Cases Are Rising. ACT NOW! Wear A Mask, Stay 6 Feet Apart, Avoid Crowds.

Click here to see SB County’s summary on COVID-19

33 Daily New Cases

Chart update: March 2, 2021.

 

Click here to view the County of Public Health’s vaccine schedule.

Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics continues to serve our community with high quality affordable healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of February 11, 2021, Santa Barbara County has been allocated by the state and has ordered from the government 70,100 COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Of those, 60,443 vaccines have been dispensed through out the county of 443,738 residents and 3.1% have been fully vaccinated. This figure includes those administered by the pharmacies. In spite of this small number, we have seen the numbers of new infections globally and in our community decline, due largely to the public safety measures such as masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing, though seasonality and reduction in travel are thought to play a role, as well. We have also seen a rise in variants such as the UK and South Africa mutations that are being carefully watched by public health folks. Happily, it is felt that these variants are still susceptible to the mRNA vaccines currently available to us.  However, the faster we can get vaccines into arms, the more likely we are to stay ahead of this curve. The community providers like Cottage, Sansum and the County have been leaders in this effort. SBNC, also, has designed and implemented a program to hold up our end.

Over the past 6 weeks, we have been able to vaccinate at events held on Saturdays and run largely with our own staff, with help from a few wonderful volunteers. Through this process, we have provided a total of 789 vaccines, of which 211 were second doses. As of yesterday, almost all of our entire staff are now fully vaccinated. The remainder of the vaccines went to other non-profit health care provider groups, who are important partners in the care of our patients, such as Planned Parenthood, See International, Domestic Violence Solutions. We have also inoculated a number of our patients who are home healthcare providers, as well as those who are 75 or over, in accordance with Santa Barbara County Public Health requirements.

Our plan, once there is a steady, consistent flow of vaccines, is to have a vaccination clinic in close proximity to our primary medical clinics, staffed by volunteer vaccinators, supported by a cadre of support volunteers, dispensing 150 vaccines a day, 5 days a week. Our planning team, Susan Lawton, MD, Associate Medical Director, Yessenia Marroquin, Director of Clinic Operations, Leslie Kearney, Director of Quality, and Taryn Ouellette, Vaccination Plan Coordinator, have designed an excellent plan which over the course of five vaccination events has been refined into a very efficient work flow system, and will be expanded to this larger plan.

Our first priority, of course, is to our 22,000 active patients, most of whom are people of color and low income. According to county data, the Hispanic/Latino residents represent 48% of the population but carry 57% of the pandemic disease burden and are responsible for 67% of the hospitalizations. For the health of the community and to help relieve the stress on the hospital system, protecting these folks must remain a priority for SBNC. While we are adhering to the county guidelines, only a small number of patients over the age of 74 receive their healthcare from us. Fortunately, the county has authorized the distribution of the vaccine to those 65 and older beginning Tuesday, February 16th, and hopefully soon thereafter to educators, day care staff, and other front line essential workers, who make up the vast majority of those we serve.

Currently, we are administering second doses to those whom we have administered first doses and will continue to do so until all required second doses have been completed. As the supply of vaccines increases, more of our patients will become eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. The state is in the process of contracting with a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to assume the task of distributing the vaccine to the certified immunization centers of which the Santa Barbara Community Clinics organization is one. Registration, enrollment and appointment scheduling will occur through a web based program known as myturn.ca.gov. For those lacking access to a computer or needing help executing an online application, SBNC will have volunteers available to assist. As this state run program is not yet operational, we will continue to contact our patients by phone based on their age, occupation and health status until the supply of vaccines increases. Our call center does not have the capability of scheduling the vaccination appointments, so we request that it not be utilized to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments .

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

Prevention

To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:

 

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet apart in distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people, especially outside your household and always wear a mask when doing so.

Symptoms

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

Most common symptoms:

  • fever.
  • dry cough.
  • tiredness.

Less common symptoms:

  • aches and pains.
  • sore throat.
  • diarrhea.
  • conjunctivitis.
  • headache.
  • loss of taste or smell.
  • a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes.

Serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • chest pain or pressure.
  • loss of speech or movement.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms.  Always call before visiting your doctor or health facility.

People with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy should manage their symptoms at home.

On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days.

Q&A

  1. Can adolescents catch COVID-19? Yes. All age groups can catch COVID-19.
  2. What should I do if someone in my family gets really ill with COVID-19? Immediately seek medical care if a member of your family gets seriously ill, for example develops difficulty breathing or feels pain or pressure in the chest. If possible, either you or an adult should contact your health care provider or COVID-19 hotline for instructions and find out where and how you could get care. If your family member is confirmed as having COVID-19, you must be prepared that you and other known contacts will need to isolate for 14 days and monitor symptoms, even if you feel healthy.
  3. I am on medication for a chronic health condition. Should I change anything? For people with chronic conditions such as such as asthma, diabetes, TB and HIV the most important thing is to continue your medication as prescribed, attend recommended check-ups and seek medical help if you have new symptoms. ALWAYS check with your healthcare provider on how to be protected from COVID-19 and continue your treatment as prescribed.
  4. I am feeling really anxious about COVID-19 and its impact on my life. What should I do? In situations like a pandemic it is very normal to feel anxious and powerless, many other different feelings: worry, frustration, sad, stress, anger and that is okay. We have licensed clinical social workers available for counseling and to go over your behavioral well being.
  5. I was in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but I feel fine. What should I do? If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, even if you feel well now, if is possible that you are also infected. It can take 2-14 days to show symptoms, so it may take up to 14 days to know if you are infected or not. Self-quarantine and check with your provider if you should get tested.
  6. I have symptoms that are consistent with those of COVID-19. What should I do? Whether or not you have been tested for COVID-19, if you are feeling sick, it’s important to self-isolate, rest, and monitor your symptoms. To determine if you should be tested, please contact your provider at 1-844-594-0343.
  7. What if I drink alcohol the night before I get my vaccination? Drinking alcohol won’t make the vaccine any less effective and shouldn’t make the side effects any worse than a hangover.
  8. Can I drive after getting the vaccine? SBNC staff will monitor all persons after vaccination to make sure they are okay before checking out. Typically watch time is between 15-30 minutes depending on each patient case.
  9. How long do I have to wait until I get my second dose of the vaccine? 28 Days.
  10. Why did SBNC choose Moderna vs. Pfizer? SBNC didn’t choose. We received the vaccine through the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health and we didn’t have a choice to pick, but are very happy to be the very first in receiving the vaccine.
  11.  What are the long term effects of the vaccine? Long term effects are still unknown; however, short term side effects are sore arm, possible fever, aches, fatigue. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can occur. We will be prepared to manage these short term side effects.
  12. Should I get the vaccine if I am breastfeeding or going through treatment? The two vaccines were not tested on pregnant or breastfeeding moms; however, there are no viruses in these products. They contain a copy of the “code” from which the virus makes the spike protein which it attaches to our cells. Once stimulated, our immune systems will make antibodies against that part of the virus rendering it incapable of attaching to our cell. Because of this mechanism, it is felt that theses vaccines are safe for pregnant and breast feeding mothers, as well as those hoping to become pregnant. The risk to the mom or breastfeeding baby from the actual COVID-19 infection is far greater than any risk from the vaccine that prevents it. There is no evidence or scientific basis for an effect on future fertility with the vaccine.
  13. Can you still get COVID-19 after taking the second dose of the vaccine? Yes, but there is a 94.5% chance that you won’t.
  14. Which similar vaccines have been FDA approved? Only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved by the FDA for EMERGENCY USE ONLY. There are no vaccines that have been fully approved without the Emergency Use determination. We do not yet know when any COVID-19 vaccine will get full approval outside the Emergency Use Waiver. The companies will continue to collect data on the vaccine and serious side effects and effectiveness to move forward towards full FDA approval and to recognize possible late presenting complications or contraindications.
  15. In terms of ingredients, how is this vaccine similar to others? Ingredients include the mRNA, Lipid carriers, salts, sugars and buffers, all common ingredients in foods and other medications. The vaccine ingredients are probably healthier for you than a soda pop!
  16. Are there any side effects with diabetic or hypertension medications? The studies included persons with diabetes and hypertension among other chronic illnesses and no known specific complications were identified and listed as contraindication to the vaccine.
  17. After the vaccine what should one do if they develop symptoms? If you have what you think are vaccine related side effects please inform your healthcare provider. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms you will need to be tested / or manage as if you didn’t get the vaccine since it is not 100% effective and there is a small chance you could still get COVID-19 disease.
  18. Will we need to still wear masks after the vaccine? Yes. Until most (>70%) of persons in the community are vaccinated there will still be the chance to get the infection. This level is when we may reach “herd immunity” and the disease will be mostly suppressed. If the virus can’t find a non-immune “host” it will die away. Like measles. Or mumps. Or chickenpox. Or smallpox. Or polio.
  19. How much does it cost to get the vaccine? Currently , the vaccine is being provided free of charge by the government in order to get the highest level of people vaccinated against the Corona virus. When we provide this to others we may bill a Vaccine Administration charge.
  20. If I get symptoms from the vaccine, do I need to isolate from my family members? No, you will not have COVID-19. These are side effects, not the disease.

Myth Busting

  1. Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body will protect you against COVID-19 and considered safe. FALSE, these substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes or worse, fatal incidences. DO NOT CONSUME.
  2. Once you get COVID-19, you will become immune and do not need to take the vaccine. FALSE, you can still get COVID-19 even after already being positive before. The vaccine decreases your risk of getting it by 94.5% after the second dose of the vaccine.
  3. People of all ages can be infected by the COVID-19 virus. TRUE, Older people and younger people can be infected by the COVID-19 virus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
  4. You can get COVID-19 through mosquito bites. FALSE, to date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus can be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
  5. The COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, is 94.5 % effective. TRUE, the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing severe COVID-19 after receiving the second dose, but there is still a small percentage of still getting the severe disease.
  6. The COVID-19 vaccine has a microchip for the government to track you. FALSE, the shipping container for the Pfizer vaccine contains a chip for tracking. The vaccine itself has no chip.
  7. People can get cancer or become infertile from the vaccine. FALSE, there is no reason to think based on science of the vaccine that it would cause cancer or infertility issues.
  8. There is a small amount of the virus inside the vaccine. FALSE, there is a new technology using something called Messenger RNA to stimulate the persons own immune system.
  9. The vaccine was developed too fast and isn’t safe to get. FALSE, well established vaccine technology that has been used for many years in other vaccines was utilized in the rapid development of these vaccines. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are the first to use mRNA (messenger RNA) to be effective, but mRNA technology is not new in other areas of the medical field. These are lean and clean and highly effective vaccines with very few ingredients, all of which are used commonly in medications and other products.
  10. COVID-19 can spread from your shoes. FACT, although it is extremely low. As a precautionary measure, particularly in homes where infants and small children crawl or play on floors, consider leaving your shows at the entrance of your home. This will help prevent contact with dirt or any waste that could be carried on the soles of shoes. 

Aerosols vs. Droplets