Santa Barbara County began a new COVID-19 vaccination chapter this week as officials expanded access to agriculture, food, emergency and education sectors in Phase 1B, kicking it off with a vaccination event for 500 farmworkers on Sunday.
The farmworker pilot program, held at the Santa Maria Health Care Center, was organized in collaboration with local advocacy organizations Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project, or MICOP, and Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, or CAUSE.
The groups helped to organize appointments directly with agricultural workers, and provided translation services and other resources in Indigenous languages at the vaccination site.
Vaccines for other Phase 1B sectors
Beginning this week, Santa Barbara County is required to allocate 30% of its vaccine supply to those in Phase 1B, with the remaining 70% to be allocated toward those 65 and older.
Public Health has organized specialized vaccine opportunities over the coming days for those working at grocery stores, the Food Bank, and in emergency services who have face-to-face contact with others. First dose appointments for those sectors were filled Tuesday and Wednesday at the county's two operating health sites — Santa Barbara City College's Wake Campus and Hancock College in Santa Maria.
More appointments for agricultural workers, as well as first appointments for educators and child care professionals, will be available later this week.
For those in TK-12 education and child care, the county Office of Education will organize around 1,100 appointments later this week in collaboration with Lompoc Valley Medical Center, according to office spokeswoman Valerie Cantella.
"Due to the vaccine shortage, the first grouping of vaccines has been allocated for those individuals serving our most vulnerable students who require support that does not allow for physical distancing, are medically fragile and are often unable to wear masks," Cantella said.
For the first round of appointments this week, educators must receive an invitation from their school district, charter or private school, she said.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Santa Barbara County, go to publichealthsbc.org/vaccine.
Daily COVID-19 cases
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 154 new COVID-19 cases over the Feb. 27-28 weekend, followed by 33 new cases on Monday.
COVID-19 cases confirmed in the county now total 32,050, with 346 cases still active and contagious, according to county public health data.
Over the weekend, 84 cases were reported Saturday, followed by 70 cases on Sunday, according to county data.
Four additional COVID-19 deaths also were reported between Friday and Monday, including two residents from Santa Barbara, one from Santa Maria and one from Orcutt. Three were over the age of 70 and one was between the ages of 30 and 49, with one death occurring in connection to an outbreak at a congregate care site, according to county data.
As of Monday, 413 COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed in the county.
The number of individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 has dropped to 59, including 17 individuals in the intensive care unit, according to county data.
In Santa Maria, 83 out of 10,782 total cases remain active and contagious and 148 individuals have died.
In Orcutt, 25 out of 1,697 total cases remain active and 26 individuals have died.
In Lompoc, 51 out of 3,364 total cases remain active and 43 individuals have died.
In the Santa Ynez Valley area of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, seven out of 945 total cases remain active and 17 individuals have died.
In the North County area of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama, and Guadalupe, five out of 1,228 total cases remain active and 20 individuals have died.
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported 44 new cases over the weekend, followed by nine new cases on Monday. Eight new deaths also were reported since Friday.
COVID-19 cases confirmed in the county now total 19,696, with 562 cases still active and contagious, according to county public health data.
As of Monday, 235 deaths from COVID-19 have been confirmed, according to county data.