County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day title=
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day
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By edhat staff

The Public Health Department (PHD) reports the Santa Barbara County intensive care unit (ICU) availability has now fallen to 0% as the county reported its highest COVID-19 in a single day.

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said the situation in Santa Barbara County is now "dire."

"In light of our current situation, I am at a loss. I honestly don't know what to say anymore. Many people are blatantly disregarding all warnings," he said during a press conference on Tuesday.

On Monday alone there were 456 new COVID-19 cases, six deaths, and 1,949 active cases. All of these metrics were at the highest level the county has ever seen been since the beginning of the pandemic, said PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso.


Graph of daily COVID-19 cases from March to present-day (Source: SBC Public Health)

On Tuesday, an additional 341 new cases and seven deaths were reported. All individuals were over 70 years of age, five had underlying health conditions, and four were associated with an outbreak at a congregate living facility. Two individuals resided in the City of Santa Barbara, two were from the City of Santa Maria, one resided in the City of Goleta, one resided in the unincorporated area of Goleta, and one in the Santa Ynez Valley.

This brings total deaths to 173. The active case count is now 2,105 with 172 hospitalizations including 55 in the ICU.

Dr. Do-Reynoso stated hospitals are running out of staffed ICU beds and started using surge beds a few days ago as the county's capacity is now below 1%. Hospitals are now preparing for crisis care, meaning, a person with health needs other than COVID-19 may not receive the health care they'd normally expect.

Hospitals surge protocol works to repurpose staff and rooms to accommodate infectious patients while and discharging patients in a timely fashion while also working with ambulances to determine who really needs emergency care and who can be redirected, said Dr. Ansorg.

Additionally, the testing positivity and case rates are at record highs, nearly seven-times the threshold for the widespread transmission threshold to reopen businesses. In December alone there have been 28 outbreaks in businesses in nearly every sector and 48 outbreaks at congregate care settings. 

"What used to be less risky is now risky given the widespread infection in our county," said Dr. Do-Reynoso.

Officials reaffirmed, yet again, that the increase in cases and deaths is directly related to travel and gathering during the holidays. The current spike is directly attributed to Thanksgiving while we have yet to see the spike from the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

"I understand that people are tired of the pandemic, however, denial of the facts only makes things worse. There are behaviors that are most risky for instance traveling and gathering especially when not wearing masks," said Dr. Ansorg.


Graph of staffed adult ICU bed availability from August 2020 to December 2020 (Source: SBC Public Health)

Vaccination Update

Santa Barbara County has administered 54% of its vaccine allotment so far, said Dr. Do-Reynoso. PHD is currently focusing on Phase 1a that vaccinates acute care healthcare workers, staff and residents in long term care setting serving older and high risk, EMS personnel, and dialysis center staff.

PHD has 42 approved vaccination sites as providers are ramping up their logistics preparing for distribution. By next week PHD is planning to offer 350-500 vaccines per day culminating in 1,000 doses per day by early February.

The community at large is expected to be able to receive the vaccine by March or April. 

More information about vaccine distribution can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/vaccine/.

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Jence Jan 05, 2021 11:45 PM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Just for the record: I’m kinda scared now. I used to be concerned and cautious; locking down, going out only for groceries, PO Box or pharmacy, and always ALWAYS wearing a mask. But now I feel threatened and I fear for my aged parents health. I don’t know about anyone else, but I actually think about how to plan funerals for me and my loved ones now. This sucks.

Andrea Smith Jan 06, 2021 08:16 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

JENCE I have elderly parents too and they are 3,000 miles away from me and every day I wonder if I'll ever see them again and it is awful. This is why people with their attitudes about this make me sick. One thing that's helped me is my spirituality. None of us is guaranteed even another 5 minutes on this earth, especially now. I think it's smart to be prepared. I personally am getting my affairs in order just in case as my family has to fly out here to take care of things should I succumb to this. All you can do is what is in your control which is to keep yourself and your parents safe. Panic or fear weakens your immunity so try not to go there. Stay positive!

Jence Jan 06, 2021 08:47 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

A Smith- That’s another good point; fear and panic cause stress, stress raises cortisol, cortisol stresses the heart...
And it’s not just social distancing, wearing a mask and self isolating; it’s now also about driving a little safer, being extra careful on that ladder, etc. Things we used to take for granted, knowing that we would be able to go to the hospital. Not anymore—-and should you break that hip or slip a disc and get admitted, let’s hope you don’t get the pestilence while there. I really hope folks take this seriously and be safe and considerate.

Hado_Ken_57 Jan 06, 2021 09:42 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Same here Jence. And now I'm not only scared about me or my parents or grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc getting the virus, but also doubly worried about getting some other kind of serious illness or injury. If there aren't any ICU beds left what will happen then? I wish the governor would spend more money on health and education instead of wasting billions on that dumb la to sf electric train thingy.

Andrea Smith Jan 05, 2021 11:53 PM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Maybe if they had actually enforced the orders we wouldn't be here today. It's not just the cops, public health told the cops they prefer education and outreach versus fines, etc. [or so I was told]. I saw gyms open, not even hiding it. People gathering and nothing done about it. Education and outreach what a joke, now we will learn the hard way. People who could otherwise have lived will die if they cannot get treatment for things like heart attacks, strokes, etc. Very bad times ahead. Sad.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 06, 2021 12:44 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

The 0% is the "adjusted" ICU availability; it's important to point that out. The "actual" availability is currently 8.4%, with 83 total beds. Still, even the "actual" ICU bed availability will be gone soon as well unless they find a way to open up more ICU beds. Their maximum bed availability at one point in August was 150 ICU beds, so hopefully they can find a way to open up close to that capacity soon.

Andrea Smith Jan 06, 2021 08:18 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

CHEM the way they are going to open up more beds is to turn away those who need them but who don't have COVID. IE rationing care. Hopefully no one dies from a heart attack, stroke, aneurism, whatever, who could have otherwise been treated, thanks to dummies who refuse to take this seriously.

bosco Jan 06, 2021 09:21 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Beds aren't the problem. Staffing is the real problem. The max numbers keep changing because Cottage has the ability to add beds when needed. They simply don't have the staff to support the COVID units and all the other Patients. It is NOT a good time for someone to have a heart attack or Stroke.

RHS Jan 06, 2021 06:14 PM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Thomas John, the implication of your post is that there is an overuse of hospital beds. Conversely it could be that we have a need for beds that has always been underestimated in favor of the bean counters who decide these things. They don't want an empty bed because it isn't producing revenue. Sort of like the airlines who don't want to fly empty seats.

Channelfog Jan 06, 2021 02:38 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Once upon a time, when SB had a smaller population, we had St Francis Hospital as well as Cottage. As a community we understood the need for empty hospital beds although they "lose money". Now that "just in time management" is applied to health care, we find ourselves out of beds and out of time.

Voice of Reason Jan 06, 2021 07:00 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Lockdowns don’t work for extended periods of time exactly because people won’t comply long-term. It is not a feasible long term strategy. CDC, WHO and other explicitly said so yet here we are in month 10 still trying to use it a means to control covid. Over the past year, had the state taken a consistent approach, based on science and data, that was also followed by those the very people dictating the response, then many more people would have heeded the new stay at home order in December.

jak Jan 06, 2021 07:23 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

It is pretty clear that a lot of the lack of social distancing we see later stems from people being burned out by running in nonstop panic mode for the past 8-10 months. In the early days of the pandemic in the USA, we knew relatively little about it and it was proper (or at least reasonable) to act decisively. By early Summer enough was known to allow isolation and distancing protocols to be a lot more focused and tailored. Medics resources could have been dialed in a lot better than they are at the moment too. Leadership around the world missed these opportunities and now people are taking their lives back into their own hands. No surprise. Do note that in some parts of the world and even in places in the USA more people have been harmed by bungled responses to the pandemic than by the pandemic itself.

SBTownie Jan 06, 2021 08:03 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

I cannot believe the public officials are still telling us the general public will get access to the vaccine in March or April. Maybe 85 year olds in the "general public." There is NO way they are going to be able to get enough vaccine out and administered to the general public this spring. The reality for people like me is looking more and more like fall or end of the year. Which just blows.

SBTownie Jan 06, 2021 10:08 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

With all due respect, what exactly is Biden going to do about this? His plan is 100 million vaccinated in the first 100 days. Ok, that leaves 220 million that still need it and we'll be in May. Literally what is his plan to get this done? What concrete things can he do to make this happen? I think Trump is toxic, but how is he hindering the process currently? Looks like major failure of local organizations. The vaccine shortage is one thing and the federal government should have done more to source raw materials to preempt this, but the blame for the slow distribution falls squarely on the shoulder of state and local governments. If they felt that Trump was not doing enough to support them or plan for this, they have had months and months to plan ahead and deal with it on their own. As if we don't pay enough taxes here in CA? What are they doing with our money?

giftedinSB Jan 07, 2021 01:51 PM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

In order for Biden's plan to work, we the people need to cooperate. Many healthcare workers are refusing the vaccine, and I'm hearing that people are no-showing for their scheduled vaccine, leaving the person administering the dose to scramble to find someone else to give it to before it becomes unviable. And let's not forget that pharmacist who destroyed 500 doses by removing them from the refrigerator. There's no way there will be 100 million vaccinated in the first 100 days.

CoastWatch Jan 06, 2021 08:04 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

in 1975 there were 1.5 Million hospital beds available in the United States. Now, there are only 925,000 in a country with over 325 Million people.. Do the math, this is no surprise. Meanwhile, the Governor is going to spend BILLIONS on electric car charging stations and Billions are spent on Football stadiums...

RHS Jan 06, 2021 09:56 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

CW--are you advocating for government construction and operation of hospitals? If so, we are in agreement. This sort of socialism is what has been missing in this country for the past couple of decades. By and large the model is to let the rich people profit over such community needs and decided on a "free market" basis whether to provide the resource at all.

SBTownie Jan 06, 2021 12:41 PM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Haha. RHS. I have news for you about government run healthcare. Please refer to the UK. It is called the NHS. It is often wonderful. I lived there and interacted with it. But it can also be terrible during normal times. During a pandemic? Forget about it. Socialized healthcare runs on razor thin margins, more than our system does here. There are no excess beds for pandemics available. Why do you think the UK is completely locked down? It's because unlike here where politicians can pass the burden onto the medical industry, the healthcare system IS the government. Thus the complete and total lockdown. Politicians know they cannot blame anyone but themselves if people start dying in the streets, which is one step away from happening there. So no matter how politically unpopular, they had no choice but to shut the country in order to keep the NHS going during the surge.

yacht rocked Jan 06, 2021 08:11 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Apologies for posting a similar point in a different thread, but SB should really consider setting up multi-lane drive-thru vaccine sites for subsequent vaccine phases. The CDC has issued guidance on how that's done: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/admin/mass-clinic-activities/curbside-vaccination-clinics.html . Several states including NY and FL have implemented them. Santa Barbara could use large parking areas such as Earl Warren, the old Sears building, and the downtown parking garages.

muitobem Jan 06, 2021 08:40 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Concur that a multiple drive-thru is a good option. Could park nearby after the shot to check for potential reaction, then drive away afterward. If enough staff isn't available to administer this, then the National Guard could assist. We need to expedite getting the vaccine into the community.

bosco Jan 06, 2021 12:10 PM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

This should have happened from day 1 with testing. Mobilize the National Guard and military for mass testing and contact tracing. There are over 1 million active duty service members that could have done this. Use the same resources for vaccinations. IMO this is the biggest Federal failure of COVID.

yiannis93101 Jan 06, 2021 08:29 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Here here Andrea, I agree completely! All one needed to do was to go out and drive to see lack of total compliance in this community.
One Sunday I was going to pick up medication amd food provisions to have for an upcoming surgery at cottage on dec 28. There was a line 20-25 deep waiting to get into Michael’s! Really? Michael’s constitutes necessary reasons to be open? Enforce and execute. If peoples of some other countries didn’t follow mandates, they would be jailed——-or worse, that’s what this dang country needs. Not some entitled who continue to go about their business!
Thank God I was able to have my surgery and continue to rehab. Honestly, I think before anyone shows up at Cottage, one of the questions should be “did you travel this holiday”? If the answer is yes, SEND THEM HOME! I don’t want them getting a bed because they were stupid and didn’t stay in place. I want that damn hospital bed for folks who followed the rules. They flew, partied, shopped, while people like me stayed home trying to protect myself and others. How DARE they. This is criminal. The city, county, state.......it’s time to get tough. Arrest people, lock them up, impose the fines, monitor.....yeah this is America, but you’d never know it, give up your gready selfish freedoms for a couple of months, let’s get vaccinated so we can move on!!! I hope those people in line at Michael’s made their christmas doodads snd aren’t dead because they needed yarn to knit their Christmas gifts! Idiots.

greytfull Jan 06, 2021 08:35 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

I know when I slip out today to get some much-needed groceries, 1/3 of the people I see won't be wearing masks or social distancing.
AGAIN: if you are a non-masker who believes their freedom is being challenged, be sure to tell the ER personnel of your convictions as you wait (in line) to be admitted.

running_mike Jan 07, 2021 08:16 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

So you think masks work? If that is the case and you are wearing one, you are protected. Don't worry about what others are doing. If you think 6' distancing works, keep your distance - you are protected - don't worry about what others are doing. If you are under the impression that both 6' and masks work, why worry about a lockdown, you are protected.

letmego Jan 08, 2021 11:10 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

Hey, Running Mike, you might want to do some reading on the mask issue. It's not that if you think masks work you should wear one and be fine. It's not 0%-100%. Masks are effective at reducing the spread. There have been studies and articles that show that. But these studies also show that the biggest effect of masks is to prevent the spread by reducing COVID if the COVID-positive person is wearing a mask. MOST of the effectiveness comes from there. Masks also protect the WEARER, but less so.

Also, different masks have different effectiveness. N95 vs double layer cloth, vs medical grade masks. I'm surprised you don't realize all of this by now. The information is widely available.

SBLetsGetAlong Jan 06, 2021 08:57 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

If the government would pay everyone to stay home and they forgave all taxes, mortgage & rent for everyone it would be easier to lock down.

But the govt wants their taxes even if you don’t go to work. The bank wants their mortgage pmt & the Land Lord needs to pay the mortgage and taxes even if renters don’t pay.

Messed up, idiotic. Stay home and go into chapter 11? Or have a bank foreclose on your hone or property?

Then you ad in the emotional toll this has taken on people, especially the under 25 yr olds. Much higher suicide rates, crime, domestic violence, etc....

Poor leadership, poor science, poor planning.
Viruses have been studied fir over a hundred years. Science & Medicine should know by now how to limit the spread and govt should have put procedures in place decades ago.

Leaders & medical experts are reacting, not being proactive.

Perhaps the WHO, CDC & medical/govt experts will finally devise a actionable plan for the next pandemic. But this one is a crap shoot
Take care of yourselves and stay home order delivery in.
Cancel your housekeepers, yard maintenance, Don’t participate in unessential businesses like liquor stores or clothes shopping etc...

SBTownie Jan 06, 2021 10:02 AM
County ICU Availability Falls to 0% with Highest COVID-19 Numbers in Single Day

People can't wear masks at restaurants, bars, wineries, etc. all of which were open even after other businesses (like salons, where masks can be worn the entire time were shut). These are well known sources of transmission. In places where they actually track what is going on (Asian countries), they go as far as producing seating maps from inside of restaurants showing how infection spread across large indoor locations. As for outdoor dining, I'm living proof you can get sick from meeting a friend for lunch outdoors. I got sick after a friend showed up ill for outdoor drinks at a local hotel where we sat literally about 6 feet apart (because we were on outdoor sofas with a low table in between us, not even a closer smaller-sized typical dining table for 2). Not with COVID. This was a few years back and it was a bad cold. Same principle applies. So meeting up with people for outdoor dining or gallavanting around the rose garden or other parks is also not safe.

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