LVMC Community Update, January 21, 2022

Written by Steve Popkin on

This week our CEO updates the community on Covid hospitalizations, Covid peak/decline, vaccination/boosters, clinics, staffing.

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This week our CEO updates the community on Covid hospitalizations, Covid peak/decline, vaccination/boosters, clinics, staffing.

Dear Lompoc Valley Community:

What happened on this date in history?

  • 1945Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for an unprecedented (and never to be repeated) fourth term as United States President.
  • 1982 – Heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat on stage in Des Moines, Iowa (hopefully the bat was not carrying Covid).
  • 1977 – United States President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

Quote of the week

“Persistence overshadows even talent as the most valuable resource shaping the quality of life.” --Unknown

COVID Comments

Hospitalizations

  • Within Santa Barbara County there are approximately 150 Covid positive hospitalized patients, with 15 receiving ICU care. Of these, 23 are at LVMC, with 4 of those in ICU.
  • There has been a lot of talk in the media about patients being hospitalized with Covid, rather than for The hospitals in the county do not quantify and report data regarding “with vs. for,” but we do review it every day. Based on observation, 30%-40% of Covid positive patients are hospitalized with Covid rather than for Covid. A common example of this is a patient who is admitted to the hospital to deliver a baby, and tests Covid positive upon admission. The number of Covid hospitalized patients is also artificially high throughout the county due to significant delays in transferring patients from the acute hospital to skilled nursing facilities.

Covid Peak/Decline

  • We all know how inaccurate Covid predictive models have been in the past, but as time goes on and more is known about Covid, the models are expected to be more accurate. The Mayo Clinic’s model shows that, nationally, Covid cases will peak and begin its “abrupt decline” by the end of this month. In the words of a member of Mayo’s predictive analytics task force, "It doesn't mean, okay, everything's behind us. People are still going to get infected on the way down — just as many on the way down as on the way up. And some of those infections are going to produce severe illness. It's not something to take lightly. But, we will likely not have subsequent peaks. We're likely going to be heading down for the foreseeable future."
  • The most important Covid metric right now is the number of Covid positive hospitalizations, particularly because of severe staffing shortages and hospital bed capacity issues. According to the Hospital Association of Southern California, which encompasses the seven counties from San Diego to Santa Barbara, Covid hospitalizations in all but two of the seven counties have already peaked and are on the decline. The two counties that have not yet officially peaked are San Bernardino County and Santa Barbara County.  There are predictive models that show Santa Barbara County peaking as soon as a week from now, and others indicating mid-February.  Covid hospitalizations at hospitals in Santa Barbara County increased significantly and rapidly over the past few weeks.  However, over the past few days, the number of hospitalized patients has stabilized, albeit at a high level. That is leading to optimism that our peak is near.  Keep in mind that hospitalizations are a trailing indicator, so as Covid cases decline, hospitalizations should decline 1-2 weeks later. Historically, Covid case rate and hospitalization rate in Santa Barbara County lagged Los Angeles County by about two weeks, both on the way up and the way down. We will see if that is the case this time.

Vaccination Clinics

  • We continue holding vaccination clinics at the hospital every Wednesday for children age 5-11. However, due to low demand, the two clinic times have been combined into one, which will be from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
  • For community members age 12 and older, we continue holding vaccination clinics at the hospital every Thursday from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, and every Friday from 12:30 pm to 6:00 pm.
  • For all vaccination clinics, appointments may be scheduled at ca.gov and walk-ins are welcome.
  • We continue to provide first, second, and booster doses. Except for the children, the vast majority of individuals are coming to our vaccination clinics to receive the booster dose.  

Vaccination/Boosters

  • The percent of Santa Barbara County population that is partially vaccinated and/or fully vaccinated continues to creep up at approximately the same pace as it has for the past few months.
  • The number of county residents who have received a booster dose is approximately 132,000, which equates to about 30% of the entire county population, and about 43% of the county population that is fully vaccinated.

Staffing

  • The biggest operational issue facing all hospitals in Santa Barbara County, and throughout the state, is staffing, particularly clinic staffing. Just as hospitalizations are soaring (Covid and otherwise), there is a huge number of staff who are out for Covid related reasons. For LVMC, that includes both at the acute hospital and the Comprehensive Care Center. This has resulted in some elective surgeries having to be postponed. We are hopeful that this issue is improving, as the number of staff out today is less than it was yesterday and the day before. Our staff are going the extra mile and doing a tremendous job making sure we can continue providing excellent care to our patients.

Thank you for your continued support, it is very much appreciated. As always, please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (805) 737-3301.  Until next time, be well and stay safe!

Steve Popkin

Chief Executive Officer

Steve Popkin
Written By Steve Popkin, Chief Executive Officer
Stephen D. “Steve” Popkin became Chief Executive Officer of LVMC in February 2019. Mr. Popkin has more than 32 years of experience in senior health care management, including 18 years in Chief Executive Officer positions.