[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 staff writer 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 out every Wednesday, for free, to everyone who subscribes.
Here’s What We Know
» In the week ending Nov. 14, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 125 COVID-19 cases. The previous week had 216.
» As of Monday, there were 25 coronavirus-positive people hospitalized in the county, with five in intensive-care units.
» Santa Barbara County remains in the Centers for Disease and Prevention’s low COVID-19 community level.
COVID-19, Flu and RSV Prevention
Health-care providers are reminding the community to take precautions during the holidays 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 serious RSV cases, spokeswoman Maria Zate said this week.
“RSV is a common cause of respiratory infections in people of all ages, and most children have had the virus by age 2,” she said in a statement. “Infants younger than 12 months old are at the highest risk of severe disease, but older children and adults also get infected and usually have mild symptoms like a regular cold.
“RSV can be a serious problem for premature infants and young infants, young children, older children with asthma or chronic lung disease, and older adults. These groups may have more serious infections and trouble breathing.”
Nationwide hospitalization rate for RSV-associated patients age 0-4 for the past five years. (CDC illustration )
Santa Barbara County is reporting higher-than-usual levels of influenza and RSV.
Across the United States, the CDC reports higher-than-usual RSV-associated hospitalization rates. The highest rate is reported in children 4 years old and younger.
The most recent seasonal influenza report shows low flu activity in Santa Barbara County, although there is more activity than previous years for this early in the season.
The latest weekly report shows that local hospital labs have reported a 9.2% testing positivity rate for flu, which the Public Health Department said was “significantly higher compared to this time prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Hospital labs in Santa Barbara County show a higher test positivity rate for flu than usual for this early in the flu season. (Santa Barbara County Public Health Department illustration)
The county also said there have been more cold- and flu-related 9-1-1 patient transports to hospitals by paramedics compared to mid-November 2021 and 2020.
COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
According to the California Department of Public Health, about 69.6% of Santa Barbara County residents have received the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 16.8% of residents have received the bivalent booster dose.
Only about 3.4% of children under the age of 5 have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and about 32% of children ages 5 through 11 have received the vaccine.
Adults aged 65 and older have the highest vaccination rate at more than 95%, followed by those aged 50 through 64, at 84.1%, and adults aged 18 through 49 at 72.2%.
About 63.1% of children ages 12 through 17 have completed the primary series of the vaccine.
According to the Santa Barbara County dashboard, county providers have administered a total of 926,205 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Readers have sent us dozens of questions about pandemic-related issues. Please send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to include them in future newsletters and Noozhawk Q&As.
» Find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you on the Vaccine Finder search function of https://www.vaccines.gov/search/. You can search for providers by location and by specific vaccine available (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 providers in English, or text your ZIP code to VACUNA (822862) for a list in Spanish.
» Find more local pandemic-related information on the Public Health Department website.
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