County Approves Sending Governor Letter to be Removed from SoCal Region
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to send a letter to the Governor asking to be removed from the Southern California region in the recent Regional Stay at Home Order.
Santa Barbara is banding together with San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties to propose its own "Central Coast" region. Ventura County Supervisors also approved sending a letter on Tuesday with San Luis Obispo supervisors still to vote on the action.
The current "Southern California" region created by the state includes Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. This incorporates over 23 million people. San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbra, and Ventura counties include nearly 1.5 million people.
The current order forces the entire Southern California region to shut down when the collective intensive care unit (ICU) capacity reaches below 15%. As of Tuesday, this number was at 10.1% for the region.
Officials from the three neighboring counties expressed the current order is unfair as the Central Coast does not have the higher COVID-19 transmission rates and lack of ICU space that larger Southern California counties have. Being in this region will prevent the Central Coast from positively moving forward due to a high prevalence of the disease in larger areas.
During Tuesday's meeting, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso stated the counties will ask to exit the stay at home order after three weeks if the ICU capacity in the three counties exceeds 15% and is expected to stay on that course based on the four-week ICU bed capacity projection.
Do-Reynoso said all three counties have a history of collaboration and partnership and will coordinate joint prevention and treatment efforts to reduce COVID-19 case rates and testing positivity.
"We are confident that this is a regional approach and we will be working together across the three counties to propose this to discuss this feasibility with our state counterparts," said Do-Reynoso.
The Board listened to nearly fifty public comments from local residents and business orders asking to be removed from the stay at home order.
The motion passed unanimously for the county to send a letter to the Governor.
Update to COVID-19 Numbers
During the same meeting, Do-Reynoso also gave an update on COVID-19 data and hospitalizations.
From November 23 to December 7, Santa Barbara County had a 12% increase in COVID-19 cases. There are now 643 active cases, an 87% increase. This is also a 44% increase from the last peak of cases at 444 in July with the all-time peak being 950 cases in May.
New COVID-19 cases are popping up all over the county with a 20% increase in Santa Maria and a 75% increase in Lompoc. Isla Vista has seen a significant decrease from 37 cases to just 18 cases.
There are currently 54 hospitalizations, an 157% increase during this period, including 15 people in the ICU which is a 150% increase.
Do-Reynoso released more specific data on comorbidities for hospitalizations and deaths. Of the 922 total hospitalizations, 45.4% of people did not have comorbidities. Of those who did have one comorbidity, 31% had diabetes, 17.8% were obese, and 14.4% had serious heart conditions.
There have been 138 total deaths. Of those, 24 had the only cause of death listed on their death certificate as COVID-19 with 53 deaths including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and/or obesity. The remaining 61 deaths had COVID-19 and other causes listed on the death certificate.
Half of all hospitalizations were people over 50 years of age with the Hispanic/Latinx population being disproportionately represented compared to population size.
The common length of stay was up to five days with 16% of hospitalizations having a length of over 15 days.
More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org