Santa Barbara County is expected to advance to the least restrictive red level on Tuesday, Department of Public Health officials said at the COVID-19 virtual press conference on Friday.
“This will provide us with new opportunities for business and entertainment venues to open up,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s Public Health Officer, about moving to the second most restrictive category. “It also presents us with the challenge of staying safe and not falling back into another wave of viruses.”
Indoor operations of fitness centers and gyms, restaurants, cinemas, aquariums, museums and zoos are permitted with modifications to the red level, in accordance with the state reopening framework COVID-19, the Plan for a Safer Economy.
At the red tier, Santa Barbara County wineries, breweries, and distilleries will only be allowed to operate outdoors with modifications outlined in the rating system, including limited hours of service and a 90-minute time limit for guests, among others.
All 58 counties fall under California’s color-coded tier system, which is a four-tier classification framework. Santa Barbara County is at the “pervasive” purple level, the most restrictive level.
Ansorg’s remarks during Friday’s press conference, which marked the one-year anniversary of the county’s first COVID-19 press conference, came shortly after state officials announced that California reached 2 million vaccination doses. in the vaccine equity metric.
Two million doses of vaccines were delivered to the hardest hit communities, representing about 25% of eligible people in California, according to state officials.
As a result, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers have been updated to allow “somewhat higher case rates at the substantial (red) tier,” the state said.
The criteria for reopening the tiers will change when 2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to people living in approximately 400 ZIP codes in the vaccine’s equity quartile.
The purple tier criteria for case rates will change from more than seven new cases per day per 100,000 people to more than 10 new COVID-19 cases per day, said county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso.
The red level case rate criteria will be expanded to four to 10 cases per 100,000 people per day, and the orange and yellow levels will remain the same, Do-Reynoso said.
The county must be at a level for three consecutive weeks before officially advancing to the red level, Do-Reynoso said.
The latest tier assignment shows Santa Barbara County at an adjusted rate of 9.7 cases per day, so the county can advance to the red tier now that the state has reached the threshold of 2 million vaccine doses.
To advance to the least restrictive red level, the county must meet the test positivity rate for that level for two consecutive weeks. Santa Barbara County has a 3.6% positivity rate.
The county’s COVID-19 metrics have “decreased substantially,” including the number of active cases, new daily cases, COVID-19 test positivity, case rate, coronavirus-positive hospitalized patients and death rate, Do said. -Reynoso.
“The winter surge in cases is over,” Do-Reynoso said Friday.
The county has reported that it has received more than 117,700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date, Do-Reynoso said, adding that as of Friday, the county had administered more than 80% of its allocated doses to date. He noted that the vaccination data is three days late.
“The remaining doses are scheduled for clinics in the next few days,” Do-Reynoso said Friday.
Santa Barbara County is vaccinating people 65 and older, along with food and agricultural workers, educators and child care workers, emergency services workers, residents age 75 and older, emergency medical personnel, and emergency care workers. medical care.
Starting Monday, people ages 16 to 64 who are at high risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 will be eligible to receive the vaccine in the county. Health conditions outlined in the county guidelines include cancer, stage four or higher chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, Down syndrome, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, heart conditions, severe obesity, and type 2 diabetes, among others.
“Whenever eligibility opens, vaccine supplies are still limited initially and more will be available in the coming weeks,” said Do-Reynoso. “Please be patient as we open vaccine opportunities to the remaining categories in our community.”
According to Ansorg, to date, Santa Barbara County has approximately 10% of its population 18 years and older that is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“And more or less, 15% have received at least one dose, which already provides good protection against severe COVID and death,” Ansorg said.
The county is home to more than 446,000 residents, according to the latest population estimate from the US Census Bureau.
The next two to three weeks are expected to be “challenging” because the amount of weekly vaccine supply available to Santa Barbara County will likely not increase, while more residents will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, Ansorg said.
“By April, we should see a dramatic increase in available vaccines, and hopefully by May, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get it,” Ansorg said.
County Moves COVID-19 Mobile Testing Unit to Santa Barbara
To expand access to COVID-19 testing for residents, the Department of Public Health will move the mobile COVID-19 testing unit to Santa Barbara’s East Beach beginning Monday.
The unit will be open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday in the waterfront parking lot at 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.
Appointments are required and trials are free and available to all members of the community.
Appointments can be made online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 888.634.1123.
The Department of Public Health website, https://publichealthsbc.org/testing/, has more information on local testing options. Residents can also call 2-1-1 for help registering for a trial appointment.
“Getting tested means finding where the virus is spreading and stopping it. We know that our community is eager to move forward and testing is a key tool in making this happen. Lowering our case rate will allow our community to move more quickly through the tiers and begin to reopen more business sectors and schools, ”said Do-Reynoso in a statement. “The mobile testing site is a great way for community members to easily access COVID-19 testing while enjoying a great view.”
New Santa Barbara County COVID-19 Status Report
Meanwhile, county public health officials reported 54 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and two additional north county residents died of COVID-19.
There have been a total of 32,573 confirmed positive cases in the county, and the death toll from COVID-19 is now 428, according to the COVID-19 community data panel.
Both residents who died were in the age group over 70 and had underlying medical conditions, according to Public Health. The deceased resided in Lompoc and Santa María. The deaths were not associated with an outbreak at a collective care site, according to the county.
There were 43 confirmed COVID-19 patients being treated at Santa Barbara County area hospitals. Of those patients, 15 were in intensive care units.
The county was operating at more than 31% ICU availability as of Friday, according to Public Health.
Of the new positive cases on Friday, Santa Maria had 26, and four were reported in Santa Barbara and Orcutt. Three of each were reported in the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria, Goleta, Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc, and unincorporated areas of North County. The unincorporated area of Goleta Valley and Gaviota had two new cases and Isla Vista had one. Geographical locations had not been published for two new cases.
There were about 255 community cases that were still considered infectious across the county, according to Public Health.
It is almost the first anniversary of the first confirmed case of new coronavirus in Santa Barbara County. The county’s first COVID-19 case was reported on March 15, 2020, and the first local death was announced in April.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department reported Friday that the number of active COVID-19 cases among inmates at the main jail dropped to zero.
“All COVID-19 cases in the Main Jail have been cleared and there are currently no COVID-19 positive inmates being monitored,” said Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Raquel Zick.
As of Friday, more than 210 inmates at the Main Jail had tested positive for COVID-19, including a Santa Maria inmate who died after landing at the hospital from complications from COVID-19 while in custody at the County Jail. Saint Barbara.
Additionally, a sheriff’s custody officer tested positive for COVID-19, Zick said Friday.
To date, 116 sheriff’s employees have tested positive for COVID-19, and 113 of them have recovered and returned to work, Zick said.
More information on appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine
Registration information for county clinics and links to pharmacy and hospital vaccination sites are here: https://publichealthsbc.org/covid-19-vaccine-appointment-registration/.
Subscribe to the county newsletter on vaccination efforts, including available appointment announcements, here: https://signup.e2ma.net/signup/1937902/1753150/.
Call 2-1-1 and select option 4 to contact the county call center for questions related to vaccinations and help registering for an appointment if eligible. The call center can be called at 800.400.1572 for out-of-area numbers and is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.
The 2-1-1 call center is staffed with people who can answer questions about COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County, according to the Department of Public Health.
The state of California has published lists of specific jobs that qualify for each immunization priority group, but not for the education and child care sector. See the lists here: https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has additional vaccine-related information on its COVID-19 page here: https://publichealthsbc.org.
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