COVID 2021

COVID PM: What does the UK variant’s appearance here mean for Santa Cruz?

Hey, congratulations to us — we’ve made it through another Monday everyone. Here are the highlights from the pandemic day that was:

VARIANT CONCERN? As the first case of the “B.1.1.7 variant” that originated in the UK was discovered locally, health officials say wearing masks and social distancing will be the antidotes to any major worries.
PLASTIC CUP HALF EMPTY? Efforts to curb disposable cup use by charging an extra 25 cents continue to be put on hold because of COVID-19.
SPRING BREAK RULE BREAKERS: Some college students admit to stretching the truth on pre-existing conditions to get the chance to party.

And now on to the extended version of those headlines...

UK variant detected in Santa Cruz County for the first time

A SARS-CoV-2 virus particle isolated from a patient with the B.1.1.7 variant from the U.K.

COVID TODAY: The first cases of the “B.1.1.7 variant” have been detected in Santa Cruz County, according to county officials. This is the highly publicized variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that was first detected in the United Kingdom and that scientists believe might be more transmissible. “We expected these variants to arrive in our county eventually,” Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said in a statement. “However, we must not let down our guard. ...” More from Mallory Pickett here.

The pandemic plastic cup delay

A plastic cup near San Lorenzo Park.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID ECONOMY WATCH: Santa Cruz County supervisors in late 2019 approved an ordinance that would require restaurants and stores that sell beverages in single-use disposable cups to charge an additional 25 cents for each cup. The measure was intended to reduce litter, waste and pollution, and encourage use of reusable cups. Originally, that cup charge was supposed to take effect on July 1, 2020. But in between that time, the pandemic hit, prompting the county to delay the launch — an extension that might continue until 2022. Patrick Riley has much more here, from the impact on businesses to the potential for a ballot question.

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...

From our content partners

Packed beaches, the staple of spring break.
(Via Pixabay)

Some dream — others scheme — to find a vaccine before spring break: It’s the second spring break of the pandemic, and rumors are abounding about people exploiting loopholes to get vaccinated in order to party. But some students who’ve been immunized were eligible because of where they work or underlying health conditions. More here from our partner Kaiser Health News.
Rural California schools have been open for months. It’s taken a learning curve: As schools in more urban parts of California debate the particulars of reopening campuses, their counterparts in rural Northern California may have lessons to offer. More here from our partner the LA Times.
California’s special-needs children still seek help after year adrift: Many parents report that their special-needs students have gone backward in development during the pandemic-isolating past year. More here from our partner CalMatters.

More from here & elsewhere

Top Fox producer dies from coronavirus (CNN)
Another Bay Area county opens vaccines to age 50 and over (SF Gate)
Spring break invasion of South Florida spurred on by cheap fares and lax COVID-19 restrictions (NBC News)
Vaccinated? Krispy Kreme will give you free doughnuts for rest of 2021 (SF Gate)
Texas Roadhouse Founder Kent Taylor Dies After Struggle With ‘Post-COVID’ Symptoms (NPR)

Some questions for you

Are you eligible for the vaccine but still hesitant or fearful and avoiding it? Tell us about that hesitancy.
Have you been eligible for the vaccine for a while now and are still having trouble getting it? We want to hear about that, and maybe we can help point you in the right direction.
Did you or someone you know become eligible to get the vaccine last week? Tell us whether you were able to make an appointment and how easy it was.

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

See you on Tuesday!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor