An estimated 65% to 75% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses allotted to Santa Barbara County have been administered, while most of the statistics used to evaluate the status of the virus in the county are showing a downward trend, according to a report delivered Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.
Although appointments have already been made for the 35% to 25% of doses remaining, the report did not indicate when additional doses may arrive or when the vaccination effort might move to the next level of priority.
In response to a question from the board, County Public Health Department Director Van Do-Reynoso said wasted doses are not a problem in this county but didn’t specifically say no leftover doses had been administered to ineligible individuals.
“Our overarching goal is to have no vaccine wasted,” she told supervisors, adding that waste in this county is “less than 1% if not at 0%,” and said her department is following up on complaints of abuse and monitoring patient lists.
Although not included in Do-Reynoso’s report, about 29,200 of the county’s total doses were provided as first vaccinations, a Public Health Department spokeswoman said, and 15,625 were provided as second doses, which are required to give an individual full immunity to the virus.
Second-dose allocations consisted of 6,825 doses of Pfizer vaccine and 8,800 doses of Moderna vaccine, and providers were allowed to use up to 50% of their second-dose allocations to provide first doses, said Jackie Ruiz, department spokeswoman.
“We currently don’t have data on how many providers chose to use their doses as such,” Ruiz said.
Do-Reynoso also provided breakdowns of how the 44,825 doses allocated to the county were distributed by area and type of provider.
Of the total, 25%, or 11,025 doses, were allocated to Santa Maria, with 10%, or 4,600, allocated to Lompoc and 20%, or 8,800 doses, allocated “countywide,” meaning they were assigned to the Public Health Department’s community vaccination sites in all three cities.
The city of Santa Barbara received 43%, or 19,500 doses, and another 2%, or 900 doses, were allocated to Carpinteria.
Separate from that total, Dignity Health received 12,955 doses as a multicounty health provider, which includes Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.
By provider, clinics and hospitals received the bulk of the doses, with 50% going to three hospitals — Marian, Lompoc Valley Medical Center and Cottage Hospital — and 42% going to 11 clinics, one with five locations and another with four.
Then 7% went to the three pharmacy chains — Savon and Ralphs and Vons pharmacies —providing vaccinations at a combined seven sites, and 1% went to four health care providers, one of which has six locations.
Responding to concerns that some individuals, especially those 75 and older, are having difficulty making appointments online, Do-Reynoso said the process should become easier soon with the rollout of a new app.
Do-Reynoso also reviewed the county’s COVID-19 statistics from roughly December to the present and gave an overview of the business sectors allowed to open after the statewide stay-at-home order was lifted Monday.
With the stay-at-home order lifted, the county’s metrics for testing positivity and care rate per 100,000 residents put it deeply into the purple tier of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy, according to Do-Reynoso’s report.
However, both metrics showed a decreasing trend, as did the number of patients on ventilators, the rate of new cases by area and the number of active cases.
“The good news is that over the last two weeks we’re seeing a decrease [in new cases] in most of our county areas,” Do-Reynoso said, adding that only Isla Vista showed an increase while Santa Barbara’s number remained static.
Do-Reynoso said cumulative recovered cases increased 31%, and cumulative deaths rose 34%, but the number of active cases fell 23%.
She credited the statewide stay-at-home order for slowing, then reversing the prior increasing trend in COVID-19 statistics during the winter period when the spread of the virus was expected to be at its worst.
“We are still in a very precarious moment in our state and county,” she added, noting the Public Health Department will continue to ask people to wear masks and practice social distancing and other precautions.