Ventura County begins moving into next tier for COVID-19 vaccinations

image+provided+by+the+CDC

image provided by the CDC

By Andrea Lopez

On Feb. 24, 2021, Ventura County held the weekly press conference at one of the open COVID-19 vaccination sites, Ventura County Office of Education, in Camarillo.

Ventura County Supervisor ,Kelly Long, began the conference with great news of things the community can begin to look forward to, such as teachers being able to receive the vaccination, as well as the county stepping closer to the red tier within the next couple of weeks.

Ventura County has seen numbers in COVID-19 cases decrease over the last couple of weeks, which has allowed the opportunity for schools K-6 to begin to reopen very soon.

The county will also move on to the next tier of vaccinations that allow essential workers, agriculture workers, teachers in education and emergency room personnel to be administered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on March 1.

“We are so grateful for our teachers who have had to adapt and pivot, whether they’re teaching in person or through Zoom or both, their role has never been more important in our community,” Mike Powers, the County Executive Officer, shared.

Due to the positive numbers, Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas mentioned that K-6 schools are able to resume in person education.

“If they submit a safety reopening plan, that needs to vetted by the state department of Public Health. If they do not provide feedback within seven days, the school district that submits the safety plan, can not open,” said Vargas.

With schools opening, the importance of teachers receiving the vaccination is high as the goal is to have most, if not all, of Ventura County District teachers vaccinated by the end of March.

In order for youth and adult sports to resume practice with guidelines, the case rate must be 14. The county still remains just below 17 explained Interim Superintendent Ventura County Office of Education, Dr. Cesar Morales.

“When a sport resumes, depends on the particular sport and our county’s COVID-19 case rate. For high contact sports like basketball, football and soccer we have to get the case rate below 14 (per 100,000), we’re not there yet,” Morales said.

As of March 1, Ventura County has administered 202,801 vaccines, which is 143,428 first doses and 59,373 second doses.

“In terms of first doses, that is about 17.6% of the population that have at least received their first dose,” Powers explained.

Vaccination sites throughout the county include Ventura County Fairgrounds, Center Point Mall in Oxnard, Rose Avenue in Oxnard, Global Senior Center in Thousand Oak and Nordoff High School in Ojai.

Future sites include Santa Paula in mid-March and a site in Simi Valley with a date to be announced soon.

As of March 1, 338 new cases were reported with eight new deaths. There are 94 hospitalized patients, 31 of which are currently in ICU.

“We need to get (the case rate) to seven in order to get into red tier,” Vargas explained. “Our positivity rate for the general Ventura County population is already meeting the requirement to be in the red tier, that is under eight, we’re at 5.8.”

For more information on the next tier to open for vaccinations visit Venturacountyrecovers.org and for more information on school openings and guidelines visit here.