Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test title=
Public Health Department Director Van Do-Reynoso
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) encourages community members to get tested for COVID-19 to help loosen restrictions to reopen more businesses.

During a press conference on Friday, PHD Director Van Do-Reynoso stated the active case numbers are not declining enough to meet the standards of the next lowest tier. Moving into the red "substantial" tier means more businesses can reopen indoor operations with modifications such as restaurants, personal care services, churches, movie theatres, and gyms.

Santa Barbara County is currently in the purple "widespread" tier with a 7.9 case rate per day. However, the case rate is adjusted by the state to 8.3 based on the level of testing compared to the state's average. The rate will be adjusted upwards if testing is below the average and downwards if testing is more than the average. 

The county must be below a 7 case rate per day, or an average of 217 weekly cases, to qualify for the next tier. Do-Reynoso stated that increased testing will help the county achieve this goal.

Do-Reynoso also voiced her concerns about a "twin pandemic" as we enter into the flu season and urged residents to stop gathering.

Contact tracers indicated that social gatherings are the biggest issue. Over the Labor Day weekend, people tested positive for COVID-19 after attending church services, family gatherings of 15 people or more, social events with friends, meetups with three different families, house parties, and funerals.

Public Health Now Encouraging All Community Members to Get Tested

Over the past four months, the state-run COVID-19 testing sites’ utilization has fluctuated based on the need of the community. These testing sites have seen lower utilization rates over the past few weeks which has left sites with open availability for testing, states PHD. 

While emphasizing the importance of those in higher-risk environments receiving testing, PHD is now encouraging all community members to be tested.

The importance of getting tested for COVID-19 has never been greater. The positivity rate and case rate, two of the most vital measures in determining our County’s allowance to move to the red tier, are dependent on having robust testing. When a county does not meet the State’s standard for testing, it can be penalized with increased positivity rate and case rate. In an effort to achieve widespread testing, community members can in turn help Santa Barbara County protect the health and safety of our neighbors while fulfilling requirements to progress in reopening.

“We are again opening up the state-run testing sites for all community members. Testing turnaround times have greatly improved thanks to state and local efforts and we are now seeing an average turnaround time for results of under 72 hours,” said Do-Reynoso. “Detecting COVID-19 remains crucial to stopping the spread of this virus and one of the best tools we have to do just that is testing.”

State-run testing sites are located in Santa Maria, Buellton, and Goleta. Appointments can be made by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 888-634-1123 for those with no internet access. Testing is by appointment only.

New School Waiver Approvals

Four more elementary schools have been approved by the state to reopen in-person learning as soon as possible. They are:

Coastline Christian Academy, Goleta

Santa Ynez Valley Family School, Los Olivos

Pacific Christian School, Santa Maria

Santa Ynez Christian Academy, Santa Ynez

There are now eight K-6 schools within the county that have been approved to reopen. Overall 22 have applied with six more currently being reviewed by the state. 

New Health Order for Homeless Shelter and H-2A Housing Screenings

Earlier on Friday, PHD released a new health officer order requiring temperature screening, self-evaluation, and reporting of COVID-19 cases at all homeless shelters and H-2A housing in the County of Santa Barbara.

The order was issued as an attempt to ensure good outcomes for residents in those two settings, said Do-Reynoso. Although there hasn't been a recent uptick of COVID-19 outbreaks in these settings, she stated in the past there had been one outbreak at a shelter and a COVID-19 positive case at another shelter that was quickly mitigated to prevent an outbreak. She didn't have immediate information on outbreaks at H-2A housing.

While these measures were previously mandated, the health officer order now has the weight of potential consequences and legal action if these measures aren't followed. Do-Reynoso said it has been a lengthy process in developing these guidelines and engaging stakeholders but Santa Barbara County is the first to do this.

"We're trailblazers," she said.

Friday's Numbers

PHD is reporting two additional deaths of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. Two resided in the City of Santa Maria. One individual was between the ages of 50-69 and one was over 70 years of age. Both had underlying medical conditions. None of the residents reported were in congregate living facilities.

On Friday there were 30 new cases bringing the total to 8,608. Of the total, 183 cases are still active or infectious. There are currently 38 hospitalizations including 12 in the intensive care unit.

More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/santa-barbara-county-surveillance-metrics/ and https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/.

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vvorker Sep 12, 2020 07:11 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

"We're trailblazers," she said.
What did she really mean by that statement?
I would trust her and the rest of the county health about as much as I would a Ponzi scheme, maybe they both have something in common??
Buckle your seat belts now, we are heading into turbulence times ahead the next 6 months or more!! Thank god we don't have to wear body armor to go outside yet!!

ChemicalSuperFreak Sep 12, 2020 08:21 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

If you took time to analyze the data you'd realize how wrong you are. I've done extremely thorough analysis of every piece of data released, and here are the conclusions. The % of cases with positive results actually falls with increased testing as is evidenced by the two times they dramatically increased testing, which was May 9 (250 to 550/day) and again on June 17 (550 to 1500/day). Furthermore, the % of asymptomatic patients has largely remained stable over the past 60 days and fluctuates around an average of 9.5%, so they're not discovering the mythical 99% asymptomatic patients despite all the testing. Remember those people? More testing is unlikely to reveal this elusive population and drive the % positive higher, because they simply do not exist. If you're talking about increasing the raw numbers of positive cases, then yes, those daily cases will go up, but who cares? That's not the metric they look at when it comes to determining how to control us. In fact, speaking of control, that will actually decrease as we'd drop to a lower tier because the number of negative results will overwhelm the data. So your hypothesis makes zero sense, though it sounds fun (and I'm a Coast to Coast fan too). The SBPHD is advocating more test to actually drive the % of cases down, so they can stop taking heat for the continued shutdown. The SBPHD wants things open up without trying to manage the pandemic the way they've been advocating for the past 6 months with all the toothless health orders and recommendations. They've given up because our political leaders are terrified of having to enforce anything. Just look at the homeless problem.

Ahchooo Sep 12, 2020 08:36 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

But the article says that if too few people are tested, the state “adjusts” the numbers, and not in our favor. If the overall number of tests doesn’t meet some percentage of population, the state seems to assume that only the sickest are being tested and we actually have more cases. Kinda seems like we can’t win.

garfield Sep 12, 2020 08:46 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Okay, I thought. I will cooperate and allow someone to stick a long Q-tip up my nose. How do I sign up? That was my first wrong choice of the day.
This ihi.care website is a waste of time. I spent about ten minutes filling in three pages of forms, and not finishing. The page/form had a problem, and would not tell/show me where to fix the problem and finish. Another four minutes punching buttons on my phone to finally get to a person. "I am sorry that it is not working......". Then asked if I would spend another ten minutes giving her my information. She had no interest in passing that info to their web site guru.
The trail blazers are the ones with the arrows in their backs.

haskelslocal Sep 12, 2020 08:55 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

She's advocating for more people suspected of not having Covid to test so the percentage goes down. This is a strategy? Let's lie to ourselves? Never mind adjusting the percentage downwards based on outcomes. Oh no. We'd rather have Everyone test! Sounds also like FEWER people are "utilizing" testing facilities. This is good thing of course. But she can't have testing facilities turn stagnant for good reason. So even if you're not sick, come on down! Oh, and while you're there? How bout a flu shot?

notme Sep 12, 2020 09:30 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

I had a test in July, which was required before I went into a hospital in L.A. County for a procedure. It dawned on me that I could easily have been infected after that negative test, simply by stopping at the gas station bathroom on the way home, or in the hospital itself. What good does a test do if you can be infected afterward? The test only measures that particular space in time. It would be much more effective if people stopped having gatherings and started wearing masks if they have to go out.

a-1599929056 Sep 12, 2020 09:44 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Transmission is proving to take about 15 minutes of close contact with an infected person. Pumping gas (fomites) or casual, passing social contact should no longer be worrisome at this state of our growing knowledge about its transmission.

notme Sep 12, 2020 11:19 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Using a gas station bathroom in a minimart if someone there were infected would surely be dangerous. Plus, on more than one occasion, nurses at the hospital forgot to have me put on a mask before they took me for walks through the halls (I was there 11 days and feel fortunate that I didn't pick anything up). I also thought it odd that my husband didn't need a test before my procedure. He stayed at an AirBnB nearby while I was in the hospital, so he was out in the real world, with the potential of exposure. But he was allowed to visit me every day.

a-1600116043 Sep 14, 2020 01:40 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Cite: CDC, UK Public Health and Australian Public Health websites all report covid contacts need to be over 15 minute of duration and in close contact with an infected person to register as a significant risk of transmission or for contact tracing.

YELLOWFIN Sep 12, 2020 09:34 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

SHOREBIRD has it right, HASKELSLOCAL. She is advocating for more accurate information. Because you can be infected with this virus and not have any symptoms, no good assessment can happen if non-symptomatic people aren't tested. It's not faking the numbers, it's a real strategy. Just because it's simple doesn't mean it can't be effective. Testing everyone is what has worked all over the world.

navigator Sep 12, 2020 03:15 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Correct me if I'm wrong, but those tests cost between $200 and $250 each the last time I checked. So it would cost $90 to $110 million to test everyone in the county just once. Wouldn't it make more sense just to give the shutdown local businesses that money?

Oakcreek Sep 12, 2020 11:21 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

This is just a flagrant example of how to lie with statistics. The more people that test negative the sooner we can open up even of the average number of daily cases remains the same or even edges up, the apparent percentage goes down.

Lucky 777 Sep 12, 2020 11:23 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Asking for the public to test so that they can manipulate the numbers to show a lower percentage. But with the tests returning false positives that will inevitably return more CASES. The test ONLY measures current infection, a status that can change before you even get the results back. (At Sansum the test results come back in 15 minutes.) The tests do NOT measure antibodies, so we still have no data on community spread. The ONLY number that matters, which we are never told, is the number of excess deaths. That might give us deaths due to covid. Meanwhile these "trailblazers" are loving every minute of their highly paid moment in the TV spotlights.

madrededios Sep 12, 2020 02:38 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

A metric that is used in COVID-19 tests performed is per the million. As of September 11, 2020, the number of tests performed in the countries most impacted world wide, the U.S. ranked number two, with Israel testing 284,859 per one million people. The U.S. rated second in testing 271,543 per one million people.
I am a Carpinteria senior and am not taking a bus ride anywhere! Regardless of how close to home. Are you kidding me??!! A bus??!! No thank you, I am opting out of being a statistic, especially a dead one due to Covid-19. Period.

ChemicalSuperFreak Sep 12, 2020 05:31 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Do-Reynoso asking the public to help rig the data is shameful and just proves she and Ansorg have no clue what they're doing. How about enforcing any of the number of health orders you've released in the past several months? Neither of these two officials have managed to get a handle on this and, in fact, the numbers in our county have actually trended upwards in the past 6 months under their watch. If you think Do-Reynoso and Ansorg and feeling desperate now, just wait until the UCSB students return in the next two weeks.

letmego Sep 14, 2020 01:22 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

OMG, the fact that there are actually people out there who think that "increased testing" means "rigging the data" just shows how people don't understand math. More testing = more data = NOT RIGGED ... UNLESS you are specifically ONLY testing sick people or ONLY testing healthy people and sending sick people away. More data of the general population means you have a more realistic idea of actual infection rates.

If you are lucky, then your total positive cases don't go up and you can open up. If you are not lucky, you find more asymptomatic cases and then your total cases increase and you still cannot open.

ChemicalSuperFreak Sep 14, 2020 07:56 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Already debunked your asymptomatic cases....see my later comment below. Yes, it's absolutely rigged because when you're borderline and have a testing rate that is well above the state average the state will adjust your metrics favorably so you can reach the next lower tier and open. It's not about new data, the piles of which we already have aren't providing a better understanding of how to deal with this. They know how to deal with it, but won't. Additional data won't change that. This new maneuver is about getting the state to adjust our numbers downward so we qualify for the next tier, which is data manipulation by definition.

420722 Sep 12, 2020 10:48 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

I wonder how many of you will still wear a mask in your car with the windows up in 10 years from now because the science (in California) says it’s not safe to take them off yet? Oh wait the world ends before that I forgot, your Tv has you believing that too.

SBLetsGetAlong Sep 13, 2020 08:58 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Here we go again with contradictory “requests” & info from public health.
And we’re all along for the ride.
So Newsom is going to penalize SB for not getting tested.
That’s making up false numbers.

Newsom & Pub Health, stop politicizing the number of Covid positives.

I agree w Navigator. Spend that testing money where it can truly help the people.

a-1600116324 Sep 14, 2020 01:45 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Since this extra testing of well persons are not "free" - someone has to pay for them - this will more to the taxpayer's bill, just to game the system that is already punishing taxpayers economically. Sobering lesson what "big government" really looks like, acts like and costs like. But then this is just OPM, so government employees are okay with spending it at will. This is where our elected supervisors, our tax dollar overseers, need to step in and scream - stop this nonsense. But this is just OPM to them too.

Andrea Smith Sep 14, 2020 02:19 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

I don't understand. In the beginning, you could NOT get tested unless you met 5 criteria [I know b/c I was not feeling well and my doctor could not send me even though he wanted to]. I get that, as it takes awhile to get enough tests. Then, they opened it up to everyone even if not symptomatic which I though was great. That didn't last too long, as they said they were running short on tests so they re-instituted the "symptom" requirement. Now this? Did they all of a sudden get more tests? Really, I wish they would at least give an explanation for this back and forth run around. I think more testing is a great idea, it just seems like everything is completely disjointed and that really erodes public trust.

a-1600285594 Sep 16, 2020 12:46 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

What a joke- there are NO testing slots available at the Goleta site- on my Nextdoor multiple comments from people who tried to sign up for a test but none available. County should have checked that out before urging people to test. We will be in putple forever.

a-1600321878 Sep 16, 2020 10:51 PM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

wow. with the month-long outbreak in Isla Vista well underway, and the weekend house parties and downtown gatherings going strong, and little to no testing capacity on the south coast.......yep, we are in the purple for the foreseeable future folks

Bene Sep 17, 2020 02:46 AM
Public Health Encourages Community Members to Get COVID-19 Test

Chemical Super Freak is right. Shameful trying to rig data and shameful to manipulate us to go through a very unpleasant test and risk getting "fomited" (my new all purpose pet word) in the process. It's one thing to have something painfully jabbed up your nose if you have symptoms, and another to do this just to help rig data.

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