Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

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By the edhat staff

New state data shows Santa Barbara County has the highest rate of COVID-19 spread out of any other county in California.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is tracking each county's effective reproduction number, also known as the R-effective, to determine the average number of people each infected person will pass the virus onto thus representing the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading.

Based on the state's model, Santa Barbara County has the highest R-effective in the state at 1.27 as of Friday, said Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso. She explained anything above 1 means the virus is spreading exponentially. 


R-effective trends by County from October 28, 2020 to January 13, 2021 
(Source: CalCat)

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg stated the metrics are determined based on the number of positive tests, new cases, and how quickly they increase. He cited a series of huge jumps in case rates that show exponential growth of the virus and how fast it spreads. 

Dr. Do-Reynoso said the county is in "dire straits" as this past Sunday proved to have the highest case rate of 779 new COVID-19 infections beating the previous record by 200 cases. The hosital rates and weekly deaths have quadrupled with the testing positivity reaching 16%. 

These "extremely concerning" numbers were described as a surge on top of a surge and are directly related to holiday gatherings and travel that will likely last until February, said Dr. Do-Reynoso.


R-effective rates by county (Source: CalCat)

Vaccinations Open Up to Anyone 75 Years of Age or Older

Santa Barbara County is beginning vaccination efforts for people 75 years of age and older. Medical providers who are approved to administer the vaccination will be contacting eligible patients to schedule vaccination appointments. Vaccinations will also be made available at each of the public health community vaccination points of distribution (PODs) which are located throughout the county.

This is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, January 20th. Once enough vaccination supply is received, community members aged 65 through 74 will be able to sign up for vaccination followed by those who work in education, childcare, emergency servies, and food/grocery/agricultural sectors. 

Click here for more information on the vaccine rollout.

Dr. Ansorg also addressed a few "conspiracy theories" that are circulating on social media and clarified the rumor that the vaccine will cause infertility is not backed by any scientific data, stating a few women in the vaccine trials have since conceived successfully. He also stated the theory that COVID-19-related deaths are actually due to the flu is not true as everyone admitted to the hospital is tested for both the flu and COVID-19. He stated there have been flu-reated deaths but they are much less this year due to social distancing, mask wearing, and increased hand washing.

Friday's Numbers

There were 364 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths reported on Friday.

Of those who died, four were over the age of 70, and one was between 50-69 years old. Three had underlying medical conditions and one death was associated with an outbreak at a congregate facility. Two of the deceased individuals were from Santa Maria, two from Lompoc, and one from Orcutt.

There have now been 228 deaths.

The county is now experiencing 2,786 active cases that include 192 hospitalizations with 52 in the intensive care unit.

Santa Barbara County's intensive care unit availability is currently 1.3%

Dr. Ansorg confirmed the majority of people who are hospitalized are in the 40 to 50 age range.

Public health officials reminded the community to vaccinate when it's their turn, wear a mask, keep their distance from others, wash their hands, stop gathering, and leave your home only for essential needs.

More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/.

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shorebird Jan 16, 2021 02:39 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

I’m seeing on the news shows that there is no federal stockpile of Covid 19 vaccine. Does anyone know if you get one dose and are unable to schedule the second dose do you have to start all over again when vaccines are available again at some point in the future?

ginger1 Jan 16, 2021 03:10 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

From what I've read, the 21 day (Pfizer) and 24-28 day (Moderna) second dose timing is the minimum. There is no "termination date" but within 2 months is the currently accepted "booster" time. The Moderna shot appears to afford near 90% efficacy in two weeks and the booster brings it to 95%. The other issue is longevity. No one knows how long it lasts after one dose and I guess you could say no one *really* knows how long with two, but that is the way it was trialed.

Consider the reality that SB has failed to control the spread of the virus. "Stay at home" order is useless. Not to mention Target and car washes are essential businesses? My guess that failure is exactly related to allowing LA visitors to jam State Street (especially when it was open for business) and our beaches and our motels. It is exactly related to our people traveling to visit out-of-town family and friends, going away "on vacation to Tahoe for a week" etc. I see that the vast majority of people here are doing the right things but that wont work when 10,000 people from out of town (who also are under "stay at home orders" visit here every weekend. Besides, doing the right stuff "except I wasn't feeling so well but I just had to pick up a few things....." and we're doomed. Takes just one to infect dozens who infect dozens more.

And now we are failing to get the vaccine into arms. But hey, I'm not complaining. I got mine. ;-)

LooseCannon Jan 18, 2021 08:58 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

If the vaccination rollout is being delayed while eligible people are vacillating about whether to get the shot or not, or which one they want, or flat-out don't believe in vaccines and science, then the vaccine should be made available to a wider group of people. I'm 55 and ready to roll up my sleeve.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 17, 2021 12:06 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

FYI, UCSB is quietly moving students into university owned housing this very weekend while Santa Barbara is posting record numbers of cases. Thanks Henry Yang. Where are our public health officials to stand up for our community???

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 17, 2021 12:55 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Conservative, you are either intentionally lying or missed Yang's letter (Titled: Winter Quarter Instruction and COVID-19 Testing) sent out on December 23, 2020, in which he stated: "While the ongoing challenges of the pandemic remain, we have a positive outlook for the year ahead. We are eager and excited to bring 1,000 of our undergraduate students back to on-campus housing next month, joining the 1,400 graduate and undergraduate students who have been living in university housing since the start of the academic year." There is signage around the university directing the student move-in. It's amazing that Yang is bringing even more students back, to party and spread COVID, while ALL of UCSB's instruction is currently online.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 17, 2021 03:09 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

A non-story? UCSB is bringing in students, despite no in-person instructions, when many businesses can not open up or are under heavy restrictions? When people in congregate living facilities are still dying, one year after they discovered that these are the most vulnerable in the community? When the ICUs are supposedly at 0%? When Santa Barbara is posting the highest number of daily cases and has the highest transmission rate in the entire state of California? Now you want to bring in a demographic that has shown over and over again a complete unwillingness to take precautions to curb the spread because they've been told, and generally believe, that they're invincible? Okay.

dukemunson Jan 17, 2021 04:43 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Yep... non story! As per Fauci, keeping kids at college is better than having them home with older family members. Obviously it would be nice if UCLA were opening up some dorms too so the college age SB kids who came back to sb to live at home go back to LA... but either way it’s not much of a story. UCSB has the rooms and the space to easily house 1000 undergrads. It’s a drop in the bucket. And since these are virtually all Cali kids anyways... it’s a non story. Bring them back...doesn’t change anything except maybe make Freebirds and Naan stops life a little better.

dukemunson Jan 17, 2021 06:02 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

CSF - you are a smart guy...Not quite sure what your deal though is here. It makes sense to keep the college kids living with other college kids and not back with their older parents. 18-22 year olds are still going to be out and about partying... if that’s the reality (which it is), them going back to their college makes sense. Like I said, It would be nice if all the SB kids home from school and partying nightly and out and about went back to their schools too... but either way it doesn’t really matter. It’s a non story. Citing Fauci is not desperation. You can hate trump, fauci, Obama, McConnell, Putin, carbajal, etc and still see where and when they are right. He’s right on this one and you are wrong. Doesn’t make him right on other things or you wrong on other things.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 17, 2021 07:17 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Duke, the point is that in the midst of this "dark winter", while the world is supposedly ending because of the surge in cases, where there are no more beds available in hospitals, the SoCal region is "officially" shutdown, many businesses are severely crippled, temporarily closed, or shuttered forever, why is a state institution opening up for business when their business is exclusively online for the foreseeable future. The actions are incongruous with everything other state institutions/officials are saying, even if it is a drop in the bucket. By the way, it's way more than 1000 students because there were caravans of minivans and I saw thousands of students moving in today. The parking lots are full of student cars again. I know because I had business on campus today. As far as Fauci, he has been wrong going all the way back to the 80s with his predictions on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, he's changed his position on masks (or more likely lied way back in March), and he's changed his position on herd immunity. Nearly every politician and health expert has been wrong, more than once, and they've handled this pandemic poorly at every level. One thing COVID has exposed is that we were, and still are, terribly prepared, and we've allowed a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats into power who aren't even qualified to run a bake sale.

dukemunson Jan 17, 2021 08:19 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Yes I was on campus too... and will be there every day next week...and the week after...and the week after (such is my life).

We both know the world isn’t ending... or at least we both know that the world is ending but in more of a billion or two years from now kind of way... so let’s hold back on the doomsday proclamations.

As for today, You must have timed it poorly with the minivans because it literally and factually is just 1000 undergrads coming into the dorms... but yes...that is a lot of minivans and large SUV’s so I can appreciate and understand the mistake/over estimation. But realize/understand that that truly represents nothing more than a drop in the bucket. Isla vista has been running at 70-80% capacity since September so this really isn’t much of an addition.... and these kids actually have some personal space compared to most in IV.

While UCSB is a state institution, they need paying customers...a lot of them... and that includes having some on site. They have transitioned towards implementing their plan for a full Fall return... a plan with a lot of incremental steps... herein lies step #1...

And again, these 1000 kids could stay in Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Santa Maria, LA and SF... but With a virus like COVID in which there is no lockdown or shutdown... what does that honestly accomplish? No... let’s begin the process of restarting UCSB and hopefully these 1000 kids can help Kyle’s kitchen and Cucas stay in business...

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 17, 2021 10:31 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Duke, sorry, but I don't believe any of the numbers you're presenting. Like Fauci, you too have a credibility problem. Do I really need to bring up all your pre-surge quotes about how we were just on the cusp of yellow tier and there was no surge coming at all??? You really Munson'd that one!

dukemunson Jan 18, 2021 07:00 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Please do bring them up... as they were all based on public health department data at the time. The timing was ironical of course as the surge happened immediately after I posted those comments and the numbers went up rendering those thoughts moot... but they were based on the current public health numbers. Sure... let’s Score 1 for CSF!

That being said, you have also been prone to some humorous quotes that defy logic and reason. I still get a good chuckle out of your thoughts on the UCSB monetary savings of not using their boilers...that is truly great humor!

As for my numbers, they are on based on Chancellor Young’s email to all students, parents and faculty from December 23rd, as well as with the UCSB housing office. I guess it could be a vast conspiracy of course and that Yang is opening up a back entrance to campus to sneak a few thousand extra in... but do you honestly really think that? As per all available info, these 1000 undergrads join the current 1400 (mostly post grad, married students and special exceptions) that have been in campus housing since September.

Ultimately, if you are lumping me together with Dr Fauci... thanks... that’s pretty good company! And while I don’t agree with everything he has said, I’d rather be lumped in with director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 than a seemingly intelligent but prone to bizarre conspiracies Edhatter! No offense of course... you are a valuable part of edhat!!! But you are wrong here... like you were about the boilers. Maybe it’s an Anti UCSB thing... you a Cal poly alumni???

dukemunson Jan 18, 2021 07:04 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Here’s Chancellor Yang’s email. Does he, Like Fauci and the great DukeMunson also have a credibility problem????

December 23, 2020

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

With 2020 coming to a close, we look onward and upward to a new year and a new quarter. We hope the much-needed and more-than-deserved repose of winter break will provide renewed momentum and optimism to fuel us as we teach, learn, work, and conduct research together under the continuing circumstances.

While the ongoing challenges of the pandemic remain, we have a positive outlook for the year ahead. We are eager and excited to bring 1,000 of our undergraduate students back to on-campus housing next month, joining the 1,400 graduate and undergraduate students who have been living in university housing since the start of the academic year. We have so missed the vibrant energy of our entire student body, and we are hopeful that this revitalization is just the beginning as we continue to ramp up our campus life for spring and summer.

PdW Jan 18, 2021 02:33 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

In IV's defense, everywhere in Santa Barbara was packed this weekend! I've never seen so many people on rented paddle boards, kayaks and jet skis off East Beach, it was wild! I think all of LA county made the drive up.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 18, 2021 04:14 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Duke, what do you mean about the timing being "ironical"? I don't understand that. You were not looking at the "public health department data at the time", and this was pointed out to you over and over. What you were looking at was the tier-system data, which was 2 weeks old by the time it was regularly published. The "public health department data at the time" was available to everyone on the SBPHD Status page, and this you defiantly ignored this information after repeated attempts to direct you to it. I get that not everyone wants to pour over the available data to observe trends in the cases, but then please don't insist on things you know nothing about. Nearly four months later you're at it again, taking a statement released from some official and believing it to be true without once verifying for yourself. One week ago, all the campus housing parking lots were empty. Today they're nearly filled to capacity. I guess each of the 1,000 new students brought 2 or 3 cars with them. Just take a drive past Sierra Madre on Storke and see for yourself, rather than take the word of Chancellor Yang. Lastly, I can't believe you referred to yourself in the third person...or maybe I can.

dukemunson Jan 18, 2021 05:54 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Thought you might like the third person... as you seem to consider yourself a genius and the likes of the eminent dr Fauci an imbecile.

And you have the substance of our argument wrong. We were arguing over the word “firmly” in regards to what tier we were in. You were adamant that we “firmly” were t in the tier we were... public health data said we were. Things spiked and we went up to the next tier... but at the time of the argument you were seemingly confused what “firmly” meant. (Not to mention humorously and bizarrely convinced that UCSB’s budget would be balanced due to the boilers being off. Which is truly great humor that the Duke and I thoroughly enjoyed).

I was on campus today and... yeah... pretty quiet! Yes, 1000 new students arrived for the dorms. This is both common public knowledge via chancellor yangs emails and separately by the UCSB housing office (who also send out regular messages regarding housing updates). But maybe it’s a big conspiracy... all of UCSB is on it and they brought in 10,000 kids and are hoping no one notices. Do you really think that though?

The actual non conspiracy theory fact is that UCSB brought 1000 additional students in, which is on top of the 1400 (mostly grad and married students) that were in the dorms... so 2400 total. That is the fact... no matter what conspiracy theorists and egomaniac posters may tell you...

dukemunson Jan 18, 2021 06:18 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Masks don’t work/help was dumb and a mistake. They were trying to protect mask stockpiles but that was a misstatement (yeah I’m not 100% behind Fauci either... I mean I’m taking him 100 times out of 100 over our angry self proclaimed genius edhatter... but there certainly have been misstatements).

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 18, 2021 07:14 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

ThomasJohn: May 6, 1983 in JAMA, Fauci stated that HIV/AIDS could be transmitted though routine household contact and caused a massive worldwide panic. As it turned out, HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through casual contact. February 1, 2010, Fauci went on a NIH radio program and stated that there was no cholera in Haiti (after the devastating January 12th earthquake), only for 800,000 Haitians to become subsequently infected by cholera and 9,000 of them to die of it. On May 8, 2020, Fauci went on 60 Minutes and said regarding COVID, “There's no reason to be walking around with a mask.” Not long after we were all mandated to wear masks. On December 24, 2020, Fauci in an interview with the New York Times stated that herd immunity would take 90% of the population, but had previously held to 70-75% in a previous interview on December 16 with CNBC. Fauci loves the spotlight and will say practically anything, whether it’s true or not. I do not trust anything he says.

a-1611099333 Jan 19, 2021 03:35 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

7:14 - You're really reaching for that AIDS complaint in your diatribe against Dr. Fauci. The retrovirus wasn't even identified until 1984, and not named as HIV until 1986. Not much was known about how it was transmitted in 1983. But, you only see what you want to see.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 19, 2021 04:13 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Stop being a science denier and posting fake news. Two groundbreaking research papers in Science, BOTH PUBLISHED IN 1983, identify the retrovirus (named HTLV at the time) and its transmission. As with COVID-19 (now SARS-CoV-2), names sometimes change and anyone focusing on the use of GRID vs AIDS or HTLV vs HIV in terms of naming and/or dates is clearly not a scientist, just an amateur pretending to be one.
1) R.C. Gallo, et al. "Isolation of human T-cell leukemia virus in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)" Science 1983, Vol. 220, Issue 4599, pp. 865-867.
2) F. Barre-Sinoussi, et al. "Isolation of a T-lymphotropic retrovirus from a patient at risk for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)" Science 1983, Vol. 220, Issue 4599, pp. 868-871.

a-1611107569 Jan 19, 2021 05:52 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Congratulations! You found the two independent discovery articles, both published in June of 1983, after your Fauci quote. Little was known at the time about the transmission of the virus, or about retroviruses in general. But, you only see what you want to see.

sblocal1967 Jan 18, 2021 07:25 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Looks like a very small subset of people are getting infected. People who do large family gatherings after traveling from other places where they did large family gatherings with people who do not care about getting Covid. These people then go to work or visit and infect elderly at nursing homes. How they are able to go to work/visit at these places without first testing negative is a complete failure.

So the rest of our society (businesses, education, etc...) is locked down due to a very small subset of people who refuse to use common sense. You then have teacher unions using this BS as a way screw the kids over.

Why do we never address the root cause?

LooseCannon Jan 18, 2021 08:20 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Agreed. The current spread seems to be attributable to private INDOOR gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas. When there was OUTDOOR dining over the summer and plenty of people at the beach and in the parks, there was a diminution of cases.

So, I agree that there is a small subset of people who have spoiled things for the rest of us by gathering indoors. And there is a another subset who continue to focus on people going to the beach and congregating in small numbers in parks because these activities are VISIBLE, although they are comparatively far less risky than indoor events.

I think there are some people who just can't stand the sight of seeing people enjoying themselves, responsibly, outdoors.

letmego Jan 18, 2021 10:04 AM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

With the R being what it is, we will see exponential growth. That's not a small subset. The SOURCE originally might be a small subset, but then that quickly becomes "not a small subset". Then suddenly you have multiple coworkers on quarantine because they were individually exposed by other people.

RobinSB Jan 18, 2021 03:16 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

Agree with LC - this past weekend walking downtown, with no one near 12 feet of me i still got harassed for not wearing a mask, smiling and enjoying the beautiful day. I maintain and practice all the stuff the CDC says, and still enjoy myself. My business has been practicing (we are essential) and mandating all of the cdc recommendations and we have been fortunate enough to be open this entire time. We have to be. There is no one who can do what we do if we are not here doing it. And i'm going to continue to enjoy myself responsibly. Those who still can't get over it just stay inside, keep the negativity within.

sblocal1967 Jan 18, 2021 03:56 PM
Santa Barbara County Has Highest COVID-19 Spread in California

There will not be exponential growth - this small subset of idiots can only infect so many people. The vast majority of people do not interact with this subset nor do stupid things to get infected. We just need to let Darwin do what he does.

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