Since the spike in coronavirus cases after July 4, Santa Barbara County and the county Public Health Department in particular had been adamant in its messaging about curbing the spread of COVID-19.
All that messaging came to a good outcome this past Tuesday when the state announced that the county is moving into the less-restrictive red tier after the county reported an adjusted case rate of 4.5 per 100,000 and a testing positivity rate of 3.2% for the week of Sept. 13 through the 19.
“We have arrived here in the red tier by working together towards a common goal. To remain in the red tier, it is absolutely critical for everyone to continue wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and limiting gatherings with others not in your household,” Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county’s public health director, said during Friday’s press conference.
The county continues seeing a downward trend in another important number: hospitalizations.
The county capped off the week with only 17 COVID-related hospitalizations, down three from the end of last Friday. Of those, only five are receiving care in the Intensive Care Unit.
The Lompoc Valley Medical Center announced that they currently have no patients requiring assistance due to the novel coronavirus.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is currently taking care of a total of 258 patients across all campuses. Of those, 200 are acute care patients and only three are confirmed to have COVID-19, all of which are now in isolation. None of the three patients are in critical care at this time.
“I want to take this opportunity to again sincerely thank all the residents of Santa Barbara County who’ve done their part to meet this challenge. By diligently limiting contacts, practicing physical distancing, wearing masks and washing hands, the virus around us is declining. It’s working because we’re all doing the right things,” 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart said.
“Our progress is unfortunately tenuous and fragile. The potential exists for cases to quickly spread if we will guard down. We must remain vigilant and committed to protecting each other.”
Mr. Hart added that the county hopes to reach the orange tier by Halloween. In order to reach the orange tier, the county would need to have a case rate of less than 4.0 per 100,000 and a testing positivity rate less than 5%.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, also reminded the public to try to obtain a flu shot as soon as possible to try to avoid a “twin pandemic” and not overwhelm the healthcare system.
A total of 26 new COVID-19 cases were announced Friday, bringing the county’s total to 9,249.
There were no new deaths reported Friday and the county’s total remains at 115, 63 of which resided in Santa Maria.
Of the total cases in the county, 169 are considered to still be infectious.
Santa Maria reported the most cases of any city on Friday with 12, bringing its total to 3,953, 75 of which are considered active. Those totals are both the highest in the county. Lompoc is the next closest in active cases with 22.
Santa Barbara had one new case on Friday, bringing its total to 1,225, nine of which are active.
The city of Lompoc reported five new cases and now has 851 total cases.
Goleta announced two new cases, while Orcutt, Isla Vista, Santa Ynez and the unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama, and the city of Guadalupe each reported one new case.
As of Friday, the county Public Health Department has administered 156,468 tests. Of those, 146,606 have tested negative, 9,249 positive and 385 were inconclusive.
A total of 8,966 people have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the data.