Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases title=
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) expressed their concern regarding the upward trend of COVID-19 cases within the county during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated there has been a 49% increase in cases in the past 14 days. More specifically for new cases in the past two weeks, there has been an 84% increase in Santa Maria and 115% increase in Santa Barbara, both were described as "serious and concerning."

"The elevated number of cases in our community is directly attributed to the freedom of movement as we reopened sectors which provided increased opportunities for social interactions and gatherings without physical distancing or face covering," said Dr. Do-Reynoso.

Santa Barbara County has been on the state's monitoring list for 21 days as of Monday for failing to meet COVID-19 data thresholds.

Based on the census of local hospital capacity, the county has 33% of available hospital beds after factoring in occupied beds from COVID-19 patients and other critical needs. The state has flagged this figure as "moderately concerning."

Additionally, 60% of local hospitals have less than 14 days of personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand which has been labeled as "more concerning." PHD has since petitioned the state for more PPE.

Santa Barbara County continues to have an elevated disease transmission, with a case rate of about 220 COVID-19 per 100,000 population over the last 14-day period. The State’s threshold is
no more than 100 per 100,000 population over a 14-day period or an 8% positive rate, which Santa Barbara County has 8.6%.

Dr. Do-Reynoso stated for each positive case they can estimate that person came into contact with ten additional people. There are currently 68 contact investigators in the county, formally called contact tracers, with an additional 30 to be supplied by the state. 

PHD has determined 57% of COVID-19 positive cases were related to person-to-person transmission, 1% due to travel, and 42% due to community acquisition meaning the direct source is unknown. 

Supervisor Gregg Hart expressed his confusion last week with the new state guidance and closures, specifically to the beverage industry. He asked for PHD to use more clarifying statements going forward and making the closures easier to understand. 

The latest COVID-19 numbers can be found here.

 

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a-1594220841 Jul 08, 2020 08:07 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

You all have no idea, working in Santa Barbara has been very hard as I work for a hotel in the city. Talk about stress..... We are being told to make up the money and push rooms to be sold out this summer. I know a lot of the other businesses are doing the same. It has become very scary but what else can we do? We fear for loss of jobs if we don't meet our expectations, yet we know these numbers in our city are going to sky rocket sooner than later. Anything less then a full shut down wont help...

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 01:39 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

PIT: Even from a self-serving point of view it makes sense to be mask compliant. If we care about the economy and want things to remain open, and even open up further, then keeping the infection rate low should be the goal. We are failing to meet the criteria set by the state and if the number of available hospital beds diminish much more the state and local government will shut everything down again rather than letting the hospitals be overwhelmed. That's just the reality, and I do not want to see that happen.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 11:45 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

We are not the only ones with poor mask compliance. I was at the Toyota dealer in Thousand Oaks yesterday and a customer inside the lobby was sitting on a couch without a mask, and one of the two cashiers working there had her mask pulled down below her nose and mouth while she helped customers. The odds of these two having and spreading COVID is small, so I wasn't personally freaked out, but these lapses are exactly why the virus continues to spread. I'm not a mask zealot, and I don't wear a mask driving in my car or walking outside in wide open spaces. However, I do wear a mask if I enter an establishment or if I'm outside in close proximity to others for an extended period of time. It's not a big deal and doesn't bother me to do so.

a-1594227536 Jul 08, 2020 09:58 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

That's not the only thing that would help. If we had better mask compliance like other countries who have squashed the curve, we would be fine too. We could go back to normal. But ONLY if people would wear masks!

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 12:00 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

The following summary is problematic: "PHD has determined 57% of COVID-19 positive cases were related to person-to-person transmission, 1% due to travel, and 42% due to community acquisition meaning the direct source is unknown." These numbers seem to have been determined by dividing the category of interest only by the sum of Community Close Contact, Travel, and Community cases. The resultant percentages completely ignore the Prison cases (944) AND the still Under Investigation (1444). I'm fine with discounting the Prison cases, because it's clear that the transmission in those cases was the result of incarceration. The cases still under investigation should not be discounted as they are significant in number and could belong either to Close Contact, Community or Travel. If you ignore the prison cases and retain the undetermined cases as a separate category, as PHD actually does, then the total cases is 2,798 with 12 from Travel (0.4%), 548 Community (19.6%), 744 Close Contact (26.6%), and 1444 Undetermined (51.6%).

dw2000 Jul 08, 2020 08:51 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

CHEMICALSUPERFREAK - yes, you are correct, the percentages in the article above appear to be derived from the dividing 744 (Community Close Contact), 12 (Travel), 548 (Community Transmission) by the sum of those three: (744 + 12 + 548) = 1,304. It would have been more clear had they said "where transmission method has been determined, the percentages are..." or something to that effect.

Shasta Guy Jul 07, 2020 05:36 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

I agree. The county could be doing a better job presenting the data. The link below is the place to at least get a chart of new cases and deaths for every county in the state. This is the State of California dashboard for every county. Some counties are having bigger problems than us, and others seem like paradise compared to us. Several counties are coming off their surges which began the first week of June. *** https://public.tableau.com/views/COVID-19CasesDashboard_15931020425010/Cases?%3Aembed=y&%3AshowVizHome=no&%3Amobile=true

a-1594165945 Jul 07, 2020 04:52 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Hey Public Health, can we get some graphs showing values OVER TIME for daily new cases, daily deaths, etc., instead of just totals over time? The dashboard is cool, but ultimately it is really difficult to observe trends. Check out the graphs worldometers.info/coronavirus is putting out, they tell a much more detailed story that is visually alarming, as it should be. The SB graphs don't express that, even though Public Health is expressing their worries. Please consider incorporating graphs of daily data into your next iteration, thank you!!

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 06:39 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

SHASTA: The only metric I care about these days is hospital/ICU bed occupancy, because that will dictate moves by our government. The positive rate, number of cases, etc, is irrelevant with respect to a possible shutdown.

PitMix Jul 08, 2020 10:46 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Forget the other data, the only useful info that isn't biased by testing problems is totals of ever hospitalized, ever ICU, and died. In Ventura County those numbers are 300 hospitalized, 100 ICU, 50 dead. Extrapoloate those numbers to total population in the US and we are talking about millions of dead and severely injured people trying to recover. Another stat that is useful is number of death certificates issues compared to last year, but I don't see those very much.

letmego Jul 08, 2020 08:22 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

It takes some initial work, but I just started keeping track of all this local data on my own spreadsheet, so I can look at those graphs and create new ones when I want. Daily new cases are trending up, if you are interested, both in the county and in south county. South county daily new cases are higher than they've ever been. The only time the county cases have been higher (than the last week), was the prison outbreak.

Shasta Guy Jul 08, 2020 07:28 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

I don’t disagree with you about WoM. But like I said, any for numbers with higher quality control go directly to the public health website for a state or a country. If you compare WoM California stats with State of California COVID-19 Dashboard they happen to be in excellent agreement. I really only care about the daily deaths at this point. Daily cases now are about 4X higher than April peaks, but daily deaths now are lower or in some cases equivalent. Per the CDC, COVID-19 is on the verge of losing its pandemic status because the death rate is about to drop below the threshold. The percentage of COVID-19 deaths has been in 10 straight weeks of decline. What will everyone do when it’s not considered a pandemic anymore?

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 07, 2020 09:10 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

SHASTA, WoM is a mess. Some anonymous comment had a link to WoM way back and I checked it out. It had listed the percentage of mild cases as 98% and the percentage of serious/critical as 4%....so 104% total??? Maybe it was a glitch that particular day, but I have refused to visit the site since. I'm actually keeping track of the data myself using an Excel spreadsheet and performing non-linear regression with SigmaPlot and/or Matlab. It's a pain because I have to manually enter the data, so my only wish would be for government agencies to offer a data download in some common format (e.x. comma delimited file) for import into the user's program of choice.

Shasta Guy Jul 07, 2020 08:06 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

WoM happens to be convenient and user friendly, just like Wikipedia. I check it without guilt. However, if I want numbers about COVID with better quality control then I go directly to the public health site of an individual state or country. I would never put a reference to Wikipedia in a customer presentation in my profession.

macpuzl Jul 07, 2020 05:42 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Worldometer is not a very reliable site as far as data quality. You'd be better off with a real medical site like Johns Hopkins University. Citations below from the Wikipedia article on them:
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"Worldometer has faced criticism over transparency of ownership, lack of citations to data sources, and unreliability of its COVID-19 statistics and rankings. The website reported that 18,000 people recovered from coronavirus in Spain on April 24, compared to the Spanish government figure of 3,105 recoveries for that day."
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"Edouard Mathieu, the data manager of Our World in Data, stated that "Their main focus seems to be having the latest number [of COVID-19 cases] wherever it comes from, whether it’s reliable or not, whether it’s well-sourced or not.""
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"Virginia Pitzer, a Yale University epidemiologist, said that the site is "legitimate", but flawed, inconsistent, and containing errors."
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"On the English Wikipedia, editors reached a consensus not to cite Worldometer for coronavirus statistics."

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