The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday during the county’s press conference, bringing the county’s total to 8,803.
During the meeting, 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart and Dr. Van Do-Reynoso also discussed Santa Barbara County’s place on the state’s tiered list.
Currently, Santa Barbara is still in the purple tier after Tuesday’s State report card showed that the county had a 9.1 case rate per 100,000. The county needs to be under 8.0 cases per 100,000 in order to move into the less restrictive red tier.
“Unfortunately we are still in the state’s purple tier because our case rate continues to stubbornly plateau just above the threshold to move into the lower red tier,” Mr. Hart said.
“The good news is our COVID-19 cases declined very rapidly from mid July to mid August. Fortunately COVID-19 positive cases for the past seven days of again resumed declining, likely putting us in a position to get into the red threshold soon. This goal is achievable.”
“We cannot let our guard down. We need to be diligent in wearing our masks and maintaining our distance, and to continue with what we are doing to decrease new cases,” Dr. Do-Reynoso, the county’s public health director, said.
“As a community we must work together to meet these goals. Everyone can make a difference and everyone needs to try to make that difference.”
Dr. Do-Reynoso also provided an update on testing, saying that it continues to be a focal point in helping curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
She said that there has been an increase at the state testing sites in Santa Maria, Buellton and Goleta, noting that obtaining an appointment has become a bit more difficult.
She said this is due to the state trying to keep as many slots open as possible after being back loaded during the spikes in mid July and early August and added that they will continue to improve.
“We encourage you to go online to make an appointment to be tested and for those who do make an appointment and cannot make it for any reason, please cancel the appointment to make space for others,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
Of the total cases, 172 are considered active, with 28 people recovering in the hospital and seven people receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit.
Isla Vista continues seeing a rise in cases, and had the most of any location on Thursday, as the community announced seven new cases, bringing its total to 207, 24 of which are active. Since Aug. 3, the small town near UCSB has seen an increase of 154 new cases.
The only other cities to report cases on Thursday included Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Barbara which each announced four.
Santa Maria has the most cases in the county with 3,778, 46 of which are active while Santa Barbara has 1,183 cases, 23 of which are active.
As a final message on Thursday, both Mr. Hart and Dr. Do-Reynoso received their flu shot immediately after the press conference as a symbolic reminder that getting a flu shot is critical to avoid a “twin pandemic.”
“Although getting a flu shot every year is recommended, this season because of covid 19 pandemic, getting a flu vaccine is especially important to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Equally important is that flu vaccination helps save critical medical resources necessary for the care of COVID-19 patients,” Paige Batson, the deputy director of community health, said.
“Just like wearing a mask, getting a flu shot is as easy and safe as necessary to keep the community healthy and prevent this epidemic from spreading.”
Last year, there were 700 flu related deaths in the state and nine deaths in Santa Barbara County in residents older than 65.
They are the key demographic at risk, along with those with underlying health conditions such as heart and lung disease, to succumb to the novel virus should they catch it.