day because Mallory had a chance to ask Dr. David Ghilarducci the following...)

Q: Indoor dining is now allowed, would you do it? As a vaccinated or unvaccinated person?

A: Would I eat at a restaurant if I wasn’t fully vaccinated? I would not. I would eat outside. Would I do it now that I’m fully vaccinated? No, I don’t think I would because ... I could potentially pick it up from somebody and unknowingly spread it to other people. I think the chances of that are low, but we just don’t know. So to protect others I wouldn’t do it.

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


Tomorrow marks one year since Santa Cruz County’s very first shelter-in-place order was enacted. We’ll commemorate the occasion with a special Wallace Baine column sure to make you wistful for those once-simple pleasures we hope will soon return. You may just hear about it first from our special Morning Lookout newsletter.

Until then, cheers.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor