[Editor’s note: Noozhawk’s weekly COVID-19 email newsletter is delivered to subscribers on Wednesdays. You can sign up here. We are republishing the newsletters on the website so more readers have access to them.]
Welcome to Noozhawk’s weekly COVID-19 briefing.
I’m Noozhawk staffer Serena Guentz with the latest COVID-19 news in Santa Barbara County.
This newsletter is a way for Noozhawk readers to get important updates in one place.
It is emailed to all subscribers for free every Wednesday.
Here’s what we know
» In the week ended November 14, the Santa Barbara County Health Department reported 125 COVID-19 cases. In the previous week there were 216.
» As of Monday, 25 coronavirus-positive people were hospitalized in the county, five of them in intensive care units.
» Santa Barbara County remains in low COVID-19 community level by Centers for Disease and Prevention.
COVID-19, flu and RSV prevention
Healthcare providers are reminding the community to take precautions during the holiday season to prevent the spread of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Cottage Health, which operates Santa Barbara, Goleta Valley and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospitals, is seeing an increase in severe RSV cases, spokeswoman Maria Zate said this week.
“RSV is a common cause of respiratory infection in people of all ages, and most children had the virus by the age of 2,” she said in a statement. “Infants under 12 months are at highest risk of serious illness, but older children and adults can also become infected and usually have mild symptoms, like the common cold.
“RSV can be a serious problem for preterm infants and young children, young children, older children with asthma or chronic lung disease, and older adults. These groups can have more serious infections and breathing difficulties.”
Nationwide hospitalization rate for RSV-associated patients aged 0-4 in the last five years. (CDC figure)
Santa Barbara County reports above-average levels of influenza and RSV.
In the United States, the CDC reports higher than usual RSV-associated hospitalization rates. The highest rate is reported in children aged 4 years and younger.
The most recent seasonal flu report shows low flu activity in Santa Barbara County, although there is more activity early in the season than in previous years.
The latest weekly report shows that local hospital labs reported a 9.2% test positivity rate for flu, which the health department said was “significantly higher than at this time before the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Hospital labs in Santa Barbara County are showing a higher than usual flu test positivity rate for this early point in the flu season. (Santa Barbara County Health Department image)
The county also said there had been more 9-1-1 cold- and flu-related patient transports by paramedics to hospitals compared to mid-November 2021 and 2020.
COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
According to the California Department of Health and Human Services, about 69.6% of Santa Barbara County residents have received the first series of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 16.8% of residents have received the bivalent booster shot.
Only about 3.4% of children under the age of 5 have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and about 32% of children aged 5 to 11 have received the vaccine.
Adults aged 65 and over have the highest vaccination coverage at over 95%, followed by 50 to 64 year olds with 84.1% and 18 to 49 year olds with 72.2%.
About 63.1% of children aged 12 to 17 have completed their primary vaccination course.
County providers have administered a total of 926,205 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Santa Barbara County Dashboard.
Readers have sent us dozens of questions on pandemic-related topics. Please send yours to [email protected] and we will try to include them in future newsletters and Noozhawk Q&As.
» Find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you using the Vaccine Finder search facility at https://www.vaccines.gov/search/. You can search for vendors by location and by available vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson). You can also find providers on the county website, publichealthsbc.org/vaccine, or at myturn.ca.gov. Some facilities offer walk-ups as well as appointments.
» Text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) for a list of vaccine suppliers in English, or text your zip code to VACUNA (822862) for a list in Spanish.
» There are free COVID-19 testing facilities throughout the county.
» More information on local pandemics can be found on the Health Department website.
» Click here for full coverage of Noozhawk’s coronavirus crisis.
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