SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION)
UPDATE 1/22/2021 1:30 p.m. Santa Cruz County is preparing to move forward in vaccine distribution as case rates reach all-time highs.
Dr. David Ghilarducci, the Deputy Health Officer for Santa Cruz County, says the county is expected to move into Phase 1b of vaccinations next week. They are continuing to make sure members of 1a have access to vaccines, but said they can continue getting vaccinated as the county moves into 1b.
Phase 1b includes people aged 65 and older and those working in sectors that include: education, childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture, transportation, industrial and critical manufacturing. Those who are incarcerated or homeless in congregate settings are part of Tier Two of Phase 1b.
Ghilarducci says vaccine supply is still a concern as the county moves forward. He said the county could vaccinate more people than it has, but it does not have enough supply.
This comes as statewide hospital data is improving enough that the Bay Area region may be out of a stay at home order within the next two weeks, but Health Officer Dr. Gail Newell said there is still a surge at the local level. Last week, she said the county recorded a record high case rate. When the county was moved to the purple tier of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy in November, she said the county's case rate was 7 per 100,000, but it was recorded at 71 per 100,000 last week.
Ghilarducci said he has seen people express fears and hesitancy about the vaccine, but took a moment to address some of what he has seen. He said allergic reactions are rare and usually appear in those with a history of reactions, but they are easily treated and do not do any lasting harm. He said the occurrence is about 1 in 100,000. He also said that there is no evidence that it affects fertility, it is not possible to catch COVID-19 from the vaccine and that it does not alter DNA.
PREVIOUS STORY: Santa Cruz County health officials are planning to hold a news conference at 1 p.m. Friday.
They are expected to discuss developments related to COVID-19.
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency reports that there have been 12,533 total cases in the county, and 2,637 of those are active. Nearly 10,000 people have recovered, and 120 people have died.