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50+ COVID-19 Variants Discovered In Ventura County, But Officials Say It Was Anticipated

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(KCLU News)
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A shuttered K-Mart store has been converted into a vaccination site in Santa Paula

Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo Counties Still On Track for Moves From Red To Orange Tiers

It’s a strange place for a clinic. An empty K-Mart store in Santa Paula has been converted into a mass vaccination COVID-19 vaccination site. Tiffany Shelby of Ventura walks in, and less than five minutes later is in a chair waiting for a shot.

Despite continuing reluctance among some people to get vaccinations, Ventura County’s vaccination numbers are much higher than the national average.

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin says about 35% of the county has now been vaccinated, as opposed to less than 15% of the population nationally. He says all three major COVID-19 vaccines being used in the United States are now being used in Ventura County. He says a fourth, AstraZeneca, will probably be available in April.

Levin says new information in effect clears the vaccine of concerns which had been voiced about the possibility it causes blood clots. Studies show the number of people who developed clots taking the vaccine is actually slightly less than the number of people naturally getting clots in the population.

Meanwhile, a new report shows more than 50 COVID-19 variants have been detected in Ventura County, but Dr. Levin says it’s in line with what they had anticipated.

Santa Barbara County has reported two cases of the UK variant, and San Luis Obispo County one.

Dr. Levin says between people having COVID-19, and the hundreds of thousands of vaccinations which have occurred in the region, the variants don’t pose as much of a risk as once feared. He says they make up less than 2% of the cases reported in the county.

Looking at COVID-19 by the numbers in the region, as of Thursday morning there have been 132,551 reported cases since the start of the pandemic. It includes more than 79,000 in Ventura County, nearly 33,000 in Santa Barbara County, and just over 20,000 in San Luis Obispo County.

The good news is the number of new cases is continuing to trend down, and public health officials say all three counties could move from the state’s red, to less restrictive orange tier in the next few weeks.

Shelby says she was excited to get her first of two shots of the Moderna vaccine. She works in a gym, and is concerned about being around people. Shelby says as nervous as she was about getting the shot, she was much more nervous about not having one.