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-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!!

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."

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.

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 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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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...

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 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.

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.

a-1594232311 Jul 08, 2020 11:18 AM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Jury summons notices are going out. Will people show up? Is the exception for medical concerns is still being over 70 years of age with severe illness? Seems at odds with being over 65 and isolating.

sacjon Jul 08, 2020 02:00 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Wear the damn masks! The more people who take this seriously, the sooner our kids go back to normal school, businesses open, sports resume, etc etc.... How selfish can you be to refuse to wear a mask and be part of the reason your kids are still at home and you're still out of work? Republicans have turned this political, but how much more do they love Trump and "stickin' it to the libs," than they love their own families? Scary.

a-1594242098 Jul 08, 2020 02:01 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

I’ve been watching Governor Cuomo’s updates and now, Ventura’s updates where I feel there’s an effort to get the real picture and plan across. Too bad it’s only tangentially relevant. Today, Ventura mentioned that across their well-functioning testing sites they’ll have to start screening out SBC folks who have apparently been forced to seek tests down in VC, in significant numbers. They’re justifiably trying to hasten results turnaround times.

I try to catch all the media offerings from SBC but either I’m missing the useful, confidence-inspiring output, or it’s just not there. Does anyone have a tip on media follows or sites I might have missed?

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 02:35 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Do you have a link to this testing development? I've been curious about SBC testing capacity, which has seen two dramatic increases in testing capacity. Prior to May, SBC was reporting around 200 test/day. On May 8 that number more than doubled to around 550 tests/day until June 17, where it more than doubled again to around 1200 tests/day. This is my own analysis based on numbers posted on the SBPHD website. I have to agree that there seems to be scant data, and they don't make it easy to retrieve this information so I've been typing each number into a spreadsheet by hand. If anyone has information on the true number of hospital and ICU beds I'd be interested. Currently I have 681 staffed beds and 84 ICU beds, which I got from the John Hopkins website. In terms of metrics, these are probably the two most critical numbers when it comes to predicting a shutdown.

a-1594251861 Jul 08, 2020 04:44 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

DW2000 "so what"? Those of us who did what we were asked - including businesses - by distancing, wearing masks, making sacrifices and not attending protests with people shoulder to shoulder, screaming and yelling and many not wearing masks - now have to suffer again and possibly even get sick. Had we just re-opened without protests I'd bet $$ we wouldn't be seeing such a large spike. Now we are almost back to square one potentially, with possibly more lockdowns coming if this doesn't get under control. More financial hits to the economy, and to our health. There's your "so what".

a-1594251862 Jul 08, 2020 04:44 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

DW2000 "so what"? Those of us who did what we were asked - including businesses - by distancing, wearing masks, making sacrifices and not attending protests with people shoulder to shoulder, screaming and yelling and many not wearing masks - now have to suffer again and possibly even get sick. Had we just re-opened without protests I'd bet $$ we wouldn't be seeing such a large spike. Now we are almost back to square one potentially, with possibly more lockdowns coming if this doesn't get under control. More financial hits to the economy, and to our health. There's your "so what".

macpuzl Jul 08, 2020 04:54 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Except that the epidemiological data point to the resurgence as being primarily due to reopening too early, rather than to the protests.
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https://www.nber.org/papers/w27408.pdf
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https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/06/24/883017035/what-contact-tracing-may-tell-about-cluster-spread-of-the-coronavirus

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 05:03 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

MAC: You're a computer programmer, knowledgeable about scientific things such as astronomy, so have you done any analysis yourself? You seem capable. I try to do as much as I can myself, rather than relying on other research to make my point. I ask because the publication you liked has a disclaimer "NBER working papers are circulated for discussion and comment purposes. They have not been peer-reviewed or been subject to the review by the NBER Board of Directors that accompanies official NBER publications." Furthermore, it's an economic analysis, not scientific. It's a dubious conclusion at best.

macpuzl Jul 08, 2020 05:27 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

I'm not fond of amateur epidemiology. I know enough to know I don't know enough to carry out such an analysis. Also, peer review is a process with a time constant that precludes effective review in such a short interval. The NBER report was included because most of the shutdown complainers are business people, so such a conclusion by their peers might carry some weight. Blaming the huge surge we're experiencing on a relatively few protesters, who by and large seemed to be adhering to pandemic protocols, is an exercise in letting politics overrule rationality. When the preprints are peer reviewed, I am confident that the conclusions will be that opening too early combined with flaunting of the protective protocols by an ignorant segment of the populace resulted in the surge.

bigman Jul 08, 2020 05:30 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

Also I have no idea why ppl are so resistant to admitting the protests spread this much more so than simple re-opening would have. It's strange to me. Seems political frankly and not based in fact or science.

macpuzl Jul 08, 2020 05:48 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

5:29 and 5:30 - That's what the data and medical science tell us so far. The timing and locations of the protests do not correlate well with the locations and timing of the surge. Sure, they contributed. But not much. Contact tracing shows that most infections occur in close, prolonged contact situations indoors, where people are without masks. Places like bars and restaurants, and personal services like barbers.

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

4:44 - It's pretty much established now that the BLM protests did not contribute significantly to the spike in numbers. It was the bars, restaurants, careless parties, etc where the tracing found culpability. That is why you see the largest spikes in states that opened early (Texas, Florida, etc). Look, I'm sure some covid was spread at those protests, but the biggest factor in the spike was indoor activity. It's really easily verifiable so I'm not posting all the links again to studies and articles.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 08, 2020 06:13 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

MAC: I'm not fond of amateur epidemiology either, which is why I'm discounting the non-scientific NBER article you posted. In hindsight, I suppose you computer scientists aren't really true scientists, so forgive me if I expected more from you. For your information "business people", as I believe is your term, are local citizens who pay tax and employ fellow citizens. You're so dismissive of them, which is sad. As far as "protesters, who by and large seemed to be adhering to pandemic protocols", I think shoulder to shoulder is less than 6 feet. What do you think?

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

SAC: Dismiss the idea of significant. It's immeasurable. There are anti-mask people contributing too. I've seen several in the past days and it bothers me. Just be honest, is all I ask. Anti-shutdown people who are challenging mask orders are as bad as protesters. In fact, the odd anti-masker is less of a danger, because it's like one out 100. On the other hand, you have thousands of protesters, shoulder to shoulder, yelling. Think that's not an serious problem with respect to the odd Floridian hick that refuses to wear a mask in Costco???

GeneralTree Jul 08, 2020 07:17 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

I'm positively convinced these COVID new case numbers going through the roof has absolutely no connection to the anti-mask protests, the reopening of hair salons, restarurants and bars, all of the people going to the beach over labor day, the hasty re-opening into the stages of phase 2 and 3, the Trump rally or the tourists.

Bene Jul 08, 2020 07:34 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

I agree WATCHER, because I have utmost confidence in data gleaned from contact tracing. Especially tracing related to protests. I for one, am fully confident that everyone who participated in a protest readily gave that info to the contact tracers. Here is a "pull quote" from LA Times article: "L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer recently said it is “highly likely” that the recent overall increase in positive cases is related in part to the mass protests." But even if the percentage of contribution of protests to positive cases could be accurately calculated, the information wouldn't be useful in practical terms. It is pretty much common knowledge that gathering in large groups right now is not a great idea, whether it's to worship or protest. That is, without full protective gear including N95's, and the assurance that all of the large group are wearing said gear correctly.

dw2000 Jul 08, 2020 08:21 PM
Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases

And....you said exactly what I predicted you might “Had we just re-opened without protests I'd bet $$ we wouldn't be seeing such a large spike” the spike was coming due covid-deniers/down players. I knew when the protests happened it would give conservatives just a bit slack to absolve themselves. Lets keep in mind we had 100,000 dead from Covid the day Floyd Jones was killed. It didn't take protests for NY to catch fire early on. If you go back to March I have been consistent on this thing, can you say the same Watcher? I wonder. So keep your false conciousness.

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