Dear Lompoc Valley Community:
What happened on this date in history?
- 1919 – After nearly 100 years of British control, Afghanistan declared itself independent (ironically).
- 1934 – The first All American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton, Ohio.
- 2020 – Apple became the first U.S. company to be valued at $2 trillion, just two years after it reached a $1 trillion valuation.
Quote of the week
“Discretion is being able to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice.” -Unknown
COVID-19 and Vaccinations
Keeping It All Straight
Over the past couple of weeks, Covid information in the media seems to be all over the place: Vaccines work great…vaccine effectiveness is waning. You need a booster shot…you don’t need one. If you had Covid you are immune for 3 months…18 months…10 years…not at all. If you had Covid you still need the vaccine…or not. Masking for children is lifesaving…or harmful, etcetera, etcetera.
Anything one wants to believe can probably be corroborated by an “expert” in some media report. But if we strip away all of the peripheral opinion, speculation, and interpretation, virtually all experts agree that individuals 12 and older are better off being vaccinated, and that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks (excluding the very small percentage of the population where vaccination is contraindicated).
The FDA recently approved Pfizer and Moderna booster shots (a third shot) for individuals who are severely immunocompromised. LVMC will be offering booster shots to qualifying individuals who complete and sign an attestation form indicating that they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott Aldrich syndrome
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress immune response
It is recommended that:
- The third dose be received at least 28 days after the second dose.
- When possible, receive the same vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) as the first two doses.
- Talk to your doctor about the need for a third dose and the best timing of a third dose.
United States agencies are preparing to make Pfizer and Moderna booster shots available to the general population beginning September 20. The booster shots are to be received at least eight months after the second dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still being evaluated as it relates to booster shots.
LVMC Vaccination Clinic
We continue to operate our vaccination clinic on Friday afternoons. We have seen some increase in the demand for first doses each of the last two Fridays, compared to the previous five weeks. This could be due to a combination of reasons: the resurgence of Covid infections; the more contagious Delta variant; vaccine mandates by universities and government entities; vaccine mandates by private employers, etc.
With booster shots for the general public on the near horizon, we expect vaccination demand to increase significantly. Therefore, we are preparing to ramp back up the number of days and hours per week that we operate our vaccination clinic.
According to county-reported data, new Covid cases are down very slightly from the previous two-week average. Active Covid cases are up 19% to 783. Covid positivity rate increased from 6.8% to 8.6% over the past two weeks. By comparison, the California 7-day positivity rate is 6.1%
Covid hospitalizations are on the rise in Santa Barbara County. The number of hospitalized patients is 63 as reported by the county. From personal knowledge, it is higher than that. The majority of hospitalized patients are in North County. LVMC currently has 9 Covid positive inpatients, up from 5 two weeks ago. 1 of the 9 is receiving ICU care. 2 of the 9 patients are vaccinated.
I won’t go through all the figures this time, but in Santa Barbara County 63.5% of the eligible population (12+) is fully vaccinated. This represents a 2.6 percentage point increase from two weeks ago. That is a greater increase than each of the last few two-week periods. By comparison, 65.0% of the eligible California population is fully vaccinated.
The California Department of Public Health interactive website shows the Lompoc zip code (93436) having 46,237 residents 12 and older, with 63% having had at least one vaccine dose, and 54% being fully vaccinated. Although the state and county data do not always reconcile, the 54% is significantly lower than the comparable 63.5% for Santa Barbara County overall. South County has a significantly higher fully vaccinated percentage than does Central County and North County.
Here are just a few of the “goings-on” at LVMC:
- This week we took delivery and installed a state-of-the-art Da Vinci XI Single Console Robotic Surgery System. This Robotic Surgery System provides the surgeon with superior vision and enhanced dexterity, which allows for greater precision and the ability to perform minimally invasive procedures involving complex and delicate dissection or reconstruction. Benefits of robotic surgery include shorter hospitalization; reduced pain and discomfort; faster recovery time; smaller incisions, resulting in reduced risk of infection; reduced blood loss and transfusions; and minimal scarring.
- Last month we made two major purchases of Diagnostic Imaging equipment. We are now in the process of replacing and significantly upgrading our PET/CT Scanner and MRI.
- The new PET/CT scanner will allow for lower radiation doses and lower Molecular Imaging (PET) doses; has significant diagnostic image enhancement features; performs cardiac scanning; has shorter scanning time for faster throughput; and can serve patients weighing up to 500 pounds.
- The new MRI is much faster and quieter, for a better patient experience. It has Computer-Aided Diagnosis (CAD) capabilities, which enables benefits such as prostate cancer screening. It has a larger bore size and increases the maximum weight from 350 pounds to 500 pounds.
- Due to construction requirements, the new CT/PET Scanner is expected to be installed and operational by the end of November. The MRI will be installed immediately thereafter.
- Under the direction of Drs. Farida Bounoua and Christopher Taglia, LVMC established a Bariatric Surgery Weight Loss Program. After performing the requisite number of bariatric surgeries (50), LVMC applied for MBSAQIP accreditation. This accreditation is the “gold standard” and is under the auspices of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, through their joint Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. Last week, LVMC underwent a virtual site visit and accreditation survey by MBSAQIP, which we passed with flying colors. We were granted their highest level of accreditation: Comprehensive Center. (We will receive our official accreditation notice in a few weeks.)
- We are proud that our LVMC Vaccination Clinic Team was chosen by the Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce as its 2021 “Health Care Sector Honoree.” At the Annual Awards Banquet it was mentioned that the Team has administered more than 24,000 vaccine doses to community members. Congratulations to the employees, volunteers, and physicians who are part of the LVMC Vaccination Clinic Team!
A huge thank you to the following individuals for providing 260 Subway lunches for our LVMC staff. It was very much appreciated by all!!
Pastor Ron Wiley - Grace Temple Baptist Church; Pastor Sherrick Bracy - St. James Baptist; Pastor Calvin Tucker - New Life Ministries; Pastor Ron Cockrell - Rivers of Living Waters; Pastor Darrell Tullis - The House of the Lord; Sherman Vernon - JSmoov.
Chief Executive Officer