This week our CEO updates the community on the COVID-19 status of the hospital and CCC and the COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan.
Dear Lompoc Valley Community:
What happened on this date in history?
- 1894 - Coca-Cola began selling its first bottles in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
- 1912 - Girl Scouts of America was founded, with the first troop being 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia.
- 1959 - The United States Congress voted to admit Hawaii as the 50th state.
Covid Status at LVMC (Hospital and CCC)
- There continue to be no Covid positive residents at the CCC. (By next Friday, there will be a new visitation policy at the CCC, based upon new California Department of Public Health guidelines.)
- As of yesterday, there are no Covid positive inpatients at LVMC.
There are so many moving pieces on the vaccine front that it is hard to keep up, and whatever is said today might not be correct tomorrow. Nevertheless, I will try to “unpack” the local vaccine situation as it stands today.
- On four days this week, LVMC administered first dose vaccinations to a combination of educators and individuals 65+.
- Next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, LVMC will be administering first-dose vaccinations to educators and childcare workers. The Santa Barbara County Education Office is coordinating the scheduling for educators.
- LVMC now has a fully executed Vaccine Program Provider Participation Agreement with Blue Shield of California, the State’s third-party administrator. This means that we will continue to administer vaccines to community members going forward. Next week we will learn the effective date of the Agreement, but we expect it to be on or about April 1.
- We do not know what first dose vaccine allocation we will receive between now and the effective date of the Blue Shield Agreement. Whatever vaccine we do receive will come from the allocation that Santa Barbara County Public Health Department receives from the State. Therefore, our plans for first dose vaccine clinics beyond next week are not yet determined.
- We have been assured many times that we will be allocated the vaccine needed to provide second doses to those who received their first dose at LVMC. So, receiving your second dose will not be impacted by any of the developments discussed in this letter.
- Effective Monday, March 15, the State has expanded vaccination eligibility to include individuals with certain co-morbidities, age 16 and above. Information about the applicable co-morbidities can be found on the California Department of Public Health fact sheet, at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/vaccine-high-risk-factsheet.aspx When individuals in this category present at a vaccination clinic site, they will not need a letter from their doctor and will not need to show evidence of their co-morbid condition, but they will need to sign an attestation form attesting to the fact that they have an applicable co-morbidity.
- At present, LVMC is not scheduling vaccination appointments for individuals under age 65 with co-morbidities. However, if we are allocated sufficient vaccine next week or in the couple/few weeks, before the Blue Shield Agreement becomes effective, we will do so. At that point, we will work with our Lompoc Health clinics to identify applicable individuals, as well as make our vaccine request email and phone number available for individuals who are not Lompoc Health patients. But, again, at this time, we do not have a waiting list for those with co-morbidities. More to come on this.
- Once LVMC’s Blue Shield Agreement becomes effective, all “routine vaccination appointments” at LVMC will be scheduled through the State’s MyTurn scheduling website. (I say “routine appointments” because the Santa Barbara Public Health Department is exempt from the MyTurn system and will be charged with vaccinating “equity groups” and hard to reach populations. LVMC may assist the Public Health Department in doing these vaccinations in our community.)
- As mentioned, I expect LVMC appointment scheduling on MyTurn to go live sometime around April 1. In Santa Barbara County, Cottage Health went live on MyTurn earlier this week. Sansum Medical Group will go live soon. Other vaccination providers may participate with MyTurn sometime in the near future.
- Last night I went on myturn.ca.gov to “see what I could see.” As a test, I wanted to see if I could schedule an appointment. Although the website was fairly easy to navigate, there were no appointments available for residents of zip code 93436. Of course, that could change from day today.
- By the end of next week, we will be offering a free service to community members who would like assistance using the MyTurn vaccination appointment scheduling system. This might be of interest to those who do not have a computer or internet access or may not be the most tech-savvy. We will not have any special access to appointments, but we will be able to help individuals navigate the website upon request.
- The State makes separate vaccine allocations to counties in order to vaccinate individuals in “equity” groups and geographical areas. The more “equity vaccinations” are done, the more beneficial impact it has on the county receiving a greater vaccine allocation going forward and helps the county in its efforts to advance through the colored tiers (purple, red, orange, yellow). There are equity geographical areas in South County, Central County, and North County. The Lompoc Valley (the entire 93436 zip code) is in the “equity zone.” This means that the Lompoc Valley will get some of the focus of the Public Health Department in its efforts to administer vaccine doses from its special equity allocation.
- Although LVMC and other vaccination providers must still follow the State’s eligibility criteria, there seems to be a philosophical shift in the thinking at the State and County levels. It was, “give the vaccine to an ineligible person…go to jail” (figuratively speaking). Now it’s, “follow the rules, but the priority is getting the vaccine in the arms of people.”
- I hope reading this didn’t make your head spin as much as mine did writing it.
Chief Executive Officer