A staff member at a Santa Cruz County COVID-19 testing facility.
A staff member at a Santa Cruz County COVID-19 testing facility.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Morning Lookout: V-day is here, stay-at-home watch continues, 21 for ’21 event

Good Morning! It’s Monday, Dec. 14.

I hope you had a good weekend despite the rain. Today promises to be slightly chillier with a high of 57.

Before we get into this morning’s headlines — and a free, virtual event set for Wednesday on our “21 for ’21” series — I highly recommend our top story from over the weekend. Our Mark Conley spoke with surfer Wayne Kimba, a former Navy rescue swimmer who nearly drowned in the big swells at Pleasure Point early last week. Check it out here.

Also, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about how a Lookout membership works and how you can gift a membership for the holidays. We’ve put together some FAQs about our membership program to help you through the process.

With a vaccine headed our way — some are already dubbing it V-Day as the first shipments arrive — we’ve got a lot to cover. Let’s dive in.

All eyes on COVID-19 vaccine, stay-home order

The Vaccine scene: California’s first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, arrived here late last night. Officials at LAX airport tweeted photos of the momentous occasion.

Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse in New York State was among the first health care workers nationwide to be vaccinated this morning, NBC News is reporting.

Is it in Santa Cruz yet? As of last check, no. But the vaccine is expected to arrive here this week. Here’s our in-depth look at the county’s plan to get its first allotment of 1,590 doses distributed. And keep an eye out for more on this developing story throughout the day.

Stay-home watch continues: We managed to avoid a stay-at-home order over the weekend as ICU bed availability remained at greater than 15% throughout the Bay Area region, which includes Santa Cruz County. When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the order, he predicted ICU capacity would dip below that threshold by today, prompting the order to take effect in most California counties. Keep up with the latest on our COVID TODAY blog, which has been updated this morning to include the latest case counts.

The ICU capacity question: Calculating ICU capacity isn’t as simple as “take the number of ICU patients and divide it by a number of beds.” We’ve posted this explainer from one of our content partners, the LA Times, that delves into what’s driving the number.

21 for ’21: Sign up for our free panel discussion

A flyer promoting the 21 for 21' event with host Wallace Baine

We’re stepping into the new year with eyes on recovery and healing after a painful, volatile year. As we continue our 21 for ‘21 series that profiles change-makers in the community who will be instrumental in rebuilding Santa Cruz in the coming year, we want to invite you to be part of the discussion.

Our Wallace Baine will visit with community leaders Wednesday to reflect on the lessons of this year and talk about plans for the next. Our panelists include activist Esabella Bonner, city economic director Bonnie Lipscomb, Ruby Vasquez of the Campesino Appreciation caravan, and county Supervisor Ryan Coonerty — all of whom have been or will be part of our 21 for ‘21 series. You can sign up for the event here.

With rain upon us, here’s a debris flow safety check

More rain is in the forecast later this week. It’s a reminder that after the devastation wreaked by the CZU fire, the winter rainy season will bring an unprecedented risk of debris flows and mudslides. Last week, Santa Cruz County officials urged residents in evacuation zones to fill out this emergency contact form by Wednesday.

We want to help Santa Cruz mountain-dwellers and those living in the evacuation zones be prepared for the potential devastation. To that end, our Mallory Pickett put together a helpful guide that includes an interactive map of the evacuation zones, a checklist of things to pack in your go-bag, and even what you should do when you hear sirens or what sounds like a freight train. Check out the guide here.

We’re so close’: After decades, Cotoni-Coast Dairies land inches closer to public opening

Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument, the 5,800-acre nature expanse eight miles north of Santa Cruz, came one step closer Friday to opening to the public, as the California Coastal Commission approved the federal Bureau of Land Management’s use plan for the area.

“The planning process has been many years in the making,” said Ben Blom, the BLM Central Coast field manager. “We’ve gone through this exhaustive process over 22 years to try to get people out to the property, and we’re so close. It’s a spectacular place and people deserve to be able to see it.” Read about when the Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument is expected to open and what restrictions are in place.

Third time’s not a charm for crab season

Meanwhile, Monterey Bay crab fishermen are faced with barely a couple days to bring crab in before Christmas. The reason? Friday evening, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the commercial crab season had been delayed for the third time this year. The season, which was originally supposed to open on Nov. 7, will now open Dec. 23, leaving barely any time for fishermen to sell before the holiday — typically their most lucrative time of year. Read more here.

That’s it for now. A quick reminder, as we publish stories throughout the day, try bookmarking our website, and one of the easiest ways to stay on top of the latest news is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor