Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

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Source: Santa Barbara County Public Health Department

The data could not be clearer. Simply stated, COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County is at record high levels. The case rate, number of new daily cases, testing positivity, active cases, and hospitalizations are all the highest we have ever experienced during the course of this pandemic. Further, the rate of increase of these metrics is approaching exponential growth.

As of yesterday afternoon, December 29, 2020, the unadjusted case rate remains high at approximately 43.3 per 100,000. Testing positivity is currently 10.5%. Recently, active community cases have been over 1,200, which is over twice as high as our summer peak. Since December 17, 2020 our COVID-19 hospitalizations reached new highs. 

“What this means is that COVID-19 is actively spreading across our county. It is not safe to gather with people outside your household,” shared Van Do-Reynoso, Director for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “Not only is gathering unsafe, but we risk losing the extremely limited hospital beds we have left and exhausting the health care staff that has tirelessly cared for our community.”

This week, more COVID-19 vaccines arrived. To date 17, 575 vaccines have been delivered to hospitals, health care centers and the Public Health Department in Santa Barbara County. 8,775 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and 8,800 Moderna vaccines have been received.

“As we move further into COVID-19 vaccine distribution, we come closer and closer to being out of this pandemic. Our most at-risk health care givers will soon be protected from this virus. This fact alone puts our entire community in a better place than it is now,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “We are in for a very difficult next few weeks. Unfortunately, we cannot stop what is to come in the immediate future, but we can impact the longer-term trajectory of this virus spread. Stay home, wear a mask if you must leave for essential tasks, isolate immediately if you are sick, and please do not gather with those outside your home.”

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ginger1 Dec 31, 2020 10:49 AM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

The only measure that is proven to work to limit and actually reduce the infection rate to zero is complete and immediate isolation of infected communities and specifically the person or persons who brought the infection into that community. Community means any neighborhood, town, city, county, or even state. No one goes in or out. Period. We do not do that in the USA and instead rely on "stay at home" orders which most people ignore. Instead, millions of people got on airplanes, trains or drove to visit with friends and family----and quite clearly spread coronavirus everywhere.

We close businesses that are not the cause of the spread (or places where it's easy to control it) and allow other business to be open that do foster the spread. Hotels are open to accommodate visitors who are ignoring the stay at home order. Supermarkets are wiping down conveyor belts when there is zero evidence that anyone, anywhere in the world has gotten sick from that mode of transmission. Grocery store customers pull down their masks to smell the fruit which they touch with their now contaminated hands. Produce does not get disinfected, does it? But your shopping cart does. So what?

It is direct contact with infected people, people. You must avoid contact with infected people. That means not congregating with others in closed environments. It means staying in your home if you are sick until you are no longer sick. Wearing a mask while driving in your car or walking on the beach or sidewalk with no one around does exactly nothing to protect you. Fumbling continually with your mask and then picking your nose might get you sick. Washing/disinfecting your hands is the fix for that, not wiping down every single inanimate object you might touch.

In this country we do pretty much everything wrong. Pretty obvious considering we are number one for infections on the planet and California is number one in the USA.

And now we add to this picture by not getting the vaccine into people, as it sits in freezers instead. Our vaccination rate in the USA is one fifth that of most other civilized countries and here in CA even lower than that.

"Doing the best you can" does not work for highly infectious diseases. You either do everything completely right or don't bother at all (except to protect the highest risk population.) Two weeks of hard lockdown works perfectly. 10 months of "stay at home" and "closed restaurants" and "essential businesses like Best Buy and carwashes open" does nothing. Clearly.

It saddens me to see that we are failing in our little town on all fronts. As on the national level, it all comes down to leadership. And the lack of it. The rules are simple: stay away from other people not in your household or core local group, wear a mask when you cannot do so and isolate if you are feeling ill or have been in contact with someone who is. Keep your hands clean and away from your nose and mouth. That works for every communicable disease.

John Wiley Jan 01, 2021 01:58 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Isolate C19 individuals, not their entire "communities" for even better outcomes w/o destroying the economy. That's possible and actively being done in some countries but it requires national leadership, maximum use of the best testing tracing capabilities, and positive enforcement. Freedom is core to our values, but sometimes we want to forget that freedom does not extend to endangering others. We're not free to drive drunk the wrong way on a "free"way, or to party drunk without mask in a room packed with like-minded strangers during a pandemic. I was hospitalized recently for a non-covid emergency, and was very impressed with our tireless medical community - starting with answering a covid quiz and being tested before ER admission. I hope enough people are scared by the intense recent surge to follow the urgent advice to hunker down. We can do this if we work together!

LooseCannon Dec 31, 2020 03:46 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

The rollout of the vaccine is a national disgrace and shows the failure of the for-profit healthcare system.

About 85% of the vaccines here in California are sitting in storage and haven't been administered.

What a disgrace.

biguglystick Jan 01, 2021 11:59 AM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

LOOSE, you are so right. It's a DISGRACE that our healthcare system is so messed up and corrupt. We need change from the bottom up, an entire restructuring of the for-profit bajillionaire system. It's clearly not working, and it's unethical and shameful. For the so-called richest country in the world, the top 1% and our corporations are the greediest ugliest entities on the planet.

SBsurferlife Dec 31, 2020 07:56 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

We just can't learn. I'm sick of people saying "lockdowns don't work." Well, we've opened up and the cases, ICU, and deaths increased. So what then? Lockdowns do work. Sit down and take your medicine, we're all in the same boat.

CCHandyMan Jan 01, 2021 09:06 AM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Now the question is: when will the next phase of vaccinations begin? Have we finished with the 1a phase and ready to begin the 1b phase? We need to begin vaccinating the general public so that the spread of this horrible virus can be stopped in it's tracks.

PitMix Jan 01, 2021 10:41 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

You are saying that 170 million of us won't get vaccinated, so 12% of them (18 million) will get hospitalized and 12% of the hospitalized will die (2 million)? We're going to need more body bags.

Voran Jan 01, 2021 09:56 AM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Ginger is exactly right! How hard is it to understand and implement? Why is there willful ignorance in the face of death-dealing disease? The actions we must take are so easy - our older relatives made huge sacrifices during wartime and we are apparently incapable of simply staying home and distant

biguglystick Jan 01, 2021 12:04 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

VORAN, you make an excellent point that I never even thought of: our elder's sacrifices for us and our country. Thank you. America is horrible at healthcare, but also we are horrible at respecting our elders. This is a young country that is somewhat of a spoiled BRAT on the world stage. We need to do better, but it seems it's only getting worse. Under this last administration the ugliness I've witnessed online with comments and trolls has been unprecedented. The outgoing president fostered and encouraged this behavior. It's a damned shame. Thank you for bringing up our elders and the sacrifices they made. May we all reflect on that.

Sandy792 Jan 01, 2021 01:02 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Lockdowns don’t work. People are tired of them. You would not be able to tell that we are in lockdown judging by the amount of people out and about in town. What needs to be done is an isolation of the most vulnerable people (those over 65 and those with pre-existing medical conditions) until they are able to get vaccinated. For a disease with a 99% recovery rate for everyone else lockdowns are criminal. Does anyone realize that these lockdowns are causing 150 million people worldwide to starve? Food bank lines are miles long. 80 million children are not receiving routine vaccinations, thousands of people will be getting cancer diagnosis because they are missing screenings etc. Plus there is the issue of an immensely large percentage of PCR tests coming back false positive because the test is amplified 40 times. This is the largest crime against at humanity ever committed.

SBTownie Jan 01, 2021 02:16 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Speak for yourself, Sandy. I'm well under 65 as is my partner and friends and none of us have ANY interest in getting COVID despite our statistically good odds. Don't assume you know what others want.

John Wiley Jan 01, 2021 02:22 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

SBCo. ICU beds 4.4% yesterday, and not yet reflecting Christmas or New Year surge. Hope we can all stay safe until the worst passes. Especially healthcare and essential workers. Yesterday's "actual" ICU availability was 21.9% but the "Dashboard" (link below) has an "Info" tab describing how they arrive at 4.4% "adjusted" availability after subtracting stuff like neonatal beds (adults don't fit in baby incubators) and staffing (crisis ICU tents require staff for actual ICU care). Meanwhile, reported cases jumped from 280 12/30 to 396 yesterday. Reporting lags confirmed tests by a day or more. CDC says average time from exposure to symptoms is 5 days, but can range from 2-14. Christmas was now 7 days ago, and every holiday some people gather in close contact without masks, often with alcohol use that reduces caution.

SBTownie Jan 01, 2021 02:23 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

The chorus singing "lockdowns don't work" must have missed some fundamental education in logic. Nothing short of total house arrest could truly halt the virus at this point, but do you seriously think things will be better if we had no rules? Give me a break. No, things would be much worse if even more people were out carousing and socializing and so on. The government needs to step in and rescue businesses suffering. The answer is not to pretend like nothing is happening.

LooseCannon Jan 01, 2021 05:08 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Nine plus months into this pandemic and people are still putting all their energies into prosletyzing for mask-wearing!

I think the vast majority of people, at least in this town, are on board with masks and social distancing. There's a tiny minority of recalcitrants who just won't get it.

Better to focus our energies and, yes, anger and frustration, on the politicians and movers and shakers to ramp up the production and implementation of the vaccine.

Let's get this bloody show on the road and get everyone vaccinated asap. Why the delay?

They call it Operation Warp Speed, or whatever, but it's more like Slow Coach.

If it's MONEY that's holding things up,I'd rather forgo my measly $600 payout if it meant faster, more efficient vaccinations.

Sail380 Jan 01, 2021 05:30 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

Yes focus the anger at the politicians that turned Ca into a third world country. And one of the worst just left Ca to show the country how we can save water and the planet by using the streets instead of toilets.

RHS Jan 01, 2021 06:16 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

As noted by several commentators, it is a disgrace that we are unable to create a program to administer these vaccines to those who want it now. The idea that we have to pussy foot around and create protocols and protections instead of just doing the deed is bad. We took on polio by lining people up for inoculations without monstrous delays for those who objected or who were unconvinced or who felt the medication was going to create autism or something else. Just do it. The greater good of the community means some risks must be taken. We certainly cannot wait for a year and a half to get "herd immunity" which is the most optimistic prediction from the new administration.

LooseCannon Jan 02, 2021 05:00 PM
Continued Surge in COVID-19 Cases as More Vaccine Arrives

This just in from The Department of COVID Surrealism...

California’s prison system has started vaccinating some inmates.

Granny, get back in line. Thieves, rapists and murderers first.

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