The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced Tuesday three new groups are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, along with the return of high school sports.
Emergency service workers, food and agriculture workers, and teachers and staff in education and childcare are now able to sign up to get vaccinated. The county plans to use a 70/30 vaccine rollout: 70% of available doses will go to healthcare workers and adults 65 years and older, and 30% of available doses will go to the newly eligible groups.
With the county's adjusted case rate below the 14 per 100,000 threshold (13), high-contact sports can resume practice. Weekly testing will be required for coaches and football, rugby, and water polo players 13 years and older. Test results must be available within 24 hours of any competition. Athletes and coaches must wear masks.
Over the last two weeks, cases, hospitalizations, and ICU rates all decreased by more than 30% in Santa Barbara County, but the number of deaths has increased by 17%. Officials say while the county is on the right track to move into a less restrictive tier, it’s still vital to continue social distancing and wearing masks.
The county will look at a plan later this week to vaccinate those in higher education. Officials do not know when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed to the county, along with how much will be allocated.