Cat & Cloud
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Student Lookout: COVID update, Biden’s visit and a great spot for coffee

Greetings, Slugs and Seahawks,

Wait … is that … the sun? After the weekslong torrent of rain, winds and various infrastructure damages, the sun looks to be making its return to Santa Cruz — which I’m sure most of you have enjoyed quite a bit. My week off might have been gloomy and soaking wet, but it was a nice excuse to take it easy and cook some delicious comfort food.

Bomb cyclones aside, I’m hoping for more rain before we enter the warm months. But maybe a little mellower this time around, yeah?

If you are a student and haven’t signed up for your FREE Lookout membership yet, click the link. If you want text updates for this newsletter, enter your phone number below. Not only will you get unlimited access to all of Lookout, but you’ll also receive Student Lookout text alerts every Friday with exclusive deals, local recommendations, puzzles and more. So what are you waiting for?

All right, let’s kick this off …

Deals Download

Check out these student discounts:

  • Students (and teachers) get 10% off at Well Within on Thursdays.
  • HoM Korean Kitchen offers 15% off for students.
  • Seymour Marine Discovery Center offers free admission to UC Santa Cruz students and 25% off for all student tickets.

Best Deal of the Month: CineLux $5 Ticket Tuesdays

CineLux Theatres are now offering $5 movie tickets on Tuesdays. You can purchase your ticket online or in person. What a deal!

Good Eats

Cat and Cloud ($ - $$)

Yeah, yeah, I’ve mentioned breakfast a few times now, but as a breakfast burrito enthusiast, I have one more to throw at you. Cat and Cloud serves up tasty breakfast burritos with eggs, crispy potatoes, chipotle sauce and bacon at all its locations except for the Abbott Square spot. Vegan and vegetarian options are available, so there really is something for everyone. Its beverages aren’t half bad, either. Check out the full menu to scope its other food offerings.

If you love food, be sure to check out the work from our local food expert, Lily Belli. Recently, she talked a little more about the county’s various fungus festivities. In February, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History will hold mushroom-themed classes and other activities from nature journaling to mushroom walks. Even if you don’t feel like attending these events, if you’re a big fungus fan, this wet weather has worked wonders for their growth all around the county. Take an afternoon stroll and forage for yourself (safely please!!).

Inside Santa Cruz: What to know about COVID, flu and more as winter trudges on

Jeffrey Toth, RN, administers a coronavirus PCR test
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

With the beginning of the semester falling in the same week that Santa Cruz was inundated with waters from the clouds and from our own waterways, it’s easy to forget that we’re still in the thick of “sick” season. Not to mention the fact that college congregate-living facilities are like petri dishes for contagious illnesses. That said, while new COVID subvariants have popped up here and there, our local situation is looking good currently.

Cases for all three of the major illnesses spreading this winter — COVID, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — are dropping
A “tripledemic” of all three of these illnesses was a serious concern among health care professionals at the beginning of the winter, especially since the flu presented earlier in the season than usual. RSV, while typically mild for healthy adults, can cause serious illness and hospitalization in children and older adults. The county saw some of its highest numbers of emergency room visits in December due to all three viruses surging at once, but now, both wastewater tracking and hospital visits reflect that we are moving in the right direction. Paul Angelo, Dominican Hospital’s disaster coordinator, told me that Dominican has seen fewer patients for all three illnesses since the beginning of 2023. Each week, he said, the hospital has been seeing about five to 10 fewer patients than the week prior.

Santa Cruz County’s bivalent booster uptake is low, but better than state and national numbers
The latest booster that targets Omicron and its subvariants has been available for a few months now, but that hasn’t led to a whole lot of people opting for it. Currently, just 31.1% of those eligible have received the bivalent booster. Still, that’s above the state’s 22.9% average, and about double the nation’s meager 15.9%. On the bright side, about 55% of the county population aged 65 and older have received the booster. Since that group is the most vulnerable, that heightened uptake rate is encouraging. However, only 18.2% of the nation’s 18-and-up crowd (that’s you) has received the booster.

The subvariant quickly becoming the dominant iteration of the virus, XBB.1.5, is immune-evasive — but vaccines and antivirals still work
It seems like we’re always hearing this, but, yet again, the latest uber-transmissible Omicron subvariant has shown the ability to evade vaccine protection, meaning that infection is much more possible than before, even if you have been boosted. However, the booster has continued to protect people from severe illness, and available antivirals like Paxlovid remain effective in treating an infection. So, if you haven’t gotten your booster, now is a great time. And if you test positive, contact a physician or medical clinic and inquire about Paxlovid.

toad fitness group

Around Town - Events

Did you know that we have an events calendar? BOLO, which stands for Be On the Lookout, is our hub for the best events in the county. See all the listings here.

Here are upcoming events we think students need to know about:

Tidepool tour — king tides, Saturday, 8:30 a.m., 2-3 p.m.
King tides — the highest tides of the year — happen only about twice annually. One of those times just happens to be this weekend. If you get out to the coast by 8:30 a.m., you can catch the high tide for yourself, and reconvene at the Natural Bridges State Beach Visitor Center at 2 p.m. to observe the major difference in water height and check out the plethora of creatures in the tide pools.

SubRosa — Fábrica open hours, Saturday, 2-5 p.m.
Knitting, crocheting and sewing were popular pandemic hobbies, and if you’ve kept up with it, then this might be for you. This workshop, held at SubRosa Community Space a block away from Kaiser Permanente Arena toward the south end of Pacific Avenue, is run by volunteers and funded by donations. You can share and learn knowledge about sewing, knitting, quilting, embroidery, crochet and more. Head over to browse equipment and connect with folks who share the same hobbies.

Housing Matters and Collective Santa Cruz’s H.O.U.S.E. Party, Thursday, 6-9 p.m.
Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Housing Matters and community event organizing group Collective Santa Cruz are teaming up for a lively night centered on the goal of ending homelessness at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History downtown. The event name stands for H(elp) O(vercome) U(plift) S(upport) E(mpower), and will feature live music, comedy performances, food and craft vendors and even an interactive scavenger hunt. Tickets are $10. Come out, get involved and have fun.

➤ Want more? If you’re still looking for great things to do, check out Wallace Baine’s Weekender here.

Puzzle Center

Try out this week’s crossword puzzle with clues about the ocean. If you like this, visit our puzzle center for more!

Lookout Job Board

Are you looking for a job? Check out our job board for Santa Cruz County openings.

More local jobs: Browse more open positions on the Lookout Job Board.

With this stretch of clear skies set to continue, shoot me a text and let me know if you have any sunny-weather plans for this weekend. Also, let me know what your favorite outdoor spot is in the county. I’m gearing up for spring already and want to make an effort to explore more of the area’s natural beauty.

Talk to y’all next week!

— Max

If you have recommendations on places we should feature next week, pass them along and we’ll send you a free Lookout T-shirt. Email your ideas to