Public Health Concerned About Upward Trend of COVID-19 Cases
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.