Coronavirus Information
For a list of Archived messages from CEO and CMO, click here.

Message from CEO and Chief Medical Officer

Jun 22, 2021, 16:31 PM
Dear Patients of Sansum Clinic,

I write to you this week with some real reason for optimism. We are most definitely entering the summer in a much better place than last year from a health perspective. 

COVID-19 Case Numbers Are Down
COVID-19 case numbers in the U.S. and here in Santa Barbara County have fallen to their lowest point since testing first became widely available. While we have not exactly reached herd immunity, and California is still logging around 900 new COVID-cases per day, fewer deaths are being reported daily than at any point since the pandemic began. 48.5% of our county was fully-vaccinated as of June 20 yet there are more people vaccinated in the southern part of the county than in the north. This has lead public health officials to turn their focus toward what the roadblocks are to vaccination in these areas, and how to address them. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations Translates To Fewer Deaths
The picture of how we got here is becoming even more clear. As the number of vaccinated people goes up, the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths goes down. We continue to see evidence of just how protective the COVID-19 vaccinations are against severe illness and death. A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) looked at the decrease in COVID-19 cases, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and deaths among older adults following the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, and concluded that the age group with the highest vaccination rate also had the greater decline in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. 

COVID-19 Variants Uptick
Scientists and physicians around the globe are keeping close tabs on the COVID-19 variants which will keep spreading until more of the worldwide population becomes vaccinated. Until that occurs, we all may be somewhat vulnerable to these spreading variants. Additionally, the exact protection the current COVID-19 vaccines provide against the variants is not entirely certain. Unvaccinated people could spread COVID-19 in all its different forms to others who may be vulnerable, who may not yet be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (children under 12 for example) or who may not mount a sufficient immune response even after vaccination due to a medical condition. When you get a COVID-19 shot, you are not only protecting yourself, you are shielding others from the virus as well. 

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Still Available
It’s not too late to make the wise decision to protect yourself and your loved ones. We are currently offering adults the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at our 215 Pesetas Lane location, or the Pfizer vaccine for those age 12 and older at our Pediatrics Department at 51 Hitchcock Lane. If you would like to schedule your child for a COVID-19 vaccine, call 805-563 -6211. If you are an adult, visit to schedule, or call MyTurn at (833) 422-4255. If you are unsure how to register with MyTurn to schedule a COVID-19 shot, our COVID-19 hotline representatives at 805-681-7805 can walk you through the process. 

Restrictions Are Lifted
As COVID-19 case numbers fall, a majority of states including California have lifted pandemic restrictions or plan to do so very soon. In Santa Barbara County, the colored tiers of reopening are no more. Businesses have been allowed to reopen to full capacity without social distancing restrictions. While the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has updated their guidelines to allow fully-vaccinated people to forgo masks in some settings, this does NOT include healthcare settings according to the CDC. We will keep screening at our entrances and require face coverings to prevent COVID-19 transmission among people with a higher risk of infection due to underlying medical conditions, individuals who may not yet be eligible to be vaccinated (those under age 12) or those who have elected not to be vaccinated.

COVID-19 Testing Requirements & Offerings Change
Patients who can now demonstrate proof of being fully vaccinated will no longer need pre-operative COVID-19 testing within 3 days before their surgical procedure. Proof of vaccination will be required. 
I am very pleased to announce another exciting development for patients needing COVID-19 tests for travel or personal use. Starting on June 21st, you can begin scheduling COVID-19 tests for this purpose at our Urgent Care at 215 Pesetas Lane. These appointments, which begin on Monday June 28, will be available 7 days a week, and can be self-scheduled via MyChart, or patients can call (805) 563-6110 to schedule a testing appointment. 

We will be using the Abbott ID NOW point-of -care molecular test, which is similar to a PCR test and uses nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) isothermal technology to determine if viral genetic material is present. The test results will be available within 15 minutes and patients will be given a copy of the results to take with them. Patients will be responsible for verifying the specific COVID-19 test that is required for their desired venues, airline or destination. Sansum Clinic cannot verify this information. This testing is not covered by health insurance. Patients will be charged a fee of $100 at the time of service. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations & Breast Cancer Screenings
Some news outlets have recently suggested that women delay breast cancer screening following their COVID-19 vaccination to avoid false positive interpretation. While it is true that all the COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines for influenza and tuberculosis for that matter, can cause underarm lymph node swelling on the side where the vaccine was administered, in most cases, the swelling occurs 2-4 days after the shot is given and is temporary. What is important to understand is that this underarm lymph node swelling does not affect what is seen within the breast itself. Sansum Clinic’s Radiology Department, along with all radiology departments throughout Santa Barbara, record the date and site of a patient’s COVID-19 vaccine administration at the time the screening appointment is made. Our Clinic’s Radiology Department staff and physicians are well-equipped to produce accurate results even in light of this symptom from the COVID-19 vaccine. Early detection is key to protect against cancers of all types, so please do not postpone your screening for this reason. 

I am sure the lower numbers of COVID-19 and lifting of pandemic rules come as welcome relief for many of you, after a very long, difficult year. We’ve been listening to you along the way, as you told us where and how you most prefer to plan for and receive your care, and we are working hard to incorporate that into how we practice. We want to encourage our patients who may have delayed or cancelled visits during this time to come back and see us. The tremendous value of good health is more evident than ever. 

And of course, we are all still here for you, smiling under our masks.

Kurt Ransohoff Signature

Kurt N. Ransohoff, MD, FACP
CEO and Chief Medical Officer
Sansum Clinic