SANTA CRUZ — Punxsutawney Phil said six more weeks of winter, but luckily Santa Cruz County’s coronavirus activity is pulling the community out of the cold holiday surge earlier than the groundhog may have anticipated.
Daily new case counts and active known cases in Santa Cruz County are dropping to that of the likes of last spring. According to the county’s coronavirus data dashboard, the county was recording new case counts in the 20s and 30s last week. This week, particularly Sunday and Monday, new cases recorded have dropped to just a single digit. Slightly more than one month ago, the county was recording more than 200 new cases a day.
Just 5% of the county’s total cases are currently active, as the active case count dropped by nearly 200 cases from Tuesday to Wednesday. Though fewer COVID-19 patients are hospitalized — individuals using just 24 regular hospital beds and six ICU beds — the county is still recording a limited supply of ICU beds. As of Wednesday afternoon, county officials were checking on the reason behind this change.
According to diagrams from the University of Washington that local health leaders pointed media members to last week, officials are expecting another upcoming surge — one that emerges in March, reaches its height in April and lessens in May. But the model also shows that the surge is avoidable through increased mask use as local, state and federal agencies work to roll out vaccine doses.
As of Wednesday, Santa Cruz County had received 33,575 doses, distributed 20,515 doses and allocated 12,060 doses for future vaccination efforts. This does not include doses going into the arms of those served by multi-county entities such as Dignity Health, Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente or CDC partnerships such as those with CVS Health and Walgreens through the Federal Pharmacy Program. In past weeks, county authorities have commented that the state gives them less vaccine on average than the other providers.