The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 64 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the county’s total to 8,361.
Overall, there are 224 cases in the county that remain active. Thirty-nine people are receiving treatment at local hospitals, with 16 in the Intensive Care Unit, said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, public health director for the county.
Contact tracing information has indicated that social gatherings continue to be an issue locally. Last month, the county saw a wide range of gatherings, including at local beaches, birthday parties, family events, funerals, restaurants and bars, travel and other social events.
“We encourage everyone in our community to limit gathering with those outside your household,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said during Friday’s press conference.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, health officer for the county, said that four schools have had their waiver applications approved by the state. The schools are Howard Carden School in Carpinteria, The Knox School of Santa Barbara, Waldorf School and Laguna Blanca School.
These schools have been notified and are permitted to open as early as Tuesday, Dr. Ansorg said.
The county has received a total of 20 waiver applications. Along with the approved applications, four other applications have been sent to the state Department of Public Health for consideration. The county Public Health Department is reviewing the other 12 applications.
“The wellbeing of our children and youth are of utmost importance to us at the Public Health Department,” he said. “In order for all educational institutions to be able to open up safely for in-person instruction, we need to reduce our daily case rates further. We have been successful at doing so, and I urge everyone to continue with our safety measures. We do owe this to our children and youth.”
Santa Barbara County remains in Tier 1, the purple tier, of the state’s four-tier color-coated system. The state is expected to release the county’s tier assignment Tuesday, based on the data from Aug. 23 to 29.
Dr. Do-Reynoso said that the case rates have been decreasing in recent weeks, but not sufficiently enough. In order to advance through the state protocols, the county needs to average around 32 new cases per day, she said.
Health officials also discussed the recent outbreak in Isla Vista near UCSB, where students were observed last weekend in large groups with many not wearing face coverings.
Dr. Ansorg said the county is collaborating with the UCSB health clinics and other community organizations to curb the spread of the virus, while also working on programs to “substantially increase local testing.”
The increased testing could identify asymptomatic people who can quickly isolate, he said.
In addition, the county is providing hotel rooms for safe isolation and quarantine for infected individuals and their contacts if needed, Dr. Ansorg said.
Of the cases announced Friday, 26 were in the city of Santa Maria, which now has a total of 3,651 cases, 78 of which remain active.
Twenty-three new cases were announced in the city of Lompoc, bringing its total to 677 (38 active). The city of Santa Barbara reported 23 new cases (1,123 total, 30 active), while the communities of Montecito, Summerland and city of Carpinteria and unincorporated areas of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota each reported two new cases. The South County unincorporated area now has 181 confirmed cases (three active) and the Goleta Valley area has 161 total cases (12 active), according to the county Public Health Department.
One new case was reported in I.V. (161 total, 12 active), Santa Ynez Valley (122 total, five active) and unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama, and the City of Guadalupe (360 total, nine active). Five cases were pending.
Over the past two days, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced that 18 additional inmates at the Main Jail have tested positive for COVID-19.
Two inmates were exhibiting COVID-19 related symptoms Tuesday and were found to be COVID-19 positive Wednesday. Sixteen additional inmates were tested as part of sweeping testing of more than 450 inmates and were found to be COVID-19 positive, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Nine inmates have recovered, including one who has been released. The other nine inmates are being monitored by custody and medical staff on a regular basis. An additional 30 test results from the sweeping tests are pending, Ms. Zick said.
This brings the total number of inmates at the jail who have tested positive for COVID-19 to 81.
Some 41 cases remain active, all of which were contracted within the jail. Twenty-eight inmates have fully recovered, including two who tested positive upon intake and 26 who contracted the virus at the jail. Eleven inmates have been released from custody, and one inmate has died as a result of COVID-19.
Of the 81 inmates who have tested positive, 74 contracted the virus within the jail, authorities said.