Super Bowl gatherings super risky

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Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter
Ventura County Public Health officials are urging residents not to let Super Bowl Sunday turn into a COVID-19 superspreader event by avoiding gatherings.
The county emphasized that gatherings spread the virus, particularly those indoors with no masks or distancing, which is whey people should avoid Super Bowl parties … like the plague.
At the county’s weekly COVID-19 press conference Feb. 3, Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said: “It’s really important that we not allow the Super Bowl to do to Ventura County, and the rest of California and the nation what Thanksgiving and Christmas did, and New Year’s. So please, let’s only celebrate and watch this game with our own household. Let’s not have parties.”
Levin added: “Christmas and Thanksgiving, they’re important. I understand. It’s understandable that people couldn’t resist getting together sometimes. But I think the Super Bowl’s at a whole different level.”
The county also said that keeping gatherings to people within your household does not mean you cannot dine outdoors during the Super Bowl. County officials first said on Feb. 3 that they were going to ban TVs at restaurants during the game. However, they backtracked the morning of Feb. 4, saying it’s not a ban but a recommendation. It’s up to individual restaurants whether or not they want to show the game.

At the Feb. 3 press conference, Ventura County Health Care Agency Chief Deputy Director Barry Zimmerman also provided an update on the vaccination situation in the county.
Zimmerman said that as of Feb. 3, the county had administered 80,564 vaccines. Of that number, 14,613 were second doses. He said: “We are currently still in our first phase of vaccines targeting the healthcare industry as well as seniors who are 75 and older. The positive news is, of the 80,000 vaccines we’ve issued or administered thus far, 21,358 of those individuals have been seniors over 75, which is tremendous progress relative to where we were a short time ago.”
The county continues to struggle to receive enough vaccine from the state to meet the high demand, Zimmerman said. In order for the county to vaccinate a majority of the population within six months, the weekly allocation of shots from the state would need to be more than 50,000.
Zimmerman said: “However, on average we receive about 10,000 vaccines a week. So we’re only at one-fifth if we were anticipating to vaccinate individuals within a six-month period. So, until we can get our vaccine volume and receipt at a high enough level, there needs to be patience in our rollout. It will elongate the total horizon. So we should have appropriate expectations in order to understand that our system is limited by the supply we have.”
Right now, the county’s goal is to finish with the current phase of vaccinations and begin the next phase at the end of February or beginning of March. The next phase will include residents 65 or older, as well as certain essential workers such as law enforcement, first responders, education, food service and agriculture.
Zimmerman said: “In the county, we have decided that we only offer appointments based on vaccines that are available. We did not try to guess on what our vaccines would be week to week, thus appointments become available on a weekly basis when we secure the supply from the state. We have chosen to use that methodology so we did not have individuals scheduling appointments in advance and having to cancel that, of which we are hearing around the state that vaccines aren’t coming in as planned and appointments are being canceled.”
Zimmerman also highlighted that the county is working on adding additional vaccination sites in Ojai, Oxnard, Camarillo and Santa Paula.