Morning Lookout: An Unsung vax hero, Omicron arrives, UCSC goes back online
A soggy good morning to you, Santa Cruz County! Today is Wednesday, Dec. 22, and (get used to this) we’re looking at chances of rain throughout the day and highs in the low to mid-50s.
The latest installment of Lookout’s Unsung Santa Cruz series is first out of the gate this morning, with contributor Andrew Lachman profiling the emergency disaster management coordinator at Dominican Hospital who’s been a key piece of local vaccination efforts.
And the pandemic drumbeat continues, unfortunately, with the not-unexpected news that the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Santa Cruz County, as Lookout’s Max Chun reports. The threat of Omicron was a key factor in UCSC’s decision to begin next quarter online-only, Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda notes, with the university planning to ramp up testing.
The federal government is making another push on testing, too, with President Joe Biden announcing plans to send 500 million at-home kits to Americans — but how to gauge the impact?
To the headlines:
When his next emergency disaster became COVID, he immediately thought vaccine
Dominican Hospital’s Paul Angelo was instrumental in making vaccine care and outreach a top priority in Santa Cruz County. Read the latest chapter in our Unsung Santa Cruz series via contributor Andrew Lachman.
➤ THE FULL SERIES: Unsung Santa Cruz: Lookout highlights regular folks doing great things (Lookout)
Omicron in Santa Cruz
The first two cases of the Omicron variant in Santa Cruz County have been identified in a pair of residents from the northern part of the county. Get the details here from Lookout’s Max Chun.
➤ LOCAL VACCINE UPDATE: Rates, where to find a COVID shot or test; wait, cost and turnaround times (Lookout)
UCSC announces remote instruction for first two weeks of winter 2022 quarter
Citing the need to test returning students and concerns over the Omicron variant, UC Santa Cruz will start the winter 2022 quarter with two weeks of online instruction in early January. Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda reports on the latest pandemic chapter.
➤ SANTA CRUZ COVID UPDATE: Infections, hospitalizations, deaths and demographic data (Lookout)
Are 500 million at-home COVID test kits enough?
“Five hundred million tests sounds like a lot but it’s a drop in the bucket,” one doctor said. “We should be getting to the point of having at least twice a week testing for every American family.” Our partners at the Los Angeles Times ask the experts about the Biden administration’s latest COVID plan.
➤ FROM TUESDAY: Biden outlines new Omicron strategy, will order 500 million at-home tests for Americans (Los Angeles Times)
While the holidays can be a cheerful time for many, they can also be some of the most difficult times for others. Kaiser...
San Jose seeks mandatory COVID boosters, first California city to propose extra shots
If approved, the proposal would require San Jose city employees, as well as residents or visitors to city-owned facilities, to receive booster shots. Read more here from the Times.
➤ MORE PRECAUTIONS: Flying over the holidays? Here are tips for reducing your Omicron risk (Los Angeles Times)
Around the county ...
➤ Watsonville residents speak out about encampment (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
➤ Mannequin dressed as Santa taken from Watsonville Staff of Life (The Pajaronian)
➤ Driver found with four stolen catalytic converters (KION-TV)
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Stay safe out there, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.
Lookout Santa Cruz