The European Union on Monday recommended that its 27 member nations reinstate travel restrictions for U.S. visitors as COVID-19 cases remain on the rise.
The recommendation comes just weeks after the EU lifted restrictions for travelers. Now, with the restrictions renewed, U.S. visitors to the EU bloc may face measures like COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival. It’s also possible that some EU nations may halt non-essential travel from the U.S. altogether, according to national reports.
The recommendation, however, is non-binding, meaning that member states will retain control of their own border protection measures.
Rising cases across the U.S. have largely been attributed to the highly transmissible delta variant, which has become the most prevalent variant in the nation. In Santa Barbara County, officials have been tracking an uptick in cases associated with the strain in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the county’s Public Health Department reported 93 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths. One individual who died was over age 70 and the other individual was between the ages of 50-69. One resided in Lompoc and the other lived in Santa Maria.
Officials reported 29 new cases in Santa Maria, 16 new cases in Santa Barbara and the unincorporated area of Mission Canyon, 16 new cases in Lompoc and the communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village, and 12 cases in Orcutt. Elsewhere in the county, officials reported six cases in the Santa Ynez Valley, five cases in the unincorporated Goleta Valley and Gaviota, four cases in Goleta and one case in Isla Vista. Four cases were pending.
Tuesday’s new cases brought the county’s active case rate to 560 infections on Tuesday.
According to the Public Health dashboard, cases are occurring at a much higher rate among the unvaccinated as opposed to the vaccinated. As of Aug. 20, the case rate among the unvaccinated was 37.8 per 100,000, while the case rate among the vaccinated was 7.5 per 100,000.
As of Tuesday, 75 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, and 18 of those patients were recovering in the ICU.
According to the latest vaccination data from Monday, 74% of eligible 12 and older residents are partially vaccinated and 65.1% of that same population if fully vaccinated. Of the county’s entire population, 55.1% of people are fully vaccinated.