This week our CEO updates the community on the latest of COVID Vaccines, the Surgical Services Status, New COVID Cases, COVID Hospitalizations.
Dear Lompoc Valley Community:
What happened on this date in history?
- 1925 - The first all-female US State Supreme Court was appointed – Texas.
- 1935 - The “King of Rock and Roll” – Elvis Presley – was born. (At age 86, I think he is still alive…please check all 7Elevens.)
- 1958 - Bobby Fischer, a 14-year old boy from New York, received the title of U.S. Chess Champion. This was considered “a miracle,” being as young as he was.
- LVMC has administered approximately 700 “first doses” of vaccine, comprised of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The 700 includes both LVMC healthcare workers and healthcare workers outside of LVMC. It also includes residents of the CCC. This Wednesday we began administering the second doses to those who had received the first dose.
- I know that community members are anxious to receive the vaccine, and rightfully so. The California Department of Public Health has very recently had a change of philosophy and has issued new guidance. Now, if a Vaccination Program Partner, like LVMC, has remaining vaccine inventory, and has made a good faith effort to offer the vaccine to all individuals in the highest risk tier, they can start moving down through the other tiers with the goal of getting as many vaccinations “in the arms” of as many people as possible. LVMC will be doing that. However, at this moment, I do not have more specific information to provide. My hope is that by next week’s update I will have something more definitive to report.
- According to a published report, California ranks 39th out of the 50 states in regard to administering the vaccine doses that have been distributed to the State. The report indicates that 22.82% of the doses distributed to California have been administered as of January 7. However, in Santa Barbara County, the figure is approximately 54%. If Santa Barbara County was a State, it would rank 4th in the Country.
Surgical Services Status
- You may recall that earlier in the pandemic hospitals limited elective and non-urgent surgeries. At that time, the main reasons for doing this were to limit patient “traffic” in the hospital to minimize exposure to Covid for patients and staff, and to conserve PPE. Now, the issue of limiting surgeries has risen again, but for different reasons. Hospitals now have sufficient PPE and have become very proficient at limiting exposure to Covid for patients and staff. The pressing issues now are the availability of hospital beds, particularly ICU beds, and the sufficiency of nurses and other clinical employees to staff the beds. Some hospitals in the area have already limited surgeries.
- LVMC has not limited surgical procedures at this time, but is prepared to implement its surgery scheduling protocol should it become necessary. It is expected that next week the State will issue a Public Health Order for the region that includes Santa Barbara County, which will address several areas, including delaying non-urgent surgical procedures. But, again, until further notice, at LVMC all scheduled surgeries and procedures remain on the schedule.
New Covid Cases.
- This week (the seven-day period ending 1/7/21) there were 223 new Covid cases in the Lompoc Valley compared to 118 for the prior 7-day period. For Santa Barbara there were 487 new Covid cases compared to 321 the prior week. For Santa Maria there were 827 new Covid cases compared to 564 the prior week. From these numbers we can see that, after adjusting for population size, the rate of new Covid cases in the Lompoc Valley remains well below that of Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. However, the rate of increase in new Covid cases is higher in the Lompoc Valley than in the two other areas. Any way we look at it, the number of new Covid cases, and the positivity rate, is increasing.
- Regrettably, the number of Covid positive inpatients at hospitals in Santa Barbara County continues to rise. As of yesterday, the total number of patients was 191, compared to 148 last week. Of the 191, there were 58 in ICU. At LVMC there are a total of 12 Covid positive inpatients, with 5 in ICU. This patient volume in the County is putting tremendous strain on the hospitals, and particularly on the patient care staff. The three hospital systems in Santa Barbara County are working together very closely, and in conjunction with Santa Barbara County and other stakeholders, and have been able to manage the situation effectively. As difficult as it is here, there are other parts of the State that are in much more dire situations. We believe things will turnaround soon, and until they do, we will all be doing everything we can to meet the needs and expectations of our respective communities.
Chief Executive Officer