47 new cases announced Friday, along with one additional death
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced new COVID-19 protocols all counties must adhere to in hopes of continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In order to advance through the four-tier color-coated system, counties must show consistent success in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Santa Barbara County is in tier one — the purple tier — which means most non-essential businesses must remain closed.
“Santa Barbara County is designated as a purple county and the vast majority, 87% of Californians, reside in counties that are now designated purple,” 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart said during Friday’s press conference.
The new framework will still rely on local COVID-19 positive cases and the local test positivity rate.
“This structure is designed to ensure that COVID-19 cases do not spike because businesses reopen too quickly, as occurred with the first round of business reopenings in July,” Mr. Hart said.
“While we are not yet at the stage here in Santa Barbara County where we can move to the next lower tier, we are very close and making good progress. Our successful transition to the next tier and even more progress will depend upon the effectiveness of our collective action together.”
To move to tier two, Santa Barbara County will need to have less than seven new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus test positivity rate of less than 8%.
Counties must stay in their designated tier for three weeks before moving onto the next tier. Counties can also only move up one tier at a time.
Currently, the county is at nine new COVID cases per 100,000 people per day, and holds a testing positivity rate of 6.5%.
“In order to move to the next less-restrictive tier, the county will need to demonstrate that we can meet the goals of the less-restrictive tier for a minimum of two weeks before we can be formally moved out of that space. Needless to say, this new state framework is sudden and complex,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county’s public health director.
She added that currently, Santa Barbara County has a one-week credit of being in the red, so just two more weeks would allow the county to move to the next tier.
Additionally, Gov. Newsom also announced new guidances which allow barbershops and hair salons to operate indoors at 25% capacity.
Dr. Do-Reynoso said they will be issuing a health order in the coming days.
The county reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total cases to 8,014.
The county also reported an additional death, bringing the county’s total to 92.
The decedent was over the age of 70 with underlying health conditions and resided in the city of Santa Maria in a congregate living facility, according to the county.
Santa Maria has the most deaths of any city in the county with 48. The county has now seen an increase of 64 deaths since June 22.
Of the total cases in the county, 246 are considered active, with 40 people recovering in the hospital and 21 people receiving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit.
The city of Santa Maria reported 32 new cases Friday and now has a total of 3,536 cases, 103 of which are active. Santa Barbara is the next closest with 40 active cases.
The city of Lompoc announced eight new cases, bringing its total to 637, while Santa Barbara reported an increase of five cases and now has 1,077 confirmed cases.
County officials also announced Friday that the state-operated testing site currently located at the Earl Warren Showgrounds will be moving to the Goleta Valley Community Center.
The last day for the site at Earl Warren will be Monday. Dr. Do-Reynoso said the Goleta location will offer “expanded testing opportunity by proximity to an ease of access by public transportation.”
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced Friday that 21 additional inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 63 inmates at the Main Jail have now contracted the virus, including seven who had the virus upon intake and 56 who contracted the virus within the facility, said Lt. Brad McVay, sheriff’s spokesman.
As a result of contact with a previously reported COVID-19 inmate, 66 inmates in one area of the jail were recently tested for COVID-19. The group was exposed to the inmate on or before Monday, Lt. McVay said.
Two inmates who tested positive are symptomatic and have been moved to negative airflow cells. The other 19 inmates are asymptomatic and are being housed together in a contained area of the jail and are being monitored by custody and medical staff on a regular basis.
The 45 inmates who tested negative will be re-tested in about one week, Lt. McVay said.
A total of 33 cases remain active in the Main Jail and 19 inmates have recovered. Of those who have recovered, two tested positive upon intake and 17 contracted the virus at the jail. Some 10 inmates have been released from custody, including four who tested positive upon booking and six who contracted the virus in the jail. One inmate, who tested positive upon intake, has died due to COVID-19, authorities said.
In addition, the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced Thursday that a district employee has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to district spokesman Kenny Klein, the district immediately contacted the county Public Health Department and is following all appropriate protocols, including deep cleaning, disinfecting and contact tracing.
Associate Editor Mitchell White contributed to this report