Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz Finally Climbs Into The Yellow Tier

May 19, 2021
Jerimiah Oetting


After weeks of anticipation, Santa Cruz County finally climbed into the Yellow Tier on Wednesday. The move marks an important step towards fully reopening the economy, but some businesses are moving forward carefully.

Wharf Walks.

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 2/26/21. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few select national stories from NPR.


This week’s high winds caused a large number of power outages in Santa Cruz County. 

Richard Green

There’s been a lot of confusion about COVID-19 and the distribution of the vaccine. That's because it’s complicated. There’s confusion over how and when the vaccine will be distributed and confusion over a batch that caused some allergic reactions. KAZU’s Erika Mahoney has been following the developments.

National Weather Service

Fire season in California is now year round. That was very apparent locally when multiple fires ignited in Santa Cruz County late Monday, prompting evacuations. KAZU News reports on the weather conditions that precipitate wildfire.

Cal Fire CZU

Firefighters responded to multiple fires in Santa Cruz County Tuesday after high winds amid dry conditions. Two of the fires prompted evacuations. Those orders were lifted Wednesday.

Erika Mahoney

A stay-at-home order will go into effect for the Bay Area after the region’s intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fell below 13% Wednesday, according to state data. The order is triggered when a region falls below 15% ICU capacity. Santa Cruz County officials said the new regulations will take effect Thursday, December 17 at 11:59 p.m.

Del Monte Assisted Living

Since the beginning of the pandemic, facilities that care for the elderly have been hot spots for the spread of COVID-19. And a new report says nationwide new cases in nursing homes have reached record numbers this month. Locally, some have been able to stop the virus from entering their facilities, but others have not.

Erika Mahoney

As the pandemic shakes up how we vote, Santa Cruz County has rolled out something new, a mobile voting center. Called the “VoteMobile,” it has been cruising through the county since mid-October, bringing voting directly to residents. Not only is the VoteMobile serving those who can’t venture far from their homes due to COVID-19, it’s also helping those who lost their homes in the CZU Lightning Complex fire.

@PGE$Me on Twitter

As of 2pm, PG&E said via Twitter it restored power to all customers in Santa Cruz County and Monterey County. Statewide, approximately half of the total customers impacted by the 10/14 Public Safety Power Shutoff have power back. 


Hannah Hagemann

A small crew of firefighters pack into a red fire engine and barrel up a road west of Brookdale in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They’re on mop up duty; scouting for new sources of smoke, looking for burned trees and any hot spots that could reignite the blaze.

Hannah Hagemann

When the CZU Lightning Complex Fire ripped through northern Santa Cruz County and mandatory evacuations were triggered, a patchwork of people in Bonny Doon assembled to fight the blaze. They defied orders to defend their neighborhoods.

Hannah Hagemann

More than 77,000 people have been displaced by the Lightning Complex Fire In Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. In Santa Cruz County, that’s put a strain on shelter capacity. 

Doug McKnight

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup where you'll find the top local stories of the week and some of NPR's national stories.

A technical glitch in California's COVID-19 reporting system skewed data on new coronavirus cases. On Friday, the state corrected the problem. However, it will take a couple of days before the numbers are updated. Until then, local COVID dashboards likely display an undercount in cases.

County of Santa Cruz

Before the pandemic, county health officers mainly worked behind-the-scenes. Now, they are center stage. In a one-on-one conversation, KAZU’s Erika Mahoney interviewed Dr. Gail Newel, the Health Officer for Santa Cruz County. They discuss a variety of topics, from new evidence on the effectiveness of masks to how the pandemic has affected her daily life. 

Hannah Hagemann


New COVID-19 cases have been spiking in Santa Cruz County. Health officials are preparing to handle even more cases.

Erika Mahoney


On July 2, the California Department of Public Health added Monterey County to the state’s COVID-19 watch list due to elevated disease transmission and hospitalizations. County officials also announced sweeping beach closures. This year, Fourth of July will feel quite different. 

Rachael Ramirez


As California grapples with the balance between public health and economic recovery, businesses across the state are beginning to reopen with new regulations. Many business owners are finding that reopening is a lot harder than shutting down; the road back to normal is filled with red flags, red tape and a lot of red ink.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office

A vigil has been held for a Santa Cruz County deputy who was killed on Saturday. People gathered outside the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office Sunday to honor Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller.

City of Monterey


The weekend is here and California Governor Gavin Newsom just closed beaches in Orange County. Locally, there are various beach restrictions along the Central Coast. Cities and counties have different rules and it can be confusing. We help sort it out.