The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced Friday that it added a new metric to measure the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low-income communities and communities of color.
The health equity metric, created by the state, pinpoints 21 neighborhoods in the county by census tract: two in Santa Barbara, 11 in Santa Maria, one in Guadalupe, four in Lompoc and three in Isla Vista. The specific neighborhoods will be released on Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
There are several different metrics that are used to measure these areas, including social conditions, physical conditions, poverty, level of education, housing density, transportation, access to healthcare, and etc.
The department will increase outreach, testing availability and attempt to partner with employers and business leaders in these neighborhoods to slow the spread.
County officials found that the average testing positivity rate in these neighborhoods is 6.7, compared to the county overall average of 3.3.
“We, as a county and all of our communities, need to move into the orange tier together,” Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the Public Health Director, said at the press conference Friday. “That is why we’ll be doubling down our efforts making sure the 21 neighborhoods the state has identified will have that access to testing and that access to social supports.”
Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county health officer, said the county has also experienced a recent uptick in cases since the move to the red tier due to an outbreak at the Santa Maria Post Acute care facility.
This outbreak involved 40 positive COVID-19 cases, with 10 recovered.
In addition, Dr. Do-Reynoso announced expanded testing capacity in Isla Vista, including three testing events planned — one that occurred Friday, and two more on Oct. 23 and Nov. 6.
The county reported one new COVID-19-related death on Friday.
The individual resided in Santa Maria, was over 70 years old with underlying medical conditions and was associated with a congregate facility outbreak.
The county reported 22 new positive COVID-19 cases as of Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases up to 9,408, with 9,164 recovered cases, 116 deaths and 128 cases still active in the county.
Santa Maria reported eight new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing its total number of cases to 4,012, with 3,900 recovered, 63 deaths and 49 cases still active.
Lompoc reported five new cases, but none from the federal prison.
I.V. reported four new positive cases and the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota reported two new cases.
Orcutt, the Santa Ynez Valley and the South County unincorporated area including Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria each reported one new COVID-19 case.
Santa Barbara, Goleta and the unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe reported no new cases.
Cottage Health issued an update Friday announcing that it is caring for a total of 259 patients across all campuses. Of those, 199 are acute care patients and 189 acute care beds remain available.
A total of 10 patients are on ventilators and 80 ventilators remain available. Three patients are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms, with two who have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive. None of the three patients are in critical care.
For the second consecutive week, Lompoc Valley Medical Center announced that it has no patients requiring assistance due to COVID-19.