Santa Barbara County public health officials are growing more concerned about the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to the county, with officials saying the 45,000 total doses allocated so far are not enough.
The shortage of vaccines is being experienced by most counties in the state, county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said, at a time when case rates, deaths and hospitalizations are reaching peaks far higher than that of the summer surge.
According to county vaccine data, just under 20,000 have been administered in Santa Barbara County, enough for around 2% of the population to be fully vaccinated. Some doses still are being delivered by the state, and it is unclear how many actually have been received by the county.
"When we look at the number of people who’ve been vaccinated, we are concerned as well. We will continue to advocate for our community members," Do-Reynoso said. "This week we ordered all the vaccines we were allocated, and we said we would like to be put on the waiting list for 20,000 more doses when they become available."
Santa Barbara County is continuing to administer vaccines to health care workers and other frontline workers in Phase 1A, along with residents 75 and older, a group that includes around 30,000 people.
While Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that counties could begin to vaccinate those 65 and older, Santa Barbara County is continuing to wait until more vaccinations become available. Even then, the process for another 30,000 individuals in that group could drag out, officials said.
"Even the over-65-year-olds are a very large group of people. It will take several weeks or months to vaccinate them all even if we get more vaccines," county Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said.
He added that as vaccine rollout plans develop under the new presidential administration, the county could begin receiving daily allocations of around 1,200 doses within the next couple weeks. Allocations are currently updated on a weekly basis.
Around 81% of the county's vaccines have being given to providers like hospitals, clinics and urgent care centers, with the remaining 19% kept by the Public Health Department to administer at point-of-dispensing sites in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara, Do-Reynoso said.
All appointments for residents 75 and older at these sites are booked, with more appointments to be announced in the near future.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Santa Barbara County, call 211 and select option 4, or visit publichealthsbc.org/vaccine.
Residents also can sign up for a newsletter with county vaccine updates at signup.e2ma.net/signup/1937902/1753150/.
Daily COVID-19 cases
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 238 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, along with 11 deaths from the illness.
The number of total confirmed cases in the county now is 25,986, and 2,176 cases remain active, according to county public health data.
Friday's 11 deaths included eight individuals over the age of 70 and three between the ages of 50 and 69. Five were residents from Santa Barbara, two from Orcutt, two from Goleta, one from Santa Maria and one from the unincorporated North County area, according to county data.
Seven deaths also were associated with an outbreak at a congregate living facility. Confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the county now total 260.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have dropped since earlier in the week, with 187 individuals now hospitalized. This includes 50 individuals in the intensive care unit, according to county data.
While case rates and test positivity rates are beginning to slow down slightly, officials said the county can expect to see high hospitalization numbers for the next few weeks.
In the city of Santa Maria, 537 out of 9,014 total cases remain active. One hundred and seven individuals have died.
In the community of Orcutt, 71 out of 1,386 total cases remain active. Sixteen individuals have died.
In the city of Lompoc, 223 out of 2,678 total cases remain active. Twenty-one individuals have died.
In the Santa Ynez Valley areas of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, 91 out of 758 total cases remain active. Twelve individuals have died.
In the unincorporated North County areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, 62 out of 1,004 total cases remain active. Sixteen individuals have died.
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported 209 COVID-19 cases on Thursday for a total of 16,437 confirmed cases, with 2,085 still active and contagious.