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

Message from CEO and Chief Medical Officer

Nov 4, 2022, 12:47 PM
Dear Patients,

An early start to the flu season makes this a good time to share what we are seeing in our community with regard to the latest viruses, and how you can keep you and your family healthy. Infectious disease experts are already concerned about the possibility of a winter “tripledemic” or a simultaneous overload of flu, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases. These scientists point to waning immunity, social gatherings being back in full swing, and more indoor activities due to cold weather as the likely causes.  

Across the U.S., flu-related hospitalizations among all ages have been rising quickly in recent weeks, and are currently at levels we don’t usually see until much later in the flu season, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The current flu shot, available to anyone 6 months and older, targets the flu strain which accounts for a majority of flu cases currently detected. The flu vaccine is effective in preventing some (but not all) people from acquiring influenza and more importantly, it is very effective in preventing severe cases of influenza.   

Scheduling information for flu shots can be found here or at

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reports that overall COVID-19 case numbers are down and community transmission levels are low, however potentially becoming ill with both viruses simultaneously is of special concern for high-risk or immunocompromised patients. COVID vaccines to date have not been effective in preventing many infections and we all know many vaccinated people who have had COVID. They have been effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalizations. The new bivalent COVID vaccines we hope will be more effective in preventing infection, since for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic the vaccine “matches” the currently prevailing strain of the virus that causes COVID. But, the verdict is out on that issue right now. The new bivalent vaccines do work well in preventing severe infection with the latest highly-contagious Omicron sub-variants (BA.5, BQ.1 and BQ.1.) 

Scheduling information for COVID-19 vaccines can be found here or at

Staff members are no longer temperature screening people at our entrances, but we are asking everyone visiting us to read and follow instructions on posted signs about symptoms of COVID-19. You still must wear a mask in our buildings, as mandated by the California Public Health Department. People who think they have COVID should test before coming to any enclosed space and stay away until they are no longer infectious. For guidelines about the length of that isolation period, click here.

One concerning trend occurring nationwide and here in Santa Barbara, is a surge of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) in children, with severe cases requiring hospitalization. This arrives on top of the cold and flu season already impacting a high number of our youngest patients. RSV causes many common cold symptoms in most adults and older children, but the respiratory virus can be quite serious for some infants, preemies and those with high-risk conditions like asthma. 

Visit our RSV web page for more information.

Online bill payment and direct scheduling of appointments are two of the most popular features on MyChart. Each month, more than 800 appointments are made online with direct scheduling. We’ve expanded this option to now include our Dermatology Department, and the ENT and Ophthalmology Departments at our Foothill location. We’ve also launched Fast Pass which lets patients on a wait list move up their appointment date when there are cancellations. We are always working to expand our digital tools and hope you take advantage of these services. Visit our Direct Scheduling page for more on which departments and services offer this new feature.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that late February 2023 will mark the end to the State’s pandemic public health emergency. While some people will debate whether that timing is premature, the condition of public health in our community appears to be in a positive trajectory. No one will be celebrating that more than our own people, who have endured so much throughout the pandemic, and always appreciate your kindness towards them.  It will likely take time for individuals and businesses, including Sansum Clinic, to recover from some of the financial consequences created by COVID-19, but we remain hopeful, and we are grateful for your support of our Clinic and our team, which has remained steadfast.   


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

P.S.  Philanthropic support moves us closer to meeting the growing healthcare needs of our patients and the community.  Please consider making a year-end gift to support our efforts.