COVID-19 Cases Decrease But Health Officials Remain Cautious

Dr. Henning Ansorg during Friday's COVID-19 press conference title=
Dr. Henning Ansorg during Friday's COVID-19 press conference
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By edhat staff

Public Health officials acknowledge a downward trend in COVID-19 case rates within the county but urge caution as Halloween approaches and hot spots pop up throughout the U.S.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart referenced a quote by Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. David Fisk at Cottage Hospital that the like drop in COVID-19 cases within the county is temporary and numbers will increase in the coming months. 

The likely second-wave of the virus is working its way around the globe as scientists are seeing concerning trends in hot spots where hospitals are at or over capacity said Hart warning this should give us pause. 

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg made a plea for residents to make other plans for the upcoming holidays and not to travel or gather. He called it a "nightmare scenario" if community members travel to COVID-19 hot spots throughout the country and state, contract the virus, and come back to spread it within the local community. 

COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person and can remain in the air and travel farther than six-feet while still being contagious. More than 90% of Santa Barbara County is still susceptible to catching the disease, said Dr. Ansorg. 

He further went on to state the vast majority of new infections are caused by people feeling well and spreading the virus unknowingly. Approximately 8% of these contagious individuals function as superspreaders and cause about 60% of all new infections.

At this point in the pandemic, the only way to protect ourselves is by keeping a distance, avoid gatherings, avoid travel, wear a mask and wash hands frequently, said Dr. Ansorg. 

On a positive note, Supervisor Hart stated the state-sponsored "Project Roomkey" effort to safely house those who are homeless has been a success in the local area. So far there have been 34 people who have transitioned into permanent housing from this project, six of those happened this week alone.

Friday's Numbers

PHD reported 23 new cases bringing the grand total to 9,560 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 112 are currently active with 19 in the hospital including six in the intensive care unit (ICU).

There were three deaths since last Friday's report. Two individuals were 70+ years of age, from the City of Santa Maria, had underlying medical conditions, and were associated with a congregate facility outbreak. One individual was between the ages of 50-69 with underlying medical conditions and resided in the City of Santa Maria. The death was not associated with a congregate facility outbreak.

The county's overall death toll is 119. 

More data can be found at

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Basicinfo805 Oct 16, 2020 09:18 PM
COVID-19 Cases Decrease But Health Officials Remain Cautious

So this is from a University-sent email today from Yang about the Greek system cluster they've found. I would steer clear of anyone looking like a college student right about now, literally. Could be a group of them waking on street or your waitress at an outside restaurant. I'm not sure if it was just bound to happen, but everyone's been seeing the young people continuing to do their own thing, not worried, without masks, big groups, tightly packed. Maybe they can't help it.

PBmama Oct 17, 2020 08:23 AM
COVID-19 Cases Decrease But Health Officials Remain Cautious

Very frustrating. I have a super social college (USC) student home and he's having such a hard time not being social. He's taking one for the team and doesn't want to get anyone sick, so he hasn't been out. Most of his friends who live on their own (versus with parents) are sticking with a tight circle and get tested frequently. Very responsible. I love to see kids who care about the greater good and have empathy. Lots of them can see the big picture and are able to resist being selfish. Then there are the kids he went to high school with who are out partying their asses off and could care less. Can't lump them all into one group. They CAN help it. It's just a matter of where their morals lie.

Kruppe Oct 16, 2020 08:57 PM
COVID-19 Cases Decrease But Health Officials Remain Cautious

Cluster of Positive COVID-19 Cases in Isla Vista

"This emergency notification is being sent because the University and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) have identified two separate clusters of positive COVID-19 cases in privately-owned fraternity and sorority houses in the Isla Vista community. Thirteen individuals residing in the two separate houses have tested positive for COVID-19. The impacted individuals have been self-isolating since being tested. The houses have been placed in quarantine on the orders of SBCPHD, and public health officials are leading contract tracing and outreach efforts."

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