Across the state, case numbers are starting to decline, but county Public Health Department says transmission rate remains significant
As on Friday, 57,000 of the 200,000 COVID-19 antigen test kits requested by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department have been delivered.
The kits, which came from the U.S. Health Resources and Service Administration, will be distributed to community partners countywide. The remainder of the kits are expected to be delivered in the coming weeks.
“Through the receipt of these initial test kit shipments, we are on the road to community members having regular access to free, at-home test kits. It is only through the many partners that have agreed to assist in test kit distribution that we are able to ensure equity of access for all of our Santa Barbara County communities,” said county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso.
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District began distributing at-home COVID test kits late this week.
The remaining tests will be distributed throughout the remainder of the year, according to Kenny Klein, the school district’s public information officer.
Despite the statewide surge in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks, statewide numbers are finally starting to decline. Should this downward trend continue, it will prove what health officials predicted that despite the surge, the numbers would be declining by February, as the News-Press previously reported.
As of Thursday, the state transmission rate dropped below 1.0 to 0.77, indicating that each person with COVID-19 is transmitting the disease to an average of less than one person, according to the California Department of Public Health COVID Assessment Tool.
“We can now confidently say that we are on the beginning of a downward trajectory,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health, according to a report by KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.
In addition to the state transmission rate falling, the case rate is also falling. As of Thursday, California averaged 104,000 cases per day, which is a 13% decrease from the previous week.
“This comes as a new California bill was introduced that would allow children age 12 and up to be vaccinated without their parents’ consent, the youngest age of any state,” according to a report by another Los Angeles TV station, KABC.
“COVID-19 transmission remains significant even as case counts appear to be plateauing at a high level,” the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said in an emailed response Friday to the News-Press’ questions. “It will take more time to truly determine whether cases are indeed trending downward.
“The best things community members can do as we continue to see omicron circulating in our community are to get vaccinated and boosted, wear a high quality mask, and stay home if they are sick,” the health department told the News-Press. “As we have seen during previous COVID-19 case surges, hospitalizations are the next to surge, followed by deaths. This is what we are experiencing.
“There is much speculation about what the next phase of the virus will mean for communities,” the department said. “While the omicron surge is still ongoing, it is difficult to say exactly when this virus will reach a more manageable stage. There is always the concern for another variant.”