[Editor’s note: Noozhawk recently launched a weekly COVID-19 email newsletter that 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.]
I’m Brooke Holland, a Noozhawk staff writer, with this week’s COVID-19 Briefing.
This newsletter is a way for our readers to get all important updates in one place, including vaccinations, museum openings and some exciting news for the Class of 2021.
It is is emailed out every Wednesday, for free, to everyone who subscribes.
Here’s What We Know
» The Food & Drug Administration on Monday expanded the emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include children ages 12 to 15. “California parents and legal guardians can schedule appointments for young people in their families aged 12+ to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine using the statewide booking system starting Thursday morning,” according to the California Department of Public Health.
» Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department is getting ready for school-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics as soon as next week.
» Commencement season started with graduations at Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College. Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Many graduating high school seniors will be able to cross the stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas at in-person ceremonies throughout the county.
» Santa Barbara County remains in the orange tier of California’s reopening blueprint, with most indoor operations allowed with limited capacity.
COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
Half of all Santa Barbara County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to date, according to the county Public Health Department.
A woman holds a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital clinic in January. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo )
The county has reported administering more than 386,000 vaccine doses so far, with the most doses in the 30-49 age group so far.
More vaccination sites are allowing walk-ups now, with no appointments required, and the Public Health Department is sending teams of vaccinators across the county for pop-up, mobile clinics at workplaces, housing developments, community centers and shelters.
A new COVID-19 mass vaccination site is opening Sunday at the Santa Maria Fairpark Pavilion, with appointments and walk-ups available. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 20.
After being closed to the public for nearly six months due to the pandemic, MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation is welcoming back guests — and it’s not the only one.
From the Santa Barbara Zoo and historical museums, to museums featuring natural history and art, Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue’s new story includes everything you need to know about the latest hours of operation, how to book tickets and the newest exhibits.
The popular California Mid-State Fair is scheduled for July 21-Aug. 1 at the Paso Robles Event Center.
The Santa Barbara Fair & Expo is also back this year. It is slated for June 23-27 at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
County health officials on Monday reported zero COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized in intensive-care units.
“We have not been here during the whole pandemic,” Public Health Department director Van Do-Reynoso said during her Tuesday update to the county Board of Supervisors.
“This is the first time that we have zero COVID-19 ICU patients since we started tracking last April.”
There were 16 COVID-19 patients in local hospitals on Tuesday, including three people being treated in ICUs.
If I’m Vaccinated, Do I Still Need a Mask?
Everyone — whether they are fully vaccinated or not — is “advised to wear masks indoors when around other people they do not live with, regardless of the activity,” Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg wrote in a message to the community on Monday.
In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated mask guidance for fully vaccinated people, saying they do not need to wear a mask in most outdoor settings, except at crowded events.
“This is good news as it demonstrates that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of contracting the virus or experiencing severe symptoms from the virus,” Ansorg said.
People are considered fully vaccinated at least two weeks after they receive the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or at least two weeks after they receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC.
Watch the Latest County COVID-19 Briefing
The May 7 briefing includes updates from Public Health officer Henning Ansorg and Public Health director Van Do-Reynoso.
These regular briefings are now scheduled every other Friday, and the next one is planned for May 21, according to the county.
» Find more local pandemic-related information on the Public Health Department website and the county’s COVID-19 recovery page, with resources for business reopening, rental assistance, food assistance and more.
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