COVID 2021

COVID PM: Some movie news without tears, a Blue Shield deal with an equity shield

Hey, happy Friday, everyone. The news remained predominantly positive as we head into the weekend so we can have no complaints about that. Here are the touch points:

A BLUE SHIELD COMPROMISE: Santa Cruz County will retain its control of vaccine distribution but allow Blue Shield to handle getting the precious cargo here.
FEEL-GOOD MOVIE NEWS: A day after we cried in our popcorn over the potential loss of a Santa Cruz classic, the Nick, we learned that another venerable staple that we thought we’d lost has been rescued.
A CALIFORNIA PROMISE: Gov. Gavin Newsom made the bold proclamation that California should be able to offer vaccination to all residents within 5½ weeks.

More on those headlines...

Blue Shield can deliver vaccine, county will distribute it

Santa Cruz County Chief Health Officer Gail Newel as photographed on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

VACCINE WATCH: After initially pushing back against any dealings with Blue Shield of California, primarily over concerns of equitable distribution, Santa Cruz County will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California Government Operations Agency that will allow Blue Shield to oversee how the vaccine arrives here, but the county will remain in control of how it gets distributed. Mallory Pickett has more on how this will work.

COVID TODAY: Santa Cruz County stays on its current track with a downward trend. Check out all the latest data here.

Phew ... Cinema 9 will get a pandemic reboot

COVID ECONOMY: Call it the best downtown Santa Cruz theater news we’ve heard all week. A new operator is stepping in to take over the Cinema 9 — and rebrand it under a new name — in a deal that will see the movie house reopen by the end of the month. The positive news for a downtown battered by the pandemic comes one day after Wallace Baine reported on his discouraging interview with the owner of the Nick. As for the 9, read all the details on the new operator here.

Vaccine for all Californians by May? Newsom thinks so

Vaccine

VACCINE WATCH: “We’re anticipating within 5½ weeks where we can eliminate all of the tiering, so to speak, and make available vaccines to everybody across the spectrum because supply will exponentially increase,” the gov said during a briefing in the Bay Area. For more on that from the LA Times, go here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

Student Housing West offers the best route to creating more affordable housing for students and reducing housing...

More from here & elsewhere

Finland was the world’s happiest country again last year despite Covid-19’s impact (NBC News)
California still trails many states in COVID-19 vaccinations. When will that change? (LA Times)
CDC eases school COVID guidance, allowing desks to be closer (LA Times)
Biden supports the COVID-19 hate crime bill: What would it do? (LA Times)
NorCal doctor remixes ‘My Shot’ from ‘Hamilton’ in video to promote COVID-19 vaccine (LA Times)
US military says a third of troops opt out of being vaccinated, but the numbers suggest it’s more (CNN)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy found out he had Covid-19 and never knew it (CNN)
Oakland Coliseum only giving out second doses of COVID-19 vaccine (SF Gate)
‘Vaxications,’ catch-up trips and pent-up demand fuel travel surge (NBC News)
COVID-19 Outbreak Forces Idaho Legislature To Close Its Doors For Weeks (NPR)

ASK LOOKOUT: We answer your questions . . .

Q: I’d like to specifically get the J&J shot when I become eligible. Is there a way to determine who’s giving what? — Mark M

A: It will depend a lot on what the vaccine landscape looks like once you become available. As it stands now, with vaccine supply severely limited, you can’t choose what kind you get — and medical experts advise you should take the first vaccine available, regardless which it is. Safeway is the one entity that seems to have an option to choose, but they also don’t have any appointments available, illustrating the low supply issue.

Three local nonprofits - Homeless Garden Project, Save Our Shores, and Teen Kitchen Project - are working hard to...

Q: Is there any estimated date for when the next oldest age cohort (e.g., age 60 and over) will be eligible to get vaccines in Santa Cruz County? — Elena C

A: Currently, age-based eligibility is limited to those 65 and older. But on Thursday county health officer Dr. Gail Newel said her estimate is that when another 20,000 first doses are administered here, eligibility could be expanded to those between 50-64 years old. This could happen, “I would say perhaps in another two weeks,” she said.

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

Have a great weekend. See you all Monday!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor